Many practice owners recognise the importance of brand but often don’t know what it means for their practice. Branding is just as important for practices as it is for global operators. But often when thinking about great branding, practice owners often feel it only applies to iconic brands such as Disney, Nike and Coca-Cola. This immediately makes them feel that undertaking their own branding initiative will be expensive and overwhelming.
Branding is one of the most important aspects of any practices, no matter of size. A clear brand strategy will give you an edge over your competition. But what does ‘brand’ mean and how can it affect a practice?
A brand is a set of beliefs, your promise to your customers. It tells them what they can expect and how you are different from your competitors. It isn’t your logo, product or place; these are simply symbol’s that identify your brand.
Brands live in the heart and mind of your customer. It is what they believe based on everything they have seen or heard about you. Getting your brand right isn’t easy but here are 10 tips you can follow to help you build and implement a successful brand:
- Start by defining your brand. What are your benefits and features? What is your mission? What is your value proposition? This bit can be tough and time-consuming as it often requires some practice soul searching, but once complete you will reap the benefits of this clarity.
- Think of your brand as a person. I find this helps you define your brand personality, character, values and beliefs. Defining these will help you understand how your brand will behave and act.
- Define your core customer. Construct an avatar of them, illustrating who they are, where they live, what they like to do etc. If you know who your core patient is you can go about finding them.
- Speak to your customers with a consistent tone of voice, as this will help you build your brand personality and understand what you offer.
- Be the brand you passionately believe in, don’t copy off others.
- Don’t be vague. Be clear about who you are and what you do. But also don’t overcomplicate things. If you try to do too much patients will become confused. Be clear not clever.
- Work with an experienced graphic designer to create a visual identity that is clear and distinctive. If you’ve no experience and you designed your own logo in word it’s likely this isn’t going to cut it against your competition.
- Be consistent and deliver on your brand promises. The worst thing a brand can do is make promises that they don’t deliver. If you promise great customer service then you must consistently deliver this day in day out otherwise the patient will feel cheated, tell all their friends about their terrible experience and most likely make reference to it on social media!
- Be observant. Look at practices in your area and consider how they have built a successful brand. Think about why their brand is strong. Follow them on social media and note how they are speaking to their patients.
- Branding doesn’t need to be complicated. Focus, time and energy and the above tips will help you grow your brand. But if you don’t have the time to dedicate to building your brand then you may want to consider getting a marketing expert to help you.
And finally you may be thinking how does this differ to marketing? Your marketing should be based on your brand position, personality, values and tone of voice. Marketing is what you do to get you brand message and promise to patients. Brand is how you keep the promise.