Why is branding important for doctors?
When people think of strong brands, they immediately think of large corporations like Gucci, Rolex and Ferrari. Sure, their brand messaging is consistent and compelling -and it’s clearly working for them- but why does it have to stop there?
Branding isn’t just for large businesses – it’s for every business. Your medical practice included. In fact, branding is a crucial part to any successful healthcare marketing strategy.
Even if you didn’t realize it already, you and your medical practice have probably already established a brand image. However, it’s not too late to build upon that image or change it entirely if you wish. So what’s first?
1. Identify core values
This is the most important step when creating a successful brand identity. Branding for doctors begins and ends with your core values. Start by looking at your mission statement if you have one. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. You can always make one. Think about those values that you and your staff want to uphold. I have no doubt that you have a commitment to quality service, but there’s definitely more than that. For example, you should always try to foster a welcoming, friendly environment for your patients and coworkers. Add that in there!
2. Establish a reputation
A good place to start with establishing your medical practice’s reputation is with Google My Business. After all, this is where most of your patients and potential patients will interact with your brand online. We all know by now that Google controls everything (I’m only half-joking), so you should start by tailoring your image there. Think of the values that you identified earlier, and adjust your efforts accordingly. For instance, if you’re trying to foster a welcoming environment, a good place to start is by taking warm photos with smiling doctors and staff. There’s nothing worse than dark photos of medical tools, trust me. While bolstering online reviews can be as simple as asking your current patients when you see them, at the end of the day your service has to be great.
3. It’s your image – go out there and use it
Once you’ve established core values and identified ways to show them online, use this to your advantage. Chances are your competitors aren’t paying attention to their brand images, so this can set you ahead of the pack. If your website doesn’t mirror the image you’d like to create for your practice, it’s time to invest in a new one. If you’ve tried hard to bolster your online reputation, make use of them by showcasing them on your website and social media. Calling subtle attention to your online reviews can reinforce your existing image, but it can also encourage others to join in as well.
The bottom line is you don’t need to be like Gucci, Rolex or Ferrari to establish an effective brand image and reputation. In fact, it’s even more effective for medical practices like yours since it can be such a competitive advantage. As long as you start thinking about some of the things we discussed above, I can guarantee you’ll be better off.
Written by Andrew Epprecht
As the Founder and CEO of Phase 5 Analytics, Andrew leads a team of healthcare marketers and consultants. He's been featured in publications like Forbes and Search Engine Watch. An entrepreneur at heart, Andrew started his first business in high school. While attending Duke University, he further developed his knowledge of online marketing and advertising. Today, Andrew uses these skills to help forward-thinking healthcare organizations attract new patients online.