What is your veterinary brand and why is it so important to the success of your business?
The first question is of course, what exactly IS your veterinary practice brand?
Your brand is not your logo. It’s 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’s the enduring image that your clients carry with them after they leave your clinic.
To have a solid, consistent brand, you need to understand exactly what it is that you want your practice to stand for and then ensure the look and feel of your practice, uniforms, website, social media accounts and all marketing materials match the ‘personality’ of your practice. You don’t want a website that looks slick and ultra-modern if your practice has a more conservative, traditional personality.
Why having a strong brand is important
Apart from your website, there are other 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…
Your clients don’t know anything about your veterinary skills
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 materials, social media, your staff, and the way your Practice looks and feels. 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. It indicates your strategic positioning, makes you stand out from your competitors and 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 website,
- Your social media accounts,
- The way you answer the phone;
- Your newsletter & emails;
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.
What makes you different? Better?
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?
What does your brand include?
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 – It must be unique, compelling, professional & memorable
- The colours you use – these are crucial for expressing the tone of your practice & should appear everywhere including your logo, website, brochure & all marketing material;
- Fonts used in your logo, website & all marketing materials – formal? Relaxed? Modern? Traditional?;
- Images – what pictures will you use? 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;
- Words – what language and style will you use in all of your marketing? Formal? Chatty? Relaxed?
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?