By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
The only constant in today’s healthcare marketplace is rapid change. Competition is increasingly intense. Group practices are the product of mergers, rollups and acquisitions. And prospective patients are confused without a strong brand message. When dynamics scramble the consumer message, consider these branding tips to differentiate your group practice.
One white coat looks the same as the next…
When solo practitioners form partnerships, and partnerships become groups—the brand equity evaporates. Change has erased any healthcare branding message that you had. Further, in the mind of the public, healthcare providers all seem pretty much the same.
The key to success is to create a differentiating brand. The group practice that clearly and uniquely distinguishes itself in the mind of the consumer stands significantly ahead of the competition. Unless your practice stands out in the marketplace, it remains invisible and inconsequential to the public.
Branding tips for successful differentiation…
We’ve spoken to thousands of physicians and other providers, and there isn’t anyone who told us they had a plain vanilla practice. Your brand is who you are. Therefore, your brand distinction sets you above the competition, makes you memorable to the consumer, and impacts and guides selection at the time of need. Branding tips to consider…
- The core concept of brand/branding is positive differentiation. Identify what is unique about your work, your colleagues, the group practice or the office environment.
- Effective branding is about the entire experience and relationship that patients have with you and your team. When you communicate what makes you special, you are setting expectations. Patients will benefit from your unique value each time they visit or call.
- Re-identify your target audience. The audience and the capabilities of the group practice may have changed. Examine and document the demographics of the patients that you serve. What influences and motivates your desired audience to see you as their best choice?
- Building a distinguishing experience and message answers the question: “Why You?” Your brand message is the “why” when patients choose your group. Crystallize your competitive advantage.
- People buy based on emotion and justify decisions based on facts. What is an emotionally compelling reason why the patient should choose you?
- Take your time; adjust your expectations. Healthcare branding is a continuing, long-term process. Brand awareness and recognition grow slowly. Be consistent and persistent, but it’s not a quick fix solution.
- Don’t take your own word for things. You are not your audience, so avoid your own biases. Connect with the value system of your patients/audience and learn what benefits them. Reach out to us. We can provide an experienced, independent third-party perspective.
Be remarkable or be invisible…
Business author and marketing guru Seth Godin uses a “purple cow” as the essence of differentiation. “You’re either a purple cow or you’re not. You’re either remarkable or you’re invisible. Make your choice.”
For more information about our branding services, call us today at 800-656-0907. We’ll create a compelling, professional and well-differentiated brand.