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How much thought have you given to your veterinary brand?

Posted in Operations @ Jul 14th 2016 - By Judy Gillespie, Vetanswers
How Much Thought Have Yyou Given To Your Veterinary Practice Brand

How much time and thought has gone into your veterinary practice brand?

Your brand is not your logo.  It is not the services and products that you offer, nor is it your marketing campaign.  

“Your brand is the unique personality of your practice, your employees and you.

Your brand is what you stand for and what you represent.  It is the enduring image that your clients carry with them after they leave your hospital or clinic.” (First Build your Veterinary Hospital’s Brand)

What do you stand for?

It’s important for you to understand exactly what it is that you want your practice to stand for as your overall brand needs to match the ‘personality’ of your practice. You don’t want a brand that looks slick and ultra modern if your practice has a more conservative, traditional personality.  Before you even think of talking to a graphic designer you need to not only understand the personality or brand of your business, you need to be able to put it into words.  

There are many reasons why it’s so important for you to understand and develop a strong brand for your practice. 

Your brand is your unspoken promise to your clients. 

A strong brand for your business sends out a consistent message which in turn creates trust in the minds of your clients.  It also creates authenticity.  As consumers we’ve all become very smart and can pick a phony a mile away.  The amount of time spent online has developed very sophisticated and educated consumers who may be impressed by your beautifully designed brochure but the minute they see your dodgy, old fashioned website (or worse – NO website at all!) they will immediately feel a disconnect and assume you’re not what you were saying you were in the beautiful brochure.  The trust starts to disappear...

What are your clients really judging you on?

Your clients are unlikely to be qualified to make judgements about your skills regarding surgery or veterinary medicine but they will make unconscious decisions about the quality of what you offer based on what they can see – your website, marketing material, Facebook Page, your staff, your Practice.  All of these, and more, make up the brand of your practice.

Your brand creates an impression that signals who you are, what you think is important and who you want as clients.

Your brand indicates your strategic positioning, makes you stand out from your competitors and, as we’ve already mentioned, it must be evident in everything you do including:

  • The look of your business;
  • Your signage;
  • Your logo;
  • Staff presentation;
  • Every piece of marketing material,
  • Your online presence including your Facebook Page, Instagram, Twitter and of course your website;
  • The way you answer the phone;
  • Your newsletter & emails;
  • EVERYTHING!

Never really thought about your 'Brand'? Then it's time to start!

If the ‘brand’ of your business is not an area you’ve ever considered or even really wanted to think about, now is the time to start.  And the place to start is by looking at your business objectively.  Ask your team what they think the business stands for and even better; ask your clients what your practice represents to them.  The answers may surprise, please or confront you – but at least now you know.

Makes your veterinry practice different from your competitors?

One of the most important parts of determining your brand is to work out how your practice is different from the competition.  You need to work out exactly why should Mrs Jones bring Fluffy to your practice rather than go up the road to your competitor?  As a client, listing your services and fabulous equipment is not really the first thing I want to know about your practice.  What I really want to know is how are you going to make my life and the life of my pet better? 

Your brand includes EVERYTHING!

The brand of your practice includes everything people can see and this means you need to consider the complete package and decide on all the other aspects that will best illustrate your brand, including:

Your logo

Your logo must be unique, compelling, professional & memorable.

The colours you use

Ther colours you choose are crucial for expressing the tone of your practice & should appear everywhere including your logo, website, brochure & all marketing material;

Fonts

The type and style of fonet used in your logo, website & all marketing materials – formal? Relaxed? Modern? Traditional?

Images

What pictures are used on your website and marketing materials?  Where will you get them from? Professionally taken images stand out, are exclusive and definitely worth the cost.  A few excellent images can be repeated throughout all  of your marketing. Another Vetanswers blog post you might find useful is: Tips for working with a photographer to get the best images for your veterinary practice.

Words

What language and style will you use in all of your marketing? Formal? Chatty? Relaxed? 

Think you might need some help putting together your brand?

If marketing is not your strong suit and you would really rather be doing something else, this is where a good marketing or graphic design company can help by coming up with logo designs, colours, fonts and images that will suit the vision you have for your business.  But it has to start with you - as only you can decide what the unique ‘personality’ is of your business. 

A strong, consistent brand can become your biggest business asset. 

But like everything in your business it takes time, effort and thought to build.  

Tell us in the comments section below what challenges you have faced with your veterinary business brand.  Or is that actually your challenge - working out what IS your business brand?

A version of this post was first published 18.9.12

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