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    Establish brand identity to unleash your practice’s potential

    Brand identity plays key role in community awareness of a practice

     

    Melanie Palm photoMelanie Palm, M.D., M.B.A.Ever recount your favorite Super Bowl commercial with a friend after the big game? Or see the golden arches and think about a burger? And who would have thought the silhouette of a fruit would be synonymous with the rise of a smartphone? Well, behold the power of brand identity.

    How often do you think of your practice “brand”? For most of us, the answer is probably not often. Two years ago, I thought a lot about this question as I opened the doors to a new practice and finally put my MBA to the test. Brand identity plays a foundational role in the marketing plan, economic growth, and community awareness of a practice. For a physician, determining the meaning of their “brand” is key to unleashing the full potential of his or her practice.

    Brand identity encompasses the vision of an organization as well as its culture, products and associations. Brand identity is your communication to the outside world, and the basis as to how you are perceived by others. Tom Rohrer, M.D., partner at SkinCare Physicians of Chestnut Hill, Mass., echoes this principle. Over their 14 years of practice, Dr. Rohrer notes that their practice mission and vision have not changed.

    “We build consensus and make decisions that are unanimous and good for the practice,” he says. Their mission to provide unparalleled dermatologic care is encapsulated in “shorter mantras that are easier for all of us to remember on a daily basis,” Dr. Rohrer says.

    Building brand loyalty

    According to Tracy Drumm, vice president of IF Marketing, the most important brand associated with a medical office is the physician (and their staff). 

    “It is ultimately up to the individual practice to define their identity, or you ultimately let your patients and market define it for you. Practices best positioned for success proactively decide how they want patients to feel when they come to the practice and how they want to be remembered,” she says.

    Fredric Brandt, M.D., founding director of Dr. Brandt Dermatology Associates and creator of an eponymous skincare line, recognizes the value of fostering the patient experience.

    “We’ve tried to stay true to our mission of providing the highest grade products with in office benefits for home use,” he says.

    Building strong brand loyalty requires some introspection. What do you value? How is your practice positioned compared to others in the community? What makes the physician(s) or practice unique? Who do you wish to target?

    For new practices, asking these questions early on builds a consistent brand over time. For established practices that have not considered brand equity, Ms. Drumm suggests refocusing on what the market (i.e., the patient) needs in order to best strengthen brand identity to the intended audience.

     

    Next: Setting the foundation 

    Palm-Melanie90x90.jpg
    Melanie D. Palm, M.D., M.B.A.
    Melanie D. Palm, M.D., is director of Art of Skin MD in Solana Beach, Calif. Visit her at http://www.artofskinmd.com

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