When you think branding, you may think of a trademark, logo or a symbol. Good branding should evoke some type of emotion, and create customer loyalty.
"Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business."
"If your business is not a brand, it is a commodity."
"A brand is a story that is always being told."
However, it is much more difficult to create a brand for a medical optometry practice as opposed to coffee or an electronic device. It’s a challenge to build excitement and loyalty into visiting a clinical facility and seeing a doctor. Most people simply don't get excited about eye exams! But that doesn't mean that building excitement and brand recognition into your practice is impossible. Far from it! Read on for tips on distinguishing your optometry practice through your clinic name, logo, mission, and more.
1. Your optometry practice name
A good optometry practice name says everything about who you are and what you do. You want and need your practice name to be recognizable. In a world of general optometry “eyecare" practices, how is your brand distinct, while still communicating its purpose?
I picked my optometry practice's name because of the fun pun of “4 Eyes” and “For Eyes." This humorous tone plays to young professionals, who are a common demographic in my area.
I also wanted my practice name to allude to optical because of our emphasis, and to be easy to remember.
The result? I hear daily that we were picked because of our practice's fun and creative name.
2. A shared mission
As doctors, we all share the same simple mission, to provide vision to our patients.
Consider the other missions of your practice.
Your goal is to attract patients who share that mission, and reiterate it during their visit.
For example, our goal is to provide unique eyewear to our patients.
When a new patient calls to schedule an appointment, when we ask them if they are in the market for new glasses, even if they say no, we dive into what we have to offer.
“Have you seen our website? We are an optical boutique, you will find unique frames here that can’t be found anywhere else in North or South Carolina.”
As soon as they enter, we share stories about our eyewear brands.
We want them to understand why we pick the eyewear we do, and share in our mission whether it be family owned small business or social “do-good” companies.
If your emphasis is contact lenses, from the initial phone call through the work-up process, you want your staff’s conversations centered on how your practice specializes in contact lenses.
It should then go unsaid that you must fit them in something unique that their friends have never heard of!
3. Personal connection with patients
Today’s patient is most likely to go where their insurance tells them unless you can clearly articulate how your optometry practice is different, and deliver.
As doctors, we must connect. Our staff must connect as well.
I won't admit to having the best memory, but 2.5 years into my business, I can pretty much remember each patient by the frame they selected. I think of my patients more as extended family.
This is the most difficult, but perhaps the most important aspect of branding.
It can be actively used to further your branding, your mission, and patient loyalty daily.
I believe a lot of practices miss the mark here.
While it's easier to post from secondary sources, you want to actively engage with your patient base.
What do patients find the most exciting about visiting your practice? Those are the things you want to emphasize with your social media strategy.
For my practice, I find that patients actively connect with photos of patients with new glasses, photos of new eyewear, and pop culture references.
I've recently "launched" my own branding effort to promote the hashtag, "#hey4eyes."
My ultimate goal is for that phrase to be recognizable in Charlotte and with our practice. So get a hashtag, promote it with your patients, and form a community.
As is the norm for our generation, I like technology.
I never leave my patients in the same brand of lenses 2 years in a row.
My patients that I've seen three times now will ask, "What's new this year in contacts?"
It is the same thing with spectacle lenses, I try to continually upgrade.
Anti-fatigue lenses...Eyezen...the newest in progressives...blue light technology...I want patients to see the value in coming in yearly.
Somewhere out there, doctors are still prescribing Acuvue 2, I seek to wow those patients with a 2015 update!