Products, unlike services, can be seen, touched, and sampled. People can experience at least a bit of them. But services, like speaking, training, coaching and doctoring, don’t exist at all until they’ve been delivered, received and experienced by someone. In other words, they only exist in the context of your relationships with people. At least initially, your service is intangible and not yet experienced. The only way it can be experienced is if someone decides to come to you and try you out. At best, all you can offer are promises and uncertainty.
So it useful to think of your brand as a promise to your prospective patients, clients and customers, and to the larger community of currently disinterested but potentially one-day interested, that answers the question, “Why should I choose you?” And whether stated outright (“Insanely Great Products”) or implied, as my brand does it (“The Art of Change Skills For Life: Discover how YOU make the difference”), it is important to consider what experience you want to promise people who may consider doing business with you.
Some people have trouble wrapping their minds around the importance and purpose of branding and then marketing that brand. (Docs! I’m looking at you!) In the case of natural medicine physicians, branding is simply not a medical concern, and therefore may escape attention. And more often than not, branding seems as if it has nothing to do with why you’re in business in the first place (In the case of natural medicine doctors, to actually help sick people restore their health, and healthy people maintain their health.)
But whether we like it or not, such non-medical concerns can not only have a huge impact on your economic bottom line, but also on how well you can care for your patients. And simply clarifying these things for yourself can change how you think of yourself in a powerful way, and empower you to successfully represent yourself to others.
A brand helps consumers understand the answers to their main questions regarding you. Why should I choose you? What sets you apart? What are you known for? What do you want me to know you for? Answer these questions, and then reduce the answers to simple and meaningful phrases or ideas, said in common language, and you’ll have your brand. Then it’s a simple matter of picking out fonts and colors and getting a graphic illustration of that idea in the form of a logo.
Next time, I’ll have some things to share on the marketing of your brand. I’d love to hear your comments, experiences and feedback below.