Your Company Brand

1 Jun

A company’s brand is among its most valuable assets. A strong brand — one known for providing quality products, services and solutions that add value — is essential for your company’s ongoing growth and success.

Many practices do very little to incorporate their brand assets as a prominent component in ALL of their business efforts. Why? Because small business owners often don’t have a brand strategy or believe it can be accomplished on a modest budget. Branding is part of everything you do. The first thing the public (your potential patients) hears or knows about your business is the name of the practice.

What’s in a Brand?

A company’s brand is how it’s perceived by customers, competitors and others outside the company. A well-respected brand with a strong recognition in the marketplace may be the most valuable asset your company owns and is one of the intangible assets that must be managed actively.

Branding is a phenomenon once confined to consumer products. However, branding has gained prevalence as an important factor in services and professional markets too. It is certain to become an increasingly important factor as practices seek ways to differentiate themselves. Are you a “me too” practice, or a unique entity ready to separate yourself from the competition?

Branding Begins at the Front Office

Since branding is all about perception and reputation, the most influential area for the success of your branding approach is right there in front of you each day. The front office staff, be it a receptionist, an office assistant, or any other person engaging with your patients [read: customers] to set appointments, answer calls, greet arrivals, thank exiting patients, or whatever – they are your “brand ambassadors” and must reflect your ideal image consistently. Then there’s marketing and advertising…

Marketing is not Branding (and Branding is not Marketing)

Investing a few thousand dollars into a direct mail program that doesn’t cause people to respond isn’t responsible marketing. Marketing involves an offer, to a select group of targeted individuals, with a specific call to action, and a deadline. In short, marketing is response driven and measurable. Advertising can be marketing, if it includes the key components (offer, call to action, deadline) or it can be purely to create awareness or impart an image – these are branding ads.

Different objectives, different results. Marketing efforts create current opportunities. Branding efforts create a lasting impression. So, the question is: Can marketing also deliver branding?  Yes, and no. To do both equally serves no one well, you need a strategy and a clear understanding of your goals. Creating good marketing that reinforces the brand (not leads with it) is the best solution.  It takes a steady approach to create, and a firm resolve to implement.  And, the results take time to develop through repetition and exposure.

How Do You Get Started?

This is where AHAA’s in-house creative services organization’s writers and graphic designers can add value to your business. We know the industry and we know the methods that have generated tried and true results. Working together we can help you define and build your brand while we generate patient opportunities for your practice.

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