When it comes to marketing any business, it’s important to never allow the business’s image to fall into a rut. The case is the same, if not more so, with medical practices. Patients want to know that their medical care office is on the up and up; that it can keep up with developing research and offer state of the art treatment. As much as it may seem like you’re commercializing an essential service, the truth remains that you need to set your practice apart from thousands of others that patients have to choose from. However, there’s a delicate set of ethical standards to follow when it comes to promoting any medical service. That, combined with the complexities of the marketing world, make rebranding a practice exceedingly different. Here are a few steps to get started.
Step 1: Define Your Brand
As basic as it seems, the first thing any practitioner or business owner who wants to rebrand his image should do is to define what that image is exactly. Take into account the look and feel you would like you and your office to offer patients and families, along with any promotional materials that will contribute to your overall image. All these features of your brand should point to the same central ideas and themes. If defining a brand were simply an act of choosing a new name, we wouldn’t have compiled this list. It’s also more than choosing a logo and an office to function out of. Branding starts with these things, yes. But more importantly, your brand is your overall message. It represents and presents who you are as a professional, the reputation you have and seek to maintain, but possibly most importantly, the beliefs and values about healthcare and how they pertain to the services you offer your patients. Decide who you are, and how you want your clients and the public to view you. Whether you are a respected DUI lawyer or an orthopedic surgeon it is important to define your brand and be willing to modify it over the course of time if need be.
Step 2: Outline a Branding Strategy
In order for any branding strategy to be effective, it must be based upon critical, quantifiable information. Sadly, throwing a caduceus on all of your promotional materials and calling it good is simply not going to cut it. Rather, start by identifying who your brand will need to speak to, and how exactly you’ll get that message across. Which demographic groups does your business currently cater to? Is your goal to expand on that group, or simply change the approach to the current group? You’ll be wise to consult with a professional firm that can help you identify your target market accurately. This will be a combination of your current patients, as well as combining those you strive to draw to your doorstep. They’ll base their results on demographic information, geographical location, along with any specialized medical needs or wants that correspond with the areas of specialization your practices features.
Step 3: Define Your Unique Selling Point
This step is more commonly referred to in the medical field as identifying your value proposition, and it’s the longest section in this article because it’s the single most important step in any rebranding strategy. In order to effectively establish a medical brand, you’ll need to identify and show the world what sets you apart from other practices in the same field. Why should patients choose your practice as opposed to the one down the street their neighbor goes to? If you’re going to keep pace with those corporate-owned practices and the huge networks of hospitals and clinics that all work together and threaten your livelihood. Check out this infographic about medical branding to learn more about how to keep up with your peers. Aside from that, what are you able to offer your patents that other physicians lack? Do you focus on a certain specialty, or utilize cutting edge facilities and equipment? Maybe you simply serve fewer patients, so your bedside manner is more personable and compassionate. If none of these options apply, perhaps it’s time to consider expanding your policies to include them. Enhance the initial consultation to improve patient perception, personalize their care by personally following up via telephone to check on their conditions, and offer prescription reissues over the phone for their convenience. Focus on your strengths and brainstorm ways to enhance them even further. Which areas of your practice do you or your physicians enjoy the most? Perhaps there’s a certain discipline of medicine that you are drawn to. Now’s the perfect time to zero in on that and really expand your brand. Reflect very honestly on your patients’ perception of you and the practice. Consider implementing a satisfaction survey to existing patients to get an accurate depiction of the status quo. The results of this self-reflection and patient surveys could help you lay the foundation of your rebranding strategy by identifying areas you need to focus on.
Step 4: Humanize the Practice by Partnering With Non-Profits
Lastly, do everything in your power to humanize your medical practice. You might consider partnering with a local non-profit organization to increase awareness about the organization, as well as improve your public image. Choose an organization that is in line with your expertise. If you’re an oncology clinic, partner with the American Cancer Society or sponsor a local individual in a fundraiser to help raise funds for cancer research. If have a thriving cardiology clinic, the American Heart Association might be appropriate for this venture. If partnering with non-profits doesn’t seem like it would appeal to your target demographic, or you’d prefer to go a different route, another option is to get involved with the community. Sponsor a local high school’s yearbook, football team, or prom committee. Enter a float in the local Memorial Day Parade to honor our veterans. Really, any involvement in the community will increase awareness of your brand and will likely enhance your public image. Now that you have a clear idea of which demographic groups you need to target, you’ll be better prepared to outline a branding strategy, define your unique selling point and begin to humanize by linking up with valuable non-profits and getting involved with the community in which you practice. (Your medical practice’s brand / shutterstock)