In this first of a series, we’ll discuss the concept of “branding”, and why it is so important to the lasting success of practices (and all organizations for that matter).
The term branding was coined from the pioneer-days practice of placing a ranch’s image on their livestock using a hot iron. While this procedure may now seem a bit barbaric, the end game was good; helping others visualize what you are, and what is yours.
In modern communication parlance, the concept of branding revolves around the practice of carefully and intentionally crafting what others think and feel about your organization (or your product, or you personally).
Let’s clear up several branding misconceptions;
- A brand IS NOT a logo. Having a great, universally recognized logo (like Nike) is not the same as having a great brand. A good logo is an important part of your visual identity, but it is but a small part of your overall branding.
- You DO have a brand. Whether or not you intentionally set out to develop your brand, you have one. Because, at the heart of it, a brand is what others think and feel about you. And, good or bad, people have thoughts and feelings about your practice.
There is a trick that innovative and lasting companies have learned; they work at crafting their brand, as opposed to letting it develop by chance or happenstance.
A medical or dental practice doesn’t need to have a branding or marketing budget like Apple, Coors or Samsung to effectively build a brand. Branding in healthcare mostly requires you to:
- Recognize the importance of a brand
- Decide what you’d like yours to be (write it in pencil, it will change and evolve!)
- Make a plan to make it happen over time
The next installments of this series will contemplate ideas to help you.