When you say the word ‘brand’ to most people, they usually think of getting a flashy logo designed and that’s job done, but that’s truly the tip of the iceberg. Your logo is an important part of your brand, but truly is just a piece of the puzzle. The words you use, the colours, the feelings you generate and the quality of your services all contribute to a picture in the mind of your patients that is your brand.
Every brand has worth, and over time as trust and familiarity develops, that worth (equity) increases. The more worth you have to a patient, the more likely they are to tell their friends about you (reviews and word of mouth recommendations are incredibly powerful) and actively market your business for you, for free.
‘A brand’s power derived from the goodwill and name recognition that it has earned over time, which translates into higher sales volume and higher profit margins against competing brands.’ (Business Dictionary)
As we know, referrals to other doctors are highly common within the Private Medical industry.
This is very understandable as no one speciality can cover the full spectrum of a patients needs every time and they are often unsure of who they should go and see to help with their issues. It seems like an easy enough exchange of information right? Just pass on some details and your job is done, but did you know that the quality of your referral will reflect directly upon your brand equity?
So who do you refer to? A trusted colleague? A friend? A random name you found on Google?
As long as your exchange goes well, you’re in the clear; you did what was asked of you and met expectations. However, if you make a referral to a doctor that doesn’t perform, not only will that patient not see that doctor again, but their trust in your knowledge and advice will be diminished.
Suddenly a referral that seemed easy and inconsequential has lowered your patient’s belief in what they pay you for (your judgement and knowledge) and the incapability of another doctor has severely reduced the long built brand equity and potential for word of mouth recommendations.
Our advice: Only refer to people you can trust; if you don’t have someone you can trust in that speciality, then be honest with your patient and tell them, they will be able to search for someone with a great reputation themselves and your brand equity stays in tact.
This article was contributed by the Wynyard Marketing Company, our strategic marketing experts.