Make your brand start working for you!

A brand is basically your practice name that over time becomes familiar to people.  It is what gets you noticed and builds your business.  Your brand is your business identity's say.  It’s defined by how you and your employees consciously or otherwise portray your practice to others, and how those ‘others’ then interprets this.

If someone mentioned the name of your service or practice – what would your patients and referring sources say? Are these consistent with the image you endeavour to build? If you have employees, have they bought into this image? Why or why not?

Before you start developing your brand, you need a strategy – a brand strategy.  This will help you get things consistent and authentic.  The existence of an ad campaign does not necessarily mean you have a brand strategy. To kick off a brand strategy you need to conduct an audit so you know how people feel about your organisation and what words they say to articulate their impressions of you and your practice.

There is no right or wrong way to build a brand strategy – you just need to make sure it accurately describes who you are – a believable identity to you and your staff.  Although your practice and objectives may evolve over time, they should do so with your core competencies intact

You will know when your brand strategy is working when your doctors, patients, employees and the community all use the same words to describe what they believe to be your brand. 

Before you launch into your brand strategy, you need to reflect on what is going on in your own practice.

You need to do is take a step back and regroup.  When you are looking to build a brand and raise your practice profile, you need to step back and look at your practice as though you were on the outside looking in.  If you haven’t recently had a look at your practice from this angle, it is a good idea to do so now.  Is it warm, friendly staffing? A long reputation for excellence? Skills in diagnosis and treatment success? Modern facilities? Exceptional patient rapport?  What do you think you are known for?  It might be a combination of things.

You will also need to revise your market research and competitor research.  What are your competitors doing and what makes your service unique compared to them?  What are your markets looking for now?  For example, what do your potential patients want from a service?  Do they want the ability to book online, do they want to learn more about what you do before booking an appointment?   Some things that you should take time to reflect on include:

·         What makes your business truly outstanding (these can be material things or emotional things)

·         Do you need to bring yourself up to date with any local or national trends?

·         What are other practices doing with their brands

·         What capabilities make your practice extraordinary and hard to copy?

Once you determine your unique identity, you can use this information to develop an image for your practice that will carry through on all advertising, promotions, website, office appearance, printed material, and marketing.  The overall goal of establishing this image is to convey a compelling reason for patients and referrer to select you over the competition.

Marketing, Branding, Strategy

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