Doctors, dentists, and healthcare specialists are always looking for ways to bring in new patients. In order to get the best referrals and have a strong web presence, having a deep understanding of the wants and needs of your patients is crucial. By doing the foundation work to craft the appropriate message, you can create the perfect experience that speaks directly to your patients. Are you a cosmetic dentist offering a spa-like experience? An orthopedic surgeon that works exclusively with elite athletes? A pediatrician providing a fun, approachable environment for children and parents?
That’s where Brand Discovery comes in. Before we begin designing the visual elements for your practice, we help develop brand strategy to build the foundation for your brand. Your brand is more than just your logo, it’s a cumulative collection of patient experiences: the services you provide, your reputation, how your staff interacts with patients, what the interior space looks like, and your website, to name a few. When all of these puzzle pieces fit together cohesively, you have a healthy brand. However, when it’s not perceived correctly, you may lose or confuse your target audience (or get the dreaded bad Yelp review!).
There are several customer touch points to consider for healthcare branding. All aspects of your brand should have the same look and feel, so paying close attention to the ways in which your medical practice interacts with your patients is crucial to a cohesive, healthy brand.
A physician referral is often based on a positive relationship between offices and recognition for being a leader in a particular field. Friends and family recommend doctors to one another based on their own experiences or what they’ve heard from others. As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explains, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” If you claim that your patient wait time is minimal, but past patients spread the word on review sites that your waiting rooms are always crowded, there’s a disconnect between messaging and perception."
Before they even meet you and your team, patients develop an expectation based on the reputation of your medical office. It's important to establish a positive, consistent, trusted experience with your patients to keep them coming back for years to come.
Having a web presence has become the standard in the medical industry and sets the tone for the rest of the patient experience. The first impression is a crucial step to building trust with your potential patient. After being referred to a physician, the first thing a potential patient will do is look online for reviews or look your website directly to learn about your practice. What does your website design look like? Is it fully functional, easy to navigate and mobile-friendly? If the website is buggy with outdated technology, it may give off the impression that your practice is outdated too. With many doctors and specialists to choose from, a bad looking website can instantly turn away patients, regardless of a physician's skills and expertise. A professional, well-designed website is a reflection of your services and helps to build credibility and trust with your patients.
Medical websites should be informational, but that doesn't mean they have to be dry and boring. Your brand (and physician) personality should be reflected in the website design and messaging. All healthcare websites should not look alike, as different practices serve different audiences and patients. Many medical websites contain several pages of text and jargon that can be distracting and overwhelming. A clean site written in the proper voice will allow potential patients to gather the most important information quickly and efficiently. They want to know who you are, what you do, where you're located and how to contact you.
During Brand Discovery, you'll learn about your target patients to better understand what they want and need from your website. In addition to a basic overview of your services and contact information, your site can have additional pages, such as a blog to provided more detailed resources. This will help with SEO, as well as establish credibility and expertise in your field of medicine.
The Office Visit
Your interior space is a crucial element to the patient experience and should be a reflection of your brand. Your mission, vision and promise to your patients should be incorporated throughout the office space. For example, a medical marijuana dispensary that promotes natural healing might have visuals in the waiting room that depict elements of nature, health and wellness. If you promote your practice as having the newest technology and equipment, your waiting and patient rooms should be clean and modern. Perhaps you sign in with an iPad instead of a clipboard! Is the reading material provided for waiting patients relevant to their interests? Are there fun activity books for children waiting to have their teeth cleaned or the fist time?
Visiting a new doctor’s office for the first time can be intimidating. How are your patients greeted upon arrival? Is your office warm and inviting? Is your staff friendly and personable? If you’re in a large building with multiple offices, do you have appropriate signage? It’s important for your customers to feel comfortable from the moment they walk in the door.
Your patients will receive communication from your office in various forms: e-mailed notifications, appointment reminders, postcards, newsletters, etc. It's likely these communication pieces contain important or time-sensitive information, so they must be easily recognizable. Is your logo present? Is the messaging clear and consistent with the brand voice?It's important for all of these pieces to have a consistent look and feel. The more attention paid to these smaller details, the better (and more consistent) the patient experience.
When it comes to promotional giveaways, healthcare offices can go above and beyond with branded material. This doesn’t necessarily mean sticky notes, pens and stress balls, rather items particular to your practice or specialty that coincides with your branded patient experience. If you’re a dentist, spend a little extra to brand the bag that contains the toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste.Dermatologists can give away samples of sunscreen or chapstick with their logo or contact information to promote summertime skin safety. A plastic surgeon or ophthalmologist might send patients home with a branded hat or visor after surgery. There are many ways to make your patients feel special with “freebies” that are unique to your practice.
Like any industry, doctors, dentists and other healthcare specialists need to have strong, well-designed brands that differentiates you from competitors and caters to the needs of your patients. After doing the necessary foundation work, you can better understand the experience your patients want and expect from their healthcare provider. Then, you can design the visual elements of your brand that will build patient trust and loyalty for years to come!