Branding is more than just a buzzword today. It is an essential differentiator for a successful practice. And it's no longer just about your sleek logo or color scheme. Your brand encompasses everything and anything about your practice—or at least it should.
The Big Picture
A brand is not just a modern logo, clever tagline, or a bold color scheme. It is much grander than that. Brand building is the process of differentiating your practice from all the other practices in the market. It takes into account the look and feel of your office, the physicians and staff, all marketing materials, and every other detail that speaks to who you are and what you value. Before you build your brand, consider who your target audience is and what appeals to them. Decide on the core messages you wish to convey and the tone that suits you, and build your brand around those.
Everything from the colors and fonts you use, the copy on your website, posting on social channels, location, and imagery should speak to these core messages. Your patients and community should be able to recognize your brand everywhere from the signage on your door to your Facebook page and appointment cards. All of these details matter and make up your total brand, but the other key component to consider is the patient experience. Maintaining your brand is all about consistency. You need to deliver on the promises that your branding conveys.
You can rebrand when there is a good reason to, but everything still needs to be consistent. You can't do it piecemeal, like updating your website landing page or logo but failing to overhaul all of the other components of your brand. At the end of the day, your brand has to stand for something; i.e., quality, professionalism, five-star service, advanced results, etc. The disadvantages of not investing in your brand are numerous. For starters, your practice will not be able to distinguish itself from competitors in any meaningful way, which will leave you vulnerable to having to compete on price alone. No one wins in a price war.
• Founder/President of Wendy Lewis & Co. Ltd., a marketing communication and social media boutique in New York City.
• Founder/Editor-in-Chief of beautyinthebag.com.
• Author of 12 books including Aesthetic Clinic Marketing in the Digital Age
On-brand Web Design
Branding is a complex process that should be applied across all types of promotions, from web design to social media, blogs, and digital marketing. It is what sets a physician or practice apart and makes their marketing stand out. Branding should take into consideration the colors as well as logos and look and feel of the practice. Consistency is important. By sticking with consistent colors, photos, fonts, and design elements throughout your brand you can project a cohesive image.
Every detail counts, too. Web design and digital marketing trends are constantly changing, so if you have not updated your website in a few years, you may find that you are in need of some simple fixes to keep it appealing, effective, and on-brand. Websites should be concise, easy to use, and intuitive and reflect the practice's goals. This is why it is so important to reflect your branding in everything you put out in the market. Branding is about more than just picking the best colors for your landing page. It's about your whole practice's image.
• CEO of the Webtools Group
Who Are You, Really?
Whether you're opening your practice's doors for the first time or you're revamping your decades-old office, your brand couldn't be more important. A lot of clients come to us thinking that a brand is simply the colors of their logo. In reality, your brand is far more than choosing whether you're going to be filling your website with blues or purples. We encourage our clients to think about not only the aesthetic of their marketing (modern, cozy, classic, etc.), but also about:
- Who are you and who are your patients?
- Are you a seasoned professional or young and trendy?
- Are you the practice that tries the latest new equipment or the provider who is a well-established user of classic procedures?
- Are you high-end or affordable?
- Are you catering to a male or female population?
- Are you casual or formal (with both your patients and your marketing's verbiage)?
- Are you English speaking, primarily communicating with patients in another language, or bilingual?
Next, think about your patients' demographics and who you're looking to attract. For example, are you looking to attract young female patients who are excited about their primary breast augmentation and a butt lift? A male population looking for hi-def liposculpture? The mature facelift patient? All of those patients are going to be spoken to in a slightly different fashion, and different images and wording will either attract (or completely turn off) the other.
Everything from the words and images on your website, which social media channels you choose, the aesthetic of your office, the scripting of your team's in-office communication—even how your staff dresses—becomes part of your brand.
We encourage our clients to think about who they are, what they want, and the demographic of the patient that they want to attract. Remember that consistency is key, or else you risk losing momentum in your branding efforts, as well as confusing your patients.
Jay A. Shorr, BA, MBM-C, CAC XIV
•Founder and managing partner, Shorr Solutions, assisting medical practices with the operational, financial, and administrative health of their business.
•Professional motivational speaker, advisor to the Certified Aesthetic Consultant Program, and certified medical business manager from Florida Atlantic University.
Mara Shorr, BS, CAC XIV
• Partner and vice president of marketing and business development for Shorr Solutions.
• Level II-XI certified aesthetic consultant, utilizing her knowledge and experience to help clients achieve their potential. She is also a national speaker and writer.