The importance of healthcare branding and how to get it right

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importance-of-healthcare

Branding is often overlooked when it comes to medical marketing. In fact, it wasn’t always necessary.  However, building a strong brand for your healthcare practice or clinic is essential in today’s competitive healthcare market.

Without branding you are missing out on an opportunity to stand out from your competitors and connect with your patients. But knowing where to apply your efforts is the key to success?

Towards Customer-Centricity

Healthcare providers used to rely on their authority to attract patients. However, due to changes in the market, customer expectations and leaps in technology, medical services have needed to become increasingly customer-centric. Because of this, it is providers who best demonstrate their unique human value as well as their expertise, who are the ones attracting most patients.

And how do they demonstrate it? Through branding.

Brand vs. Branding

It is important to make a distinction between brand and branding.

Your brand is both the personality and the perceived value of your company. It is best described as a promise that tells people who you are and what they can expect from you. It is usually expressed by a series of attributes that connect at an emotional level. BUPA, for example, defines its brand as passionate, caring, authentic, accountable, open, courageous and extraordinary.

Branding on the other hand is the activities you undertake to build this brand perception. It includes not only your visual identity – your logo, website, brochure etc. but also your pricing, your premises and how you interact with your patients. Your brand should shine through in everything you do.

Benefits of Medical Branding

When done effectively, branding can help you:

  • Stand out from your competitors – strong, memorable branding sets you apart
  • Communicate your service offering – it reinforces who you are and what you do
  • Demonstrate credibility – it shows that you are a serious business willing to spend money where it matters
  • Build trust and loyalty – when a patient relates to your brand and knows they will get the same experience every time they interact with you, they are more likely to come back
  • Increase your actual value – people will pay more if they believe in your brand

How to Get it Right

Once you have your brand clearly defined, you can begin branding, or building your brand. But what are the key elements of branding you need to consider?

  • Logo – although it is only a small visual element, your logo can communicate a lot. Getting it right means making it easily recognisable. A professional designer is well worth the investment.
  • Tagline – placed alongside your logo this should clearly but effectively state your unique value.
  • Design scheme – choosing the right colour, type face and layout right can help create the right perception of your practice. For example, if your brand is based on innovation, go for a sleek, minimalist design.
  • Tone of voice – if your brand could speak what would it sound like? Once defined, this should inform all of your written content. The tried-and-tested norm for healthcare is professional but approachable.
  • Images – make sure the images you choose showcase your values. Poor quality images will contradict any effort to establish yourself as a quality brand.
  • Channels – once you have a logo, design, scheme and tone of voice in place, you need to apply it consistently across all your marketing channels e.g. your website, brochures, stationary etc.
  • Delivery – it’s no good claiming to be one thing in your marketing collateral if the reality is different. To be effective, your staff and your practice need to deliver on your brand promise every time a patient comes into contact with your service.

To be effective, your healthcare branding efforts must be being unique, memorable, consistent and consumer-centric. Although it might start with your logo, and a great logo is critical to branding success, your brand must infiltrate everything you do. If what you say is what you deliver, you will gain the trust of your patients – vital in healthcare today.

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