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This Week’s Question:
Do I Need to “Brand” Me? [Part 1 of 3]
I get many calls from the sales representatives for my local TV and radio stations, magazines and even billboard companies that tell me I need to “increase my Branding and Name Recognition” by advertising with them. The contracts are for a year and they can run hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. They show me their charts of how big their audiences are and the demographics but I’m not sure I’ll see enough results to justify the expense.
I’m tempted to do it to get my name out there. I feel like I would be a lot busier if more people knew I was here. But, on the other hand, it’s a lot of money.
What do you think about branding a cosmetic practice? Do I need to brand me?
Hello Dr. F,
Wow, that’s a great question because most plastic surgeons face this in their career. It requires a multi-faceted answer, so in this blog post I’ll just address Branding.
So, the real question is, “Is it Smart to Invest in “Name Recognition and Branding”?
Let’s start with what a making of a Brand is. It’s to make prospective patients feel a certain way about you and your services. Branding is a multi-billion dollar industry that caters to the big guys like Mercedes, Apple and McDonalds. It also covers all socio-economic groups from the highest-priced (luxury) to the lowest priced (cheap).
The point of Branding is to:
- Produce clever, funny, and entertaining advertising like the ads below (I’m apparently NOT their target market since I don’t understand any of these).
- Spend a small fortune on media placement so the ads are pretty much everywhere.
- Hope that people react positively to them and buy.
Here’s Mercedes, Apple and McDonalds Branding Ads:
For our industry specifically, here’s a “Branding” ad
for a Hong Kong cosmetic surgery center:
The ad caption says, “The only thing you should worry about is how to explain it to your children”.
My problem with this brand ad is that it’s so subtle, you have to read/think/study it to figure out they are referring to cosmetic surgery!
And, here’s another problem: Branding ads like these NEVER have a measurable call to action so there is no way to measure your return on investment.
Let’s be realistic. It will save you time, money and effort…Mercedes, Apple and McDonalds spend millions of dollars per year on their Brands to be household names.
Do you, as a plastic surgeon, NEED to be a household name and a “Brand”?
Does EVERYONE need to know you or just those who are interested in cosmetic surgery?
How much is it worth to you to see your name in lights and have people say, “Hey, you look familiar”? (Be honest. If that’s what you want, that’s fine, but it will cost you).
Your brand defines what you stand for. It’s your values. It’s the combination of the emotions you evoke so prospective patients FEEL safe AND TRUST YOU. Branding is that additional factor that helps prospective patients choose YOU over your competitors.
I suggest you concentrate your Branding efforts on the following:
- 5-Star Patient reviews
- Mobile-Friendly Website design that is easy to navigate
- Fantastic receptionist who knows how to bond with callers
- Rock Star Staff who treats your patients like family
- A patient experience that is better than the one they get with your competitors
THEN, put effort into PR activities, celebrity endorsements and likes/shares so you are perceived as a bigger player than most.
In next week’s post, “Direct-Response Marketing [Part 2 of 3], we are going to talk about the OPPOSITE of Branding, which is direct-response marketing.