Have you thought about the image or perception that your patients have of you? If not, now is the time to start.
Have you thought about the image or perception that your patients have of you? If not, now is the time to start. The personal brand of each physician in your practice, as well as your medical office as a whole, should evoke a memorable feeling or at the very least, provide your patients with a concrete visualization of something they can relate to and want to share with their friends and family.
When developing your brand keep in mind that you want to emphasize those special attributes that distinguish you and your practice from that of your competitors. A “brand” can be a special person, place or thing...or all of these things together.
What is a Brand?
When I think of brands, I think of….
McDonald’s: Big Mac, order by number, McNuggets, Happy Meals and free WiFi;
USAA, tremendous customer service and no answering machines; and
GoDaddy, moderate wait times on hold and moderate customer service. Oh yeah and those great commercials.
Brands have the power to evoke both positive and negative responses in consumers/patients.
So when creating your brand, obviously you want your patients to associate “good” feelings with being a part of your medical practice. It’s easy to think of how you ideally want your patients to see your practice; however, when implementing your particular branding strategy, be authentic. You can’t pretend to be, what you are not.
Some ways that I have seen branding used in the medical field include:
Physical Branding - Color: Perhaps you like the color yellow because it evokes happy feelings. You could be known as the yellow/happy practice. Paint your office with bright yellow accent walls, yellow uniforms, yellow pens, yellow accents, signs, smiley face appointment cards, etc.
Décor: You could do the same with the furnishings that adorn your office. Do you love antiques? Remove those sterile waiting rooms chairs and tables and replace them with items that provide character. How about art? Do you love Impressionism? Then adorn your walls with Monet.
Scent: The power of smell is tremendous. Think fresh baked cookies, sizzling fajitas, Christmas trees, the ocean, spring, or your first born child. To incorporate the sense of smell, consider the feelings that could be evoked if you used the warm inviting smell of potpourri throughout your office to put your patients at ease. Or perhaps you pride yourself with the cleanliness of your office; the smell of “cleaning solution” wafting through your halls is certainly preferable to dirty linens, gloves, specimens, etc.
You get the idea, take a passion you have in your personal life and blend it into your professional life.
Personal Branding: Share pictures of you, your family, your hobbies, and favorite sports. Patients are not nearly as interested in your diplomas as they are in who you are as a person. Chances are if you let a little of the real you play out in the office, your patients will engage you and find their experience memorable … and that is what it is all about.
A memorable experience is a shareable experience. So start branding yourself and your medical practice today.
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