Simply choosing a logo design for your practice isn’t enough to define your “brand.” It is more than simply choosing the right font or color scheme that effectively communicates your brand message. It’s an omnipresent message that your patients will pick up on right away. It seeps into every interaction and follow up, right down to the magazines you offer in your waiting room.
According the the Harvard Business Review, “Ultimately, brand is about caring about your business at every level and in every detail, from the big things like mission and vision, to your people, your customers, and every interaction anyone is ever going to have with you, no matter how small.
Here are three examples of successful corporate brands that you should emulate in your own brand strategy:
Your Brand As Time
The true success of Starbucks is not in the quality of its coffee or because of a great logo, it is because everyone in line knows how long they can expect to wait from start to finish. Every move that a barista makes when putting your order together is already laid out and auto-timed for them. The key to Starbucks’ effective brand strategy is not in the product it sells but in their time management.
The time it takes for your office to respond to your patients and colleagues, whether through follow-up or as a direct response, has a direct influence on the perception of your brand. Time is the universal in its scarcity and loss aversion has been demonstrated to be far more powerful than expected gains in influencing future behavior. While it may seem obvious that wasting another’s time is an unavoidable consequence of running a business, it helps to understand that the more you make people wait, the worse your brand suffers. A clean office and a courteous staff isn’t enough to communicate that you run an effective practice when you don’t seem organized enough to remain on schedule or provide ways around wasting others’ time.
Less Saying, More Doing
Another company that succeeds in ways that have little to do with the actual products it sells is Nordstrom. In Chip and Dan Heath’s best selling 2007 book, Made To Stick, the authors highlight three separate stories where Nordstrom’s employees made completely unexpected gestures that were so surprising that they became ingrained into the company’s brand:
- A refund is given to a customer returning tires even when Nordstrom doesn’t sell tires.
- Items purchased at another store are gift wrapped for free by a Norstrom’s sales person.
- A Norstrom’s salesperson warms up a car for a customer on a cold winter day.
The company threw out the rulebook on customer interactions and provided employees with a single mission: to provide exceptional customer service by performing the unexpected for customers.
Educate and train your staff and colleagues on this philosophy. It’s probably very easy to “do the unexpected” in an industry where popular perception is to expect the bare minimum. A small investment in unexpected notes sent in the mail or any unexpected gesture performed by you or your staff member will reap big rewards in differentiating your practice.
How Your Appearance Affects Your Brand
There is a lesson to be learned from the world of trash and rubbish disposal. In an industry where one’s uniform used to be the last concern of a business owner, the company that goes by the name “1-800-GOT-JUNK” turned that notion on its head, recently to the tune of over $100 million in revenue.
When there was absolutely no need to dress professional, founder Brian Scudamore and his employees made the decision to show up at your door to remove your trash looking crisp, clean, and happy. One’s trash is sometimes as personal and sensitive as one’s property, and a polished appearance instills more confidence in customers who might otherwise feel awkward. Customers quickly responded to the idea by paying more to avoid an experience with an unsavory character.
The example above is to highlight how a professional appearance can have a profound effect on the perception of your brand even in the most unlikely of settings. Your practice should take into account every detail of your appearance and you must explore ways in which you can polish your appearance and that of your staff.
The White Coat
There are several studies that measure the positive effect of the white coat on patient confidence, a new field of study on a phenomenon known as “enclothed cognition” is finding that there is a positive effect on the person wearing the lab coat as well. In a setting where patient confidence is paramount to expecting positive outcomes, a polished and professional appearance is crucial to your brand. Our customers at Medelita remain customers with us because we provide a product that physicians feel comfortable and confident wearing in front of patients and colleagues, who often notice the difference right away. We also offer exquisite custom name, title, and logo embroidery for the ultimate in “professional” presentation. To see the difference for yourself, visit www.medelita.com and try on a lab coat and a set of scrubs at no obligation to you. Or call us at 877.987.7979 to discuss how we can help to reinforce your professional brand set your practice apart.