Blog Post Branding your Medical Practice: A Practitioner’s Starters Guide

Branding your Medical Practice: A Practitioner’s Starters Guide
Aug

22

2013

Branding your Medical Practice: A Practitioner’s Starters Guide

There are several steps for branding your medical practice. Most of them could be discussed thoroughly by marketing and business executives before actual implementation. Others can be smoothly implemented and will come naturally as your branding project slowly unfolds. In this article I’d like to start from the basics. By defining what branding is.

Branding is all those intangible assets  that your business, persona or organization conveys. It is usually identified as the emotional response, but is not only limited to that, branding in the healthcare business can also take the shape of medical expertise, technical proficiency, human resources and organizational structure. All these attributes present an opportunity for evaluation and judgement from your patients. What you do with branding is make sure your message is not accurate and well crafted, but also congruent with your value proposition.

Think of Barack Obama, Dr Phil and Oprah. All these personalities represent not only an individual but also a commitment to a specific set of values. Whether these are intelligence, education, good judgement, knowledge, respect, empathy or love. These are all faces that form a unique personality or brand for this matters. The branding case for medical practices is not that different. You also have a set of resources that you can adjust to shape your public image. Whether you or a branding professional are initiating or evaluating your branding strategy, it is important to first identify the following points.

1. What is your practice current brand?

Although this might seem like an easy and obvious step it can easily turn into your worst branding mistake. The main reason is that this is mostly based on a self assessment of both your persona as well as your organization. Understandably, most of us have a natural and instinctive tendency to think positively and optimistic about ourselves. Yet, this can sometimes cause blind judgements that will not necessarily mean good business.

A good branding strategy for a medical practice begins with a highly critical and unbiased look at your current situation. Considering the former reasons it would be a good idea to have someone else elaborate on your persona and your specific value prop. Asking your patients is a good start but you can also consider the following questions:

a) How does your persona make people feel?

Does your manners seem appropriate? Does people look and feel welcomed and comfortable when they visit your practice?

b) Are you a good listener?

Do you take the time to actually listen to what the patients are saying and keeping to themselves? Do people easily open up on your presence?

c) What do people say about you?

What is the language they use when talking about you? What words describe you and your practice? Are you considered happy, warm, grumpy or distant? Perhaps you are happy but don’t listen very well.

2. What is your medical practice ideal brand?

Now comes the refreshing part. After being highly critical towards oneself it is also a good exercise to think in the long term. Perhaps you want to grow your practice into the most affordable practice in the region. Perhaps you want to achieve certain reputation. Any path you decide to take, defining a good branding strategy will ensure you stick to a set of values to which you’ll be able to measure your goal.

The following are some examples of ideal branding strategies for medical practice’s:
  • -Exceptional medical care
  • -Ethical marketing
  • -Efficient organization
  • -Warm and welcoming staff
  • -Latest technologies
  • -Timely advice
  • -Constant information
  • -Online resources
  • -Personalized relationships
  • -Geographical coverage
If you have done an honest analysis of your current as well as your ideal brand, you’ll be in a better position to asses the gap between reality and ideal. Between present and future. It is a good exercise to do this on your own, even if you will end up using the services of a professional marketing agency. The insights of this type of exercise are usually for the long-term.

3. Where to start your campaign for branding your medical practice?

Now that you have identified the gaps needed to reach your ideal brand, you will want to spend some time thinking about what is realistically achievable and about it’s time frame. You will have to define specific goals and milestones in order to see results. The best way to approach this is by breaking your tasks into manageable bits.

Perhaps you want to have the warmest medical staff and personnel. You should question then what is impeding your staff to act more friendly or welcoming. Perhaps you aim to be the go-to resource in the region. Then you will want to invest some time in identifying the best way to reach your target audience. Starting an email marketing campaign is a good starting point.

As you’ve seen, once you have defined your current brand and personality, the following steps will come naturally. The main thing to remember is that you are not your target audience. Your patients are actually buying an emotion. After all, you are in the business of life, right?
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