Branding your professional medical practice might feel like you’re commercializing an essential service, but keep in mind you’re competing with every other local practice in your area for patients. It’s necessary to create a brand image if you want to stand out and be remembered, making it the most critical building block of your marketing strategy.
While competition may be more subtle in the service industry than retail, you’re still competing with other professionals who are similarly qualified for the same pool of patients. Your specializations, your facilities, and your brand are what differentiate your practice from all the others — you need to make them count.
Okay, you get it! So, how do you go about branding your professional medical practice and compile a brand strategy that fits your field’s ethical considerations? Read on and find out.
Defining a Professional Brand
Branding is much more than just a logo, an ad, or the name of your practice. Your brand defines your business as a whole. It’s about who you are as a professional, your reputation, your beliefs, and your values. Your brand is your promise to your customer.
You will be creating an identity and personality for your practice that differentiates it from other practices in your area. When you first considered the practice, you probably had an idea of how you wanted patients to view your services. This might have changed over time, but it still forms the basis for defining the brand you envision.
Devising a Branding Strategy
As with any other business, the creation of your brand identity requires careful planning based on critical information. Some common mistakes in professional medical practice marketing include putting a Caduceus symbol on everything, assuming that everyone in your area needs your services and that this symbol will deliver them to you!
For your medical practice, you want your brand to be something your patients see and experience when they visit your office and see your advertising. This brand experience should include your office décor, promotional material, the usability of your website, and much more. Branding can help determine how well your practice is perceived by patients.
Target market segmentation
The first step in any branding strategy is to identify your target market as accurately as possible. Market segments should be based on the profile of the people you want to attract. Your target market might be based on demographics, location, or needs and wants, and should correspond with your specialization. The more closely you narrow the niche, the stronger your brand identity is likely to be. For example, an OB-GYN who targets women of child-bearing age needs different branding from a physio practice targeting athletes with extreme sports injuries.
Identify your value proposition
The words “value proposition” have slightly more meaning than “unique selling point” when applied to professional medical practice marketing. What sets your practice apart from the facility down the road, the recent graduates working for the established practice, or the upmarket practice in the new building? These questions can help you clarify your thinking around your brand identity:
- What do you offer that others don’t? Perhaps it’s time to consider a custom service, such as the initial extended consultation, the follow-up telephone call, or teleservices.
- What are your strengths in dealing with people? Who do you relate to best, and what aspect of your specialty do you enjoy the most? The answers might give you a clue to how you are perceived and form the basis of your branding strategy.
- Do you have a hobby or special interest that you could speak about? Talking about non-professional interests might sound outside the box, but it helps to humanize your professional practice identity.
Once you’ve identified who your market comprises and what you offer, you’ll be in a better position to develop a solid branding strategy. And remember: once you establish your brand, stay true to it. Be consistent, and always deliver on your brand promise.
Schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you develop a solid branding strategy and practice marketing plan. We promise to always keep you on brand!