Branding is one of the most crucial aspects of growing any company, including a medical practice.
In fact, if you haven’t properly branded your healthcare practice, you could be losing patients every day.
How is that so?
To put it simply, branding is responsible for the total experience that a customer aka “patient” has with your company aka “medical practice”.1 In healthcare, we know this ultimately translates to the patient experience.
In a hospital for example, a patient uses their experience with examinations, registration and treatments to form a brand image of that hospital.2 As the patient encounters the website, schedules an appointment, visits the doctor and interacts with the nurse, they encounter various aspects of the values, culture, and mission of the facility.
Many believe that the brand of a business is only in the logo, the font and the colors, but the brand is also in the messaging, service delivery, tone and character of that company. A solid brand gives employees direction on how to perform, and patients or customers an idea of what to expect. The brand gives identity, and when done right, the identity attracts more customers aka patients.
According to Natasha Davis, CEO and Chief Branding Strategist of Impact Branding Consulting, every business regardless of their industry must be intentional when developing solid brand positioning by giving attention to how they appear to the marketplace:
This is important because company values are encapsulated and displayed in the brand position. In today’s world and competitive market, the brand of any healthcare facility has to communicate more than “quality patient care”.
According to Naren Arulrajah, President and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, when focusing on patient welfare, the four most important aspects for a brand to communicate include:
- Commitment — A practice that cares for a patient’s future.
- Engagement — A practice that does what it says.
- Reputation — Patients like what the practice has to offer.
- Responsiveness — Patients are pleased the practice responds to their needs.
These four aspects feed into the essential facets of branding: building trust and credibility, two of the most important factors patients consider when choosing a healthcare provider.
According to Kyruus’ 2019 Patient Journey Report, the majority of patients conduct independent research before making an appointment.3 Top sources of information include the internet, like Google searches, social media, or a health system’s or medical practice website, of which 43% of patients consult to make their final decision.3
This is a major indicator that branding your healthcare practice is increasingly important as patients rely on online information. In today’s world of Yelp reviews, Google reviews and public exposure on Social Media, it is essential to control your message when creating and maintaining an online presence for your medical practice. Branding, more specifically Intentional Branding gives you that control.
In healthcare, there are several websites and databases to take into consideration when creating or improving your online presence. Some examples include Healthgrades, ZocDoc and RateMD, which are all sites that store patient reviews and satisfaction on healthcare providers.
When you spend time intentionally positioning the brand of your practice, you distinguish yourself amongst competitors and establish your place in the market. It also establishes your medical practice as being credible and, consequently, drives more business to you.
Additionally, a solid brand helps your practice become recognizable. Cutting through the clutter is increasingly important as people’s attention spans decrease.4 Making it easy for people to associate your brand with messages like “compassionate care,” “short wait times,” or “dedicated physicians” will increase the familiarity of your practice in your community.
To make it simple, branding appeals to people, and people become your patients.
For healthcare organizations, the rewards of intentional branding can be humongous. It provides an opportunity to truly assess the needs of patients, develop capabilities to meet those needs and effectively communicate how those needs will be met.5
- Healthcare Success. Creating a Powerful, Differentiating Brand. Available at https://healthcaresuccess.com/blog/healthcare-marketing/branding.html. Accessed September 2, 2020.
- Kim et al. Brand Equity in Hospital Marketing. J Busin Res 2008;61(1)75-82.
- Kyruus. 2019 Patient Access Journey Report. 2019.
- Technical University of Denmark. Abundance of information narrows our collective attention span. ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2019.
- Kumar PN, Jacob A, Thota Sl. Impact of Healthcare Marketing and Branding on Hospital Services. Int J Res Foundation Hosp Healthc Adm 2014;2(1):19-24.