Modern Aesthetics | Board Forum: How to Stand Out
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Board Forum: How to Stand Out

What does your “brand” mean to you? How did you set about establishing a brand, and how do you reflect it?

Neil Gordon, MD: Brand means having a set of symbols, practices, or products/services that represent who you are and your goals.

Sachin Shridharani, MD: My “brand” means everything to me, because my “brand” is a reflection of who I am and my team’s core values. Too often, I find that colleagues think their “brand” is limited to their practice colors or logo or website. I think that is just a simplification of “branding” but not actually a “brand.” We reflect our brand in the experience I want my patients to have. I want them to have an experience in my practice like I would like to have if I was seeking elective aesthetic surgery/treatments. Setting a brand requires introspection and insight into what one hopes to achieve when delivering the highest level of medical care that one is capable of administering.

Otto Placik, MD: In the aesthetic fields, brand can be reflective of an identity or a practice. In some cases, it is combined, but I prefer establishing an identity. It’s easier to relate to the individual than a group of providers. Social media allows direct communication with the public and often establishes a true brand by transmitting one’s personality often directly to the viewer. In many instances, this allows a virtual compatibility match prior to ever coming in for a consult. I find that patients will follow posts for months to evaluate and essentially interview their provider. It allows me to feature my skills as a plastic surgeon treating both the face and body as well as the full scope of non-surgical procedures.

Heidi Waldorf, MD: In aesthetics, you are your brand. Ask a random group of new and established patients why they see you and you’ll get your answer.

When I did a branding project in my office, the answer again and again was “I trust you.” Other words that kept coming up were “artistic,” “real,” “the best,” “caring.” I reflect this in person (minimal makeup, athletic fit navy scrubs, clogs, pony tail), in my office décor (modern but warm, photos of nature, landscaping), books with my own aging photos, and through social media that can be educational but also self-deprecating.

Sue Ellen Cox, MD: I didn’t set out to establish a brand, it developed naturally from the way I practice. I’m passionate about evidence-based treatments, natural-looking results, and furthering our specialty through education and research. That, in effect, is our brand: Patient advocate, technical excellence, pioneer in research and education.

What are some of the subtle ways you reflect your brand throughout your practice?

Dr. Shridharani: The subtle ways we reflect our brand are ensuring that patients are intimately aware of who our team members are and credentialing them. They appear as a cohesive unit and have uniforms, which demonstrates we are all in this as a team to take care of you.

Our logo and messaging are consistent on all materials within the office and outside of the office. Artwork and color palettes employed are consistent throughout our platforms and office. Also, I elected to name my practice something other than my name so there was recognition of my team and me as an entity, not just a Dr. John Doe, PLLC, etc.

Dr. Placik: I provide one-on-one consultations without using a screener.

Dr. Waldorf: My clogs have an image of me as a super-hero (“Superderm”—designed by a dear friend, Brooke Jackson MD); in addition to my nature photography, we have an eagle weathervane in a high ceiling alcove. The eagle represents strength, courage, honesty, and tradition.

The office colors include dark blues, hints of light blue, white and gray—the colors are warm, not cold. The décor is clean, modern, attractive, inviting, yet also serious. We have no TV or monitors on in the waiting room. But we do have a beverage and snack corner, because I want my patients to feel calm and cared for while here, not stressed.

Dr. Gordon: We represent our brand in our office environment: subtle, sophisticated, understated elegance. We do not display products; high-end décor but not flashy. The Retreat at Split Rock is an eighteenth century estate.

Dr. Cox: We just finished a substantial remodel that includes several things important to our brand. The first is a well-appointed “learning center” where we host weekly Lunch + Learns for our patients on a variety of topics. We also added a dedicated area for re-application of make-up, as many patients here for an initial consult are reluctant to remove make-up just for proper baseline photos. We have adjustable lighting mirrors, and complimentary post-procedure skincare and make-up products in this area. Pre-warmed towels and robes, luxury chocolates, and private offices for check-out all contribute to the experience.

How does your logo reflect your brand? How and why did you develop the logo you have?

Dr. Gordon: We have two logos. The Retreat at Split Rock, which is a physical place, shows the split rock with a young tree growing from the cleavage plane between the split rock. Rejuvenation in a unique setting. The logo for my practice is a silhouette of a face as it would be sketched. Showing the artistic side of the commitment to only faces.

Dr. Shridharani: My practice’s logo reflects my brand in its simplicity and elegance. It is a simple use of fonts, which is not a novel approach, but it combines a modern block font with traditional cursive. That combination is a reflection of my practice—modern and cutting-edge treatments building on the traditional fundamental gold standard surgical procedures.

Dr. Waldorf: The colors—dark and light blue—represent trust (and match my eyes). The mark is modern and combines a W and D in one. The mark was developed by contest using the website 99 designs. I highly recommend them. We paid for the package using the most experienced designers and it was still very reasonable. The font for the practice name is traditional serif. For other print we use a modern sans serif. The combination belies art and science.

Dr. Cox: Our logo has not changed since we adopted the Aesthetic Solutions name 15 years ago. It’s a graceful, understated line image of a woman’s face, and fits us perfectly.

Dr. Placik: My logo merges the images of a face and a body into one consolidated image.

What about your staff? What is their role in reflecting your brand? How do you equip them to do this?

Dr. Pacik: My staff are active participants in social media and often cross cover so that they know my skills in the operating room and clinic.

Dr. Shridharani: The staff understand the practice’s core values and beliefs. If one of the team members does not fundamentally believe in and strive towards excellence in patient care, I reassess the role in the practice. The team is equipped with several tools to succeed. My team and I have several team building exercises and education of administrative duties and clinical responsibilities is performed daily.

Dr. Cox: We have a phrase in my office that “Everything Matters.” It just means everything we do affects our patients, builds or detracts from the brand and our team. We hire people who already understand and personally embrace education, factual advice, compassion, and technical excellence in whatever they do. I’m fortunate to have an incredibly talented and committed team supporting me.

Dr. Waldorf: My staff also look natural, not overdone. The front staff wear business attire. The clinical staff (nurses) wear royal blue scrubs with our logo. All staff wear a name tag with our logo mark on it.

Dr. Gordon: Staff reflect the brand in dressing stylish but not flashy. Focus is on the patient. Accommodating and available. Making sure staff are fluent and knowledgeable of what makes us unique: the procedures, the approach, and the environment.

Complete the thought: The (approx.) three words that I want the public to associate with me and my practice are…

Dr. Shridharani: Excellence, Commitment, and Patience.

Dr. Placik: Caring, knowledgeable, experienced.

Dee Ann Glaser, MD: Compassionate care with natural- appearing results.

Dr. Waldorf: Compassionate, artistic, perfectionist.

Dr. Gordon: Natural, consistent, safe.