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Developing a strong brand has a definite place within private practice healthcare.  A lot of practice owners don’t (or don’t want to) acknowledge this, thinking [erroneously] that simply hanging out their shingle and providing good care will keep the practice full.

Guess what?  Everyone provides good care…at least we all say we do.

To develop a following requires a brand, and it doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, dentist, physical therapist, or an auto mechanic.  Like it or not, your “brand” is what comes to mind when your patients are deciding whether or not to come see you for the first, second, and 100th time.

One thing about a brand is that one will find you whether or not you put in the time, money, and effort to craft it yourself.  And depending on who you are and what you create, this can be a good or bad thing.  You might be the doctor with bad breath, the dentist with the rude front office staff, or the physical therapist who is always late for appointments – believe it or not, these brands exist even though we would never choose them.

The process of branding can be likened to the development of our own personal attributes.  Our looks, clothes, personality, achievements, networks, experiences, and anything else that adds to (or detracts from) our appeal to others is basically what constitutes our own “personal brand.”  Now, branding as related to our personal development is only partially in our own control – we can’t control what we look like (well, thanks to the medical field I guess we can), our personalities are inherently difficult to change, and our achievements, networks, and experiences are in part built from the innate attributes that we are born with.

When branding our private practices we have much more freedom to carefully craft a brand position that will appeal to our market, helping to make our practices more successful through broader (or in some cases, very specific) appeal.  It takes time, energy, and often entails a reasonable budget, but is there any doubt that development of the right brand is worth it?

This post from the Branding Strategy Insider talks about the seven concepts critical to positioning your brand in your market.

What seven concepts are critical to positioning?

1. Perception (their’s, not your’s)
2. Differentiation
3. Competition
4. Specialization
5. Simplicity
6. Leadership
7. Reality