Branding. What private practitioners need to know?
Hands up if you’ve taken a google about branding but still feel unsure how it applies to private practice?. You will find lots to read about this topic, in addition branding gets associated with marketing, so the read load triples. Let’s take a minute to consider the main points and how you can incorporate them into your private practice quickly and easily. Yes a branding expert may be in your future, but there is lots you can do in the meantime.
A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. American Marketing Association. Instantly household brands spring to mind, which is exactly the memory you need to be creating with your current and future clients, colleagues and referral partners. What does branding look like in the disability service industry?
The foundation of your brand is your business story, vision, mission all of which hopefully resonate in your logo. This big picture thinking and anchors everything that you do .Being clear on this and being able to articulate this message is a powerful advantage in the market place. It also energizes and focus’s your team and helps deliver powerful services to your clients. Here are a few different aspects and examples of branding.
The language of your brand
How are your business beliefs articulated to your team, referral partners and clients? Yes this implies that you as the business owner have clarity about this. What is your specific organizational vocabulary, are you friendly?, super professional?, conversational?. Most importantly how does this align with contemporary models and language about people with disabilities? For example consider how your beliefs and culture align with person centered practice, social model of disability the Disability Discrimination Act, NDIS principles. It may help to liken this to your company voice. Statements such as ‘we provide treatment to ASD kids’… make me shudder in memory of the medical model. Brand repair right there.
What informs and describes your organizational language?
What standard and specialty service is your private practice know for? What are the values that sit below your services, they may include concepts as integrity, optimism, flexibility, relationships, responsivity, reliability… these beliefs flow down into everything that everybody in the business does. Answering the phone and voicemail messages, email management and e signatures are all examples of customer service branding. Issuing invoices and receipts, booking and accommodating special requests are all examples of your service brand and reputation. Partnering with families to complete evaluations, reports, set goals and program plans. Service branding is implemented by everybody associated with the business including internal team and external consultants.
How are your service standards identified and consistently delivered?
Essentially this is about the visual consistency of all your business information. How do your logo, website, marketing handouts, fact sheets, brochures, report and letter templates, cards, office, uniforms, signs, badges … and so on, all beautifully match and fit together. Do you have a style guide from your graphic designer that specifies your color palate, font, image style to ensure your visual brand is consistent.
How is your style guide implemented across all aspects of your business?
We are all learning and learning to implement business concepts. It can take a while to identify, understand and finally consistently deliver on your brand. Once this settles being true to your brand and being consistent is key.