Branding your practise

In order to make your physiotherapy practice the number one choice with patients, you must create a brand for your practice. The two main benefits of a brand are that they ensure that previous patients will know what to expect and that potential patients will have an idea of what to expect.

Many people think that brands are only for large companies but this is a myth. A brand will ensure that your practice will be recognised and will stand out from competitors.

In order to create a brand for your practice you need to understand what your patients want and how you can help to deliver the services which will ensure that they get what they want. Every aspect of your service will have to be consistent especially when it comes to contact with patients such as letters, faxes, emails and phone calls. These will all have to have similar styles and designs.

Step by step process to creating a brand

If you want a successful brand, you will have to market your strengths. You need to focus on your best attributes and the beliefs of your business. For example:

  • particular skills - such as a speciality in an area
  • high-quality customer service
  • Ensuring that you are offering a service which provides value for money.

You need to be sure that you can always deliver your strengths, sometimes referred to as "brand values".

What do your patients want?

You will need to associate your brand values with the requirements of your patients.

What will ensure that your patents will choose your services? Do not assume that this will be entirely based on the price or the performance.

Speak to some of your current patients and find out what they like about your practice. You can develop your brand if you have information from existing patients regarding what would make them choose a particular physiotherapist.

Matching your brand values to the things that potential patients would be looking for and to what existing patients like, will mean that you will have begun to create a powerful brand which will work for your practice. You now need to build it up.

If your brand values do not match your customer requirements then you will have to rethink the services you are offering or you will have to try targeting the correct patients.

Creating your brand

Once you have established what your brand values are and that they match with your customer requirements, you can go about developing your brand. To do this you will need to be constantly communicating your brand values. You will need to ensure that you emphasize these brand values every time you have contact with an existing patient or a potential patient.

Key areas to consider are:

  • your business name
  • names you give your products or services
  • any slogan you use
  • your logo
  • the style and quality of your stationery
  • product packaging
  • your premises
  • where and how you advertise
  • how you and your employees dress
  • how you and your employees behave
  • your website

If all these are consistently in line with your brand values, your brand will be strengthened. But if all of them aren't in line, your brand (and your business) could be seriously damaged. A brand makes promises to customers and if they aren't fulfilled, your customers will be far less likely to use you again.

Top ten branding tips

In order to create a successful brand you will have to:

  • Think about what your practice can provide for its patients. If your brand is not delivering what patients require then it is not doing its job properly
  • Own your brand. You must decide what you want your brand to mean to patients while still paying attention to the needs of patients.
  • Be honest. If you don't believe in your brand, no one else will.
  • Keep your brand simple. Focus on a small number of key brand values.
  • Ensure consistency. You should ensure that patients associate every aspect of the practice in the same manner. This should be something which makes them feel the same way about your practice.
  • Be thorough. Look at all your systems to make sure they help to support your brand.
  • Involve employees. Make sure they understand your brand and believe in it.
  • Encourage your brand. Reinforce your message in every letter, advertisement and brochure that you use. Put your logo on every aspect on communication if you have one.
  • Meet and exceed what your brand promises. Failing just once, will damage your brand.
  • Look after your brand. Make every effort to ensure that it goes from strength to strength. Make improvements where necessary so that it continues to work for your practice.