Why Build a Brand?With hundreds of healthcare professionals providing similar services and carrying similar qualifications, skill, and experience, it’s difficult to convince prospective patients why they should choose your practice over another. This is where branding and marketing communications come in to help polish how your practice is viewed.
Branding is essentially the image your healthcare service conveys to an audience. Good branding practices will contribute positively to your practice’s overall reputation. Patients will choose to go to a service provider they can relate to and trust, which builds brand loyalty. Loyal patients will then be more likely to refer trusted services to others, and this gives your practice a competitive edge over other similar providers.
Related Article: How to Turn Your Company in a Killer Brand Name
Design: Branding BasicsIf you have an established business or practice, it’s important to find out the reputation you already have. A simple Google search can reveal how patients see your clinic and what they think of your services. Key elements to look for are, what patients already like about your service, and where does it require improvement? This will help you later, when selecting the qualities and/or services you want to empathize through your brand. It is also a good idea to look up your competitors, identify their brand, and see what they’re doing successfully to build that brand. This will give you a better picture of the marketplace and what you’re up against. This could lead to identifying an untapped niche audience you could possibly target.
Once you’ve established what your position would be in the marketplace, you can begin to shape your brand image. Two of the most common mistakes made are: not being specific about what you offer to your patients, and targeting too many audiences at once. This results in your practice being lost in the latter pages of search engine results, while patients choose to go to a clinic they resonate with more. A good way to keep your brand clear and concise is asking yourself – what is the one thing I want patients to remember about my practice?
Keep in mind the positive feedback you may have gotten in your initial Google searches to answer the above question. Adopt the things that are already working for your reputation rather than working against the elements that are not. For example, if you found people posted positive reviews on another site, consider adding those to your clinic website for other patients to see (as long as it follows the regulations of the governing body of where your practice is located).
Related Article: How to Build a Brand Narrative for Your Practice?
Refine: Polishing your BrandThere are two important facets to a brand, the visual and the content. The visuals display your brand image in the form of logos, color schemes, and office language. The content relays the sentiment associated with the brand.
Once you have created a look you are happy with for your practice, it is very important you stay true and consistent with it. This will build brand recognition and your practice will become easily recognizable to present and future patients. This includes technical elements such as colors on your website and your office, having the same logo on your newsletter that you have on your business card, as well as the language you use in your email messages and phone calls.
Content is more difficult to pin down as it follows themes rather than schemes. As mentioned earlier, qualifications and skill are not enough to convince patients to choose your practice. They are looking for a connection with their healthcare provider, and want to be able to trust that you as a professional will understand and attend to their needs. Remember to keep your audience in mind when deciding how to convey these sentiments to your patients. For example would an email newsletter be more effective in conveying your message or a social media post?
Related: Read our blog on newsletter or social media tips for your practice.
Shine: Stay True to Your BrandIt is crucial to deliver on the promises made through your brand. No amount of branding and marketing can make up for bad service, and often times, bad reviews travel faster than good reviews. So if you’re offering courteous service, remember to be courteous not only with your patients but also when interacting with your staff. Staying true to your brand and consistently engaging with your audience, through social media or otherwise, would build your reputation, attract new patients, and making current ones loyal fans. The branding process can be a long one, but it’s definitely worth the results.
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