Branding and marketing is perhaps the least straightforward and probably the most challenging parts about your business. We will first get started in discussing the different factors that go into how you develop your business brand, which sets the core foundation for your business before you can actually market it.
A brand is an intuitive ‘feeling or perception that is invoked in another individual’. We all instinctively know what a brand is, because there are certain products or companies that make you gravitate towards it. And that is what brand is: you sometimes can’t explain it, because it has invoked some emotional component inside of you that draws you to it.
How important is a brand for your private practice?
To some degree, every private practice will need a brand because it is how you are presenting your business to your customer, but here are some scenarios to consider:
SCENARIO 1: If you want to focus around the counseling component in your business and can become an in-network provider through health insurance, then brand may not be a main priority. However, keep in mind that having a brand can help set you apart and give you an edge over other providers that the prospective client may be considering.
SCENARIO 2: If your business will focus on private-pay counseling sessions and/or you want to extend your business towards books and media opportunities, your brand is incredibly important and will be the main driver of your business.
Building a loyal client base is highly dependent on creating a memorable brand in your ideal customer’s minds and relaying that your brand and business is clearly aligned with your potential customer. 80% of consumers indicate authenticity as the most influential factor in their decision to be a converted client of your business, so your brand identity really forms the foundation of your business.
Building your brand identity
An authentic brand is an extension and reflection of your personality to your ideal client, which we first touched upon back in Module 1. The goal is to create a consistent brand identity that will reflect the value you offer without sounding salesy or disingenuous, and without disparaging the competition. Use positivity to highlight why you are their best choice! Tell your story in an authentic way, articulate why you do what you do, and how you are the best one to help them.
Here are the 5 major areas to focus on when you start developing your brand identity:
1. Mission - the goal and agenda of your business, and why it exists. This is something that may change as your business progresses or evolves, and everything that you do should relate to this mission and why you are doing it.
2. Vision - the end-goal destination of what you want your business to become. Think of this as a more long-term perspective of what you want to achieve in the future, and serves as a foundation for your broader goals.
3. Values - Your core principles that guide that way you will do your business. It gets more into how you will achieve your mission and vision, and the way you way you want to deliver your services or business offerings.
Write down statements for each of the following on what brought you in starting or wanting to start your own business.
Click here for more details on how to develop your mission statement.
Click here to learn more on developing a vision statement and how it is different from a mission.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you currently value in yourself and other people?
- What do you think you should or would like to value?
- Are these values aspirational or achievable?
- What are actions and behaviors that support that you embody these values (i.e. the 'how')?
4. Ideal client profile - someone who you love working with, and vice versa, will love working with you. While good health is something that everyone wants to achieve, each person has different motivating factors that play strongly into how you convert them into a paying client. Defining your ideal client profile will help you target a marketing message that brings the right audience to you, and where your best work with a client will happen! Identifying your ideal client profile will also give you a targeted way to determine your most viable marketing channels based on where your ideal clients typically obtain their information and resources.
Ask yourself the following questions to formulate your detailed ideal client profile:
- Is your ideal client male or female?
- What age group?
- What is their income level?
- What are their motivations in life to be better?
- What are the external motivators, triggers, or environment that may be provoking them to think about their health?
- Where and how do they find the information they consume?
- How do they make their purchase decisions?
5. Visual - A major component of your brand identity is aesthetic appeal. This is very much about ‘looking’ the part that you are and how well you can convey your personality in a visual manner, and comes down to your choices in:
- Graphics and Images
- Style and Theme
Using Pinterest is a great way to start putting together a vision board of your brand, compiling all of the things that you love visually. You will start to see a pattern emerge based on what you are pinning, so you get a better understanding of the colors, images, typography, style and mood of your website.
Start the following two Pinterest boards:
- A vision board with food and healthy lifestyles that invoke a mood that you want your clients to feel.
- Search for 'Brand Board' in Pinterest, and pin the type of graphical assets that best match your style (or what you'd like your style to become!)
If you are planning on developing your own brand, it's always a good idea to look at other successful brands and try to understand what has worked for them. Use other successful brands as a jumping point in understanding where YOU are at, while putting your own special touches to make the brand your own.
Another option is to working with branding professionals to help you develop and solidify your brand identity and brand design. For those who are ready to grow your brand’s potential, WellSeek and LR Creative can work together with you and help create a brand that you are proud of.