Part One: What Is Really Meant by Branding
First, your wellness plans are what pet owners sign up for, but it is your wellness program that needs to be branded for your practice. Remember, the key is to think about it as a membership program, and as such it should reflect the identity of your practice.
With over 25 years of working with ad agencies, as a brand strategist, I think it is important for a practice to understand why building their brand via their wellness program is so critical for success. When referring to the concept of branding, ask yourself the following questions:
- Veterinary care is the profession you are in, and as a practice you deliver quality care, but what is it that makes your practice different?
- What makes you stand out from the competition?
- What is it that you want your clients and team to take away from working in, visiting and interacting with your practice and team?
In other words, branding is not about a single logo or a campaign, but rather, it is the very essence of what makes your practice different from all the others. It is your culture and your way of doing business and building relationships. It is a guide to your team and allows clients to build a deeper bond. Good branding requires understanding this, defining it and then ensuring it is reflected in all that you do – including your wellness program.
Building Your Brand.
A brand is essentially the personification of your business, and to be successful it needs to be honest, real and represent your promise for the experience all will have when they interact with your team and practice. Swiss psychotherapist Carl G. Jung used the word “Archetype” to refer to the recurring patterns found in our universal stories. He identified the themes, symbols and imagery as part of the human psyche. Meaning that they bring sudden meaning and understanding to every human. Brands are traditionally built from these 12 archetypes, and while a full discussion of these is more than can be covered here, I recommend the following resources:
- Google 12 brand archetypes and you will find all of the information you need to get started defining your brand
- The Hero and the Outlaw by Margaret Mark – this book provides easy, meaningful insight to the 12 archetypes that define brands
Once you can define your brand you can apply it to the elements of your practice, including your wellness program, allowing you to deliver consistent messages to build long-term relationships with your clientele, resulting in them becoming champions of your brand.
Bringing Your Brand to Life Through Your Wellness Program
Your practice’s wellness program is an extension of all that you do, and as such it should communicate your beliefs and provide a brand experience. Consider the following:
- Name your plans to reflect your business personality
- Make sure your plans reflect your ultimate standard of care
- Provide optional services or “extras” that fit the plan and are important to your brand
- Make it a natural discussion – everyone on the team needs to be able to express the “why” of your wellness program in a way that meets your brand promise
- Marketing materials should always consistently reflect your brand and be easily recognizable
- Make it part of your culture
Now that you are on the road to building a consistent brand, next week’s post, Part Two of this series will provide tips for marketing your wellness plan program.