Many medical practitioners today still feel that branding is something that needs only to be practised by “normal” businesses. This thinking is in large part due to past government regulations which prohibited or tightly controlled the type of advertising practitioners were allowed to do. Neither is even a basic course in marketing considered worthy of inclusion in medical studies.
THINGS AND TIMES HAVE CHANGED! The medical practitioner of today is as much in business as any other retail or service industry owner. And, the competition is as fierce!
You need to show that you are different – even unique – which does not mean offending colleagues by claiming some form of superiority, something which practitioners baulk against. Simply look at any savvy business marketer and you’ll see they never “outboast” their opposition. It’s all about sending the right signals which help the customer – your patient – to form the kind of impression about your practice that you would like them to have. It’s not simply your advertising, a fancy office or well-designed logo … it’s the entire experience that interaction with you and your team produces.
Some of the more visible branding elements are:|
- your logo
- office signs and office decor
- stationery: script pads, patient information forms, appointment cards, letterheads
- email signature
- corporate colours
Now part of a brand, these are what were termed Corporate Identity. While an important part of your brand because they are physical images that are perceived by customers and prospects, it cannot fix a poor perception of a business or practice – it can only be a contributing factor. Branding encompasses all the visual elements AS WELL AS the overall, emotional perception of your practice. IT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOUR PATIENTS AND YOUR BUSINESS.
Don’t do things on the cheap, such as having your receptionist run off flimsy appointment cards on the office photocopier. It’s an insult to a patient who spends their money with your practice. The same applies to mass-produced receipt books which are “personalised” by a rubber stamp of your practice details.
For more information on branding visit http://talk2.co.za/category/marketing-tips/branding/