“Branding is for Billionaires” used to be one of my core mantras when I first started a marketing agency. Back then, I didn’t completely understand the branding concept and I often advise my clients to choose a direct response transnational marketing strategy over branding opportunities. From my point of view, if a strategy or an advertisement we were considering did not attract clients immediately then it was not worth investing in. I would mention how big corporations like Nike and McDonald’s spent billions for branding purposes just for clients to recognise their brand logo. But soon enough, I realised that my misconception about branding was a flaw. I now understand how brand strategy development could help small businesses even clinics and solo practitioners succeed. Clinics are unique businesses and need appropriately tailored branding. A dentist’s clinic will need different branding to a cosmetic clinic Melbourne that specialises in aesthetic procedures like breast reduction and other breast surgeries.
What Definition of Brand Should You Use
Branding is not defined by the name, logo or colour scheme. Even for small clinics, there may be secondary benefits in customising your design elements but they don’t necessarily make up the core of what a brand means. The brand should characterise how a clinic’s services are perfectly aligned with the patient’s needs. Let’s look at a clinic that has done a great job with their brand profile.
To start off a brand planning session with a client, I usually ask them to reflect on this question: How can my services benefit my ideal patient?
This question makes the client consider 2 sides of the practice:
1) Which services are my specialties and why do my patients care? and
2) Who are my ideal patients and why?
A clinical practice in a less ideal location might be at risk losing brand alignment if it does not reevaluate its service offerings and change the demographics of their patient base.
Why is Branding SO Important?
Over my career in the advertising industry, I have conducted interviews on the importance of branding and majority of the recipients find it boring. I understand where they come from. I’ve had that misconception as well. Considering that this concept is still quite vague, strategies are loosely constructed and people need clarity how a great brand can be a marketing success. But before tackling the fundamentals of the perfect brand, first, we need to understand why branding for your clinic is so important.
Branding for a clinic is essential since it creates a filter that examines all business decisions. In instances wherein you are considering opening appointment slots in the evening or perhaps transferring your business to another location. Or perhaps you’re thinking of running an advertisement in a local newspaper. Before making any decisions, you have to evaluate first if the outcome would be aligned with the brand that you want to create. As a good example, for a doctor who concentrates on serving college students, moving the clinic closer to a school campus would be beneficial for the business. A concrete brand would save you from future stress and regrets since your marketing decisions are already laid out properly.
Highlight the Benefits
Performing a features and benefits analysis is highly recommended sales exercise to be able to identify the “what” and “why” of your service offerings. Although most medical professionals usually focus on treatment methods and therapy procedures they are certified to practice, I recommend focusing your efforts on the benefits for the patient instead. After thoroughly explaining the entire procedure, the features of the method would be if they are not personalised or if the advantages are not customised to your patient’s needs. Review your website to see how much of your content focuses on the ideal end result for your patients rather than the names and descriptions of your treatments.
Identify Your Ideal Patients
Identifying your ideal patients becomes simple once the features and benefits analysis has been conducted. The benefits you’ve uncovered often describe the personal motivations of your ideal patients if the procedure was done properly.
Practical Next Steps
The following step-by-step instructions will give you head start on defining your brand. The principles of branding might be difficult to comprehend, but it’s an essential piece of an effective and efficient marketing strategy. Define your company profile. What is the primary principle behind my business that motivates me to do what I do? What is the simplest impression that I want to infuse in my patient’s mind? (Industry examples: “We are a gentle dentist,” “We are a caring family practice” and “we help you with your health needs”). What is my distinctive story and how can I relate it to my patients?
The branding process may not only be difficult but time-consuming as well, which is why many clinics avoid it altogether. However, this is worth all the hard work since a well-defined brand will ensure your marketing strategies are utilised effectively, saving you from unnecessary stress and wasted time.