D.A.R.E. to Be Your Own ‘Brand’

I know. I get it.

Advocating the concept of ‘branding’ to someone trained to be a health care professional is not a comfortable discussion.

Doctors are loathe to think of themselves in terms of a ‘brand.’ Many view the idea of ‘marketing’ as inconsistent with what they stand for and are trying to achieve with their patients in providing the best clinical and expert care possible.

Today’s competitive climate, though, requires a new orientation, an attitude adjustment, if you will, among anyone delivering a service or a professional recommendation to a patient and consumer. And that’s because the business and healthcare worlds today are colliding, more than ever before. Consumers are researching and exploring their health care options and are making judgments based on what they see, hear or are recommended. The explosion of information via the web has made that process easier. New healthcare delivery systems and communications are also influencing patient knowledge and consumers’ confidence in the professionals with whom they are interacting.

If one were to examine what a ‘brand’ means, one would find synonyms ranging from ‘logo’ and ‘mark’ to ‘character’ and ‘emblem’ and ‘hallmark.’ A brand is something that defines something or someone. It’s an association that characterizes, denotes quality, defines and distinguishes a service.

When you think of it that way, is it still inconsistent for a doctor/eyecare professional to view ‘branding’ his or her services and expertise as something to avoid?

As you read through the varied examples of optical professionals and eyecare offices who are singled out for imaginative presentation, communication, design and image in VM’s 3rd Annual Dispensing and Retail Excellence (D.A.R.E.) Awards, think of what their message is in their local markets and to the patients they serve. All convey professionalism, excitement and a distinctive approach that sets them apart. ■