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Branding your practice

Every business needs some form of identity, and establishing a brand is an essential part of ensuring that your business is essential. When it comes to physiotherapists and private practice, you may be thinking that branding is something for 'corporate outfits' and insurance companies, but the truth is that you can benefit substantially from the benefits that are available.

The fact is that brands are useful for three main reasons: The first is they give your customers something to remember your business buy. Secondly, branding gives you the opportunity to express your professionalism, and thirdly a brand lets you give customers an idea of what kind of services they can receive.

Why create a brand for your physiotherapy practice?

Even home-based physiotherapists can benefit from a bit of branding. The most basic form of branding is with the creation of a logo and actually using it. By ensuring your logo is prominently displayed everywhere, you're already using some elements of branding.

To take things one step further, it's important to take a look at the services you deliver and incorporate this into your company image. The secret to branding is consistency. By ensuring that your service offerings are included in your company brand, you ensure that every time your patients encounter your service, they know what you can do, and how you can do it.

Developing your practice's brand

A good brand identity is all about showing customers your practices strengths. It's always good to take a look at what your specialties and asking the question, "Why should people choose me over xxx." If you can answer the following questions, you're off to a good start.
  • Who are you?
  • What do you offer?
  • What makes you different?
  • Why am I going to choose you?
Essentially, your brand reflects your skills, your experience and the fact that you're service offerings are more professional than the competition. Your brand includes price points, product offerings and how you deliver your service.

Looking at patients needs

Identifying what patients want is an essential step towards creating your brand and by looking at your target market; you can build a practice that's successful. By matching your patient's needs with your brand values or strengths, you start to build a successful brand.

The best way to go around looking at patients needs is to ask them directly! Feedback is a great way to help develop a brand and it helps you know why people choose you. Is it because you're gentler, you're more affordable or that you simply have a more professional manner? Find out and build on it.

Incorporating it in your brand

When you know what you want to offer and what your patients' are looking for, you can start to build a solid brand that represents your values and strengths. Branding incorporates the following ideas:
  • Your company name
  • Your tagline / slogan
  • Product offerings
  • Your logo
  • Stationary, product packaging
  • Where your clinic is located
  • How you market and promote your practice
  • What sort of behavior, standard procedures you use
  • Website design
All of these elements of branding must fall in line with your practices brand and image as otherwise your brand will fail and when customers visit your practice expecting one thing, they'll only be confused when you offer something completely different.

10 Tips for branding
  1. Look at how your practice helps your patients.
  2. Protect your brand. The brand is yours, so ensure that what you offer is in line with your brand image.
  3. Don't overcomplicate things. Your brand is meant to be easy to understand and easy to achieve. Don't try to offer the world. Focus on a few key strengths.
  4. Don't neglect your brand. If you've spent the time to design a brand, don't forget to be consistent and thorough. Your brand needs to be uniformly available throughout your practice.
  5. Brand integrity is critical. You need to respect and believe in you brand too!
  6. Educate staff members. Be sure everyone understands what your brand offers and that they know how to deliver their service
  7. Use your brand. Your brand is no good if no-one knows about it! Ensure it's on stationary, publications and any promotional material.
  8. Market your brand. Choose how you market your brand carefully as the wrong type of marketing could only do damage to your brand.
  9. Exceed customers' expectations. Exceed what you offer and ensure that no matter what you always over deliver. Failure to meet your brand will damage your brand's reputation
  10. Be proud of your brand. Above all, be proud of what your brand and your physiotherapy practice represents!

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