Brand, branding and brand distinction: On the surface, these terms might seem like they’re describing the same thing - the perception of a company. But if you look deeper, all of these things are part of a whole, and they are all essential to the success of your practice.
Brand distinction is what sets your practice apart from others. It’s what makes you immediately identifiable in your industry. But before you can have a “brand distinction,” you need to create a clear brand.
Brand, Branding and Why They’re Essential
When we talk about brands, branding and marketing, what we’re really talking about is storytelling. You’re telling the story of your business, who you serve, and why you do what you do. Brand and branding are both major components of your storytelling process.
But brand and branding are not the same, and you need to understand the differences to use them both effectively. So let’s take a look at each of them:
Brand: Think about your brand as what you do, and why you do it. Your brand is an inside job. It’s those everyday things that every person in your company does, and the way they do it. It’s how your service or product is delivered, and experienced by your patients.
If your brand is unclear or misaligned, then it’s not going to work. That’s why the brand discovery process is so important; it’s about the heart and soul of your practice, and it’s the foundation for everything else.
Branding: Once everyone in the practice has a clear understanding of the brand, the “branding” helps convey that message to the outside world. This is where you bring in tools like marketing campaigns, social media strategies and search engine optimization to share your story, and bring in new patients.
But once again, all of that effort will fall flat without a well-developed brand. And in healthcare, your practice’s brand distinction is crucial for growth and success.
Finding Your Practice Brand Distinction
Your brand distinction looks at your brand and identifies what sets it apart. You have to discover what it is that differentiates you from your competitors. If your practice is one of several doing the exact same thing in your area, then what makes you memorable? And how do you express that through your branding?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you create aligned, targeted branding that will connect you with the right patients.
What Sets You Apart?
There are a variety of ways to carve a niche for yourself in a well-established industry. In healthcare, that might look like some of these examples:
Specific patient groups: Whether you’re a dentist working exclusively with kids or a chiropractor trained in helping pregnant patients, specialized patient groups is one major way to differentiate your practice.
Unique service approaches: Maybe your practice invests in the newest cutting edge technology, offers online appointment options, or even has a cool waiting room. Anything that sets the experience of your practice apart is worth talking about.
History and legacy: If you’re part of a practice that has been around for decades, be sure to share the history of your practice and how it has changed over the years. Even if your practice is brand new, you can share how it came to be, who it started, and what the plans are for the future.
Your team: At the end of the day, people truly make the practice. Share more about what your team is working on, who they are, and how they came to your practice. Giving your followers a peek behind the curtain allows them to see the human side of your work, and helps to build a connection.
The Brand Distinction Process
Just like your practice, the brand distinction process is ever-changing. But with a strong brand at the core, you’ll be able to consistently tell the story of your practice in an engaging, authentic way.