Developing a strong brand - Veterinary Practice
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Developing a strong brand

A step-by-step guide to undertaking the branding process for your practice

Welcome to a new series of articles breaking down the essentials of marketing your veterinary practice, guiding you through some of the key moves to creating a successful clinic marketing strategy in easy, actionable steps.

By following each article in this series and executing the main ideas, you will have a strong plan in place to attract new clients and grow your business. Now is a great time to make the commitment to take control of your marketing and take your business to the next level.

Where do I start?

When it comes to marketing, many veterinary clinics embark on marketing promotions without taking the time to do the vital first step – clearly defining their brand.

Starting with a clear brand strategy helps you to stay focused on your mission and vision as an organisation. When you then go on to develop your yearly marketing plan, the brand you’ve created will serve as a guideline to deciding key business objectives and will enable you to align the marketing plan with those objectives.

Your brand goes way beyond just a logo or poster. In effect, your brand is how your customers perceive you. When you look at this broad definition of branding, it can be a bit overwhelming to think about what is involved in creating and managing your brand. But it needn’t be difficult

How do I bring my brand to life?

It is vital that everybody on your team agrees on what your brand is, and the type of customer you want to speak to. It is therefore worth scheduling in a meeting with your team to have this important discussion and ensure that you are all in 100 percent agreement with the results – you can’t afford to have differing ideas among team members further down the line.

To start with, an easy way for you to think of branding together is to imagine that your vet business is a living, breathing person. Imagine this person explaining who they are, what they care about, their personality and what they specifically have to offer. Write your ideas down and discuss them until you’re sure everybody agrees.

You need to know and define what you provide, and then focus everything through that. The purpose of branding is knowing your business’s true identity and consistently living it every single day.

Are you the reassuringly expensive practice that charges more but has the most technically adept vets? Or are you the good value local vets who give a really caring and personal service?

The brand promise

Whatever factors you decide upon, your brand is the source of a promise to your customer. If you’re billing yourself as “The friendly vets”, your brand is a promise to live up to that. Every time a customer makes contact with your clinic, you need to be “The friendly vets”.

Your entire customer experience – everything from your logo, your website, your social media personality, the way you answer the phone, to the way your customers feel when they visit your clinic – is all a part of your brand and needs to accurately reflect your stated values.

A good brand will:

  • Clearly deliver your message
  • Confirm your clinic’s credibility in the marketplace
  • Emotionally connect customers with your service
  • Motivate new customers to try you
  • Create ongoing client loyalty
  • Align staff to your mission

What’s your mission as a company?

If your business has a great brand, then leadership, marketing, operations and team culture will all naturally align within it. One great thing to consider is that branding not only creates loyal customers, but it also creates loyal employees. A successful brand gives people something to believe in and something to stand behind. It helps your team understand the purpose of the organisation they work for, so they can feel like they’re a part of something unique and meaningful and not just another cog in a wheel.

Establish trust and credibility

The best branding is built on a strong idea: an idea that you and your staff can envision and deliver upon.

Your brand needs to permeate your entire organisation. When your team is clear on the brand and can deliver on the brand promise you’ve made, you will see tremendous results while building brand loyalty among your customer base. Using your brand to drive your clinic marketing is a long-term endeavour. It’s better to be slow but consistent with incremental improvements – because when it comes to a winning brand strategy, consistency trumps intensity every time.

Will Stirling

Will Stirling is a freelance marketing consultant who has worked in small animal practice marketing for over a decade, consulting on marketing strategy. He now spends his time helping independent veterinary clinics to grow and thrive.

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