Your Brand: What Is That?
By Angie Patrick
Your Brand: What Is That?
By Angie Patrick
Well, a "brand" is something you see or hear that automatically puts you in mind of what the brand represents. For instance, if you say "Porsche", you instantly think of luxurious, indulgent, super-fast cars. When you hear "Band-Aid" you immediately think of wound care and healing. And if someone mentions M&M's, it is likely you have a Pavlov's response to salivate at the mere mention of those two letters in conjunction with one another. So in a nutshell, the brand is the thing that is the embodiment of the image and emotion you wish to convey.
So, how does this apply to you? It is certainly easy to think that there would be no need to work to brand yourself as you are a practicing therapist, health care professional, and wellness coach. How do you brand a thing like that? Why would you brand a thing like that? But consider this: by building community awareness for You, Your Practice, Your Talent, Your Care, and Your Professionalism, you are indeed building your brand.
People Purchase Emotion
People make buying decisions based on emotion; pure and simple. They decide on the car they drive based on the emotion it provides, be it exclusivity, frugalness, energy efficiency, or style. They decide on the soap they use based on how the soap makes them feel, first in packaging and second in usage. They decide on which doctor they wish to see based on referral, and then stay with them based on a confidence they feel in the doctor's ability to fulfill their health care needs.
Presentation and Image
The same is true for you. It all begins in how you present yourself within your community. Let's say you are working a charity event and you are networking and providing a free 5-minute chair massage as a sample of your talent in return for a lead. The manners in which you handle yourself, present yourself, treat your client, and follow through with your leads differentiate you from others. You may have a catchy name for your practice, or maybe you just go by, "Insert Your Name Here", LMT. In either case, you want the end user (your client) to have an immediate feeling of confidence, calm, and overall assuredness in your ability to care for their needs.
Your branding is something that can help you stand out among your peer group. For instance, your appearance is the first thing people will notice about you when you are seen in the community representing your practice. Consider wearing clothing appropriate for the field you represent. Ratty jeans and a tank top, while perhaps cute, may not represent the level of professionalism you are hoping to convey. Consider the attire as part of your branding. A polo or dress shirt with your name embroidered on it, and business cards with the same font and logo work in tandem to present a two-fold presentation of professionalism.
Value and Experience
Whether or not you like it, anything for which people pay money in exchange - is a commodity. People want the best value for the money they spend. Additionally, people want to know what they are paying for is worth the money they spend, so price point is not always the deciding factor.
For many therapists, pricing below your main market competitors is the whole marketing strategy. And while there is some appeal in this whole approach, it can have an adverse reaction by making your service seem less than up to par with your competitors. Be careful if you are depending too much upon this marketing philosophy.
Make a Lasting Impression
Another way to set yourself apart from the rest is to make follow-up calls or e-mails to check on your client on the day after their visit. A therapist, who shows genuine concern for the client by taking the time to either personally call or have one of the staff call to check on the well-being and overall feelings of the client 24 hours after a massage - is service no one expects; and it can certainly go a very long way towards making the kind of impression and emotion you want your clients to have about you. Simply put, you want them to know you care about them. They want to feel as if they matter to you as a person, and they are not cattle herded through an office for the sake of driving revenue. Again, it is a shining example of how it is emotion that keeps people loyal to a brand.
Branding is not something relegated to the bigger retailers and service providers; it is something that pertains to each an every therapist who receives payment for the therapy they provide. It boils down to the proper perception first, then you give them a dose of your talent and they are yours! All of it can be summed up in just a few words. "People want to feel good, they come to you to feel better, and your service can make them confident they have chosen the best therapist for their needs."