This article by Kerry Sutherland was previously published in the May/June 2013 issue of the Washoe County Medical Society “Communicator”.
Branding is more than a marketing concept; it is an emotional connection between the practice and the people it serves. Your office staff is the main conduit for initiating that personal connection. If they aren’t representing your branding message, then your patients aren’t receiving the message or the experience that you intend. Without their buy-in and commitment, your branding will not succeed.
Some things to consider…
- Train the staff in the branding message. Let everyone in on your branding goals and why it’s important to the practice as well as the patients they serve.
- Recognize and reward positive behaviors. The day-to-day expressions that communicate a positive and helpful experience for patients, as part of the overall branding message should be encouraged.
- Bring branding to hiring and organizational culture. Look for ways to grow your own staff that demonstrates the right attitudes. Hiring and retaining the right people inspire a positive environment.
- Demonstrate by leadership. Show and lead by example, and encourage everyone to lead others in the process.
In addition to branding through your staff, when a new patient crosses your doorway for the first time, they also get an immediate message about your physical environment. Your office is another extension of your brand to your current and future patients, referring physicians, and community. A practice that wants to invoke an up-scale message, for example, may be sending a different message if the décor or marketing materials don’t match that branding message.
So take control, and put your identifying mark on just about everything that involves the business side of the practice. Remember, your brand is who you are, what you stand for, and also how that information is communicated to others.
By Kerry Sutherland