:dropcap_open:W:dropcap_close:hether you are opening a new practice, buying an existing practice, or just working every day to grow, getting new patients and keeping them is a daunting task. Competition is around every corner and simply advertising exceptional chiropractic care isn’t enough anymore. Practice differentiation is the key.
There are a variety of ways to differentiate your practice. Everything has been tried, including trying to choose the perfect location, offering different services, revising clinic layouts, and dress codes or uniforms for staff. However, branding and marketing are two very essential ways to stand out from the competition that every chiropractic practice should consider in order to be successful in today’s competitive, driven market.
Your brand should do two things very well: tell members of the community who you are and why they should come to you instead of the doctor down the street. Well-developed branding does this by using a combination of elements including your name, tagline, color palette, logo, and even the font you use to create your logo/name. By combining these elements in a properly designed way, you can develop your brand to set your clinic apart and tell the community how you are different and why that is important for them.
A really good example of this type of educational branding is Dr. Renée Stauffacher with intūn ChiroCare in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. When developing her brand, Dr. Stauffacher wanted to emphasize how she examines, evaluates, and treats each patient very individually. She felt that it was her personalized, individual attention that really set her apart. Dr. Stauffacher developed the tagline “Our Focus is You” to go with the stylized name intūn ChiroCare. She chose a soft, inviting color palette and the layouts of her website and printed materials were written clearly and exude warmth. All of these elements were intentionally developed to create a brand that puts the focus directly back on the patient and not on the doctor. Her brand does exactly what it is supposed to do—it tells her community why it should choose her clinic.
It should go without saying, but I will say it here anyway, any value or trait you personify in your brand has to be genuine. It truly has to be part of who you are and what you offer. If it is simply something you aspire to be and yet never achieve, the brand will become a negative throughout your community.
A well-developed brand identity takes time to establish in an area. Be patient and consistent in your marketing and community touch points. Typically it can take from 5 to10 years of repeated, consistent, well-branded messages for a brand identity to become a recognized community icon. However, once the brand has taken root, it becomes a valuable asset when the time comes to sell the practice. Branding should always be part of your long-term business strategy.
Look at just about every chiropractic website out there and you will find nearly universal elements: a section on chiropractic care, a “we offer” message, and a well-written doctor bio. Unfortunately, these things don’t really help differentiate you from of the clinic down the street or provide potential patients with a reason to come to your clinic.
Instead, you need to offer services that go beyond what every other doctor offers and then let the public know why they need those services.
:dropcap_open:Dr. Olson presents his services to seniors and packages it just for them.:quoteleft_close:
Let’s take for example Dr. Leif Olson of Active ChiroCare in Lincoln, Nebraska. Dr. Olson went through all of the branding processes mentioned earlier and then decided to move to a new location. The brand identity that he developed was all about activity, movement, and getting active. So when he changed locations, he invested in some new equipment that allows him to offer additional services that improve core strength and balance as well as treat osteoporosis and other bone issues.
Now instead of being limited to promoting his practice as just another chiropractic office, he is able to package his services as something more. This has allowed him to appear on local morning television shows as an expert in natural ways to treat bone health issues. His practice went from being one of several chiropractic offices in the area to being one of Lincoln’s only bone health specialty treatment facilities.
Dr. Olson presents his services to seniors and packages it just for them. He discusses how to prevent falls, be stronger, and be more active—exactly what his brand is all about. He has given residents in Lincoln a reason to come to his clinic instead of anyone else’s.
You Can Differentiate Too
Take a look at your brand and how you present your services to the public. As the healthcare market changes, so does the landscape for marketing. Being able to differentiate your practice and give prospective new patients a reason to come to you is key. If you don’t take the steps to stay ahead, your practice will be left behind.
David Pritt is the owner of ZUZUGroup Branding and Design and Director of New Center Development for BStrong4Life®. He can be reached at [email protected]