2 Kinds Of Brand-Building For PTs: One Kind Burns Cash While The Other Delivers A Steady Stream Of New Patients

Which do you prefer?

The topic of brand-building comes up in almost every conversation we have with prospects and clients. How to do it, how much to spend, and what kind of results to expect. Today’s feature shares our  perspective on branding for physical therapists and other health care businesses. Thanks for reading, and let us know what you think.

Branding for physical therapists: Job#1 – learn how to spot brand-building that burns precious cash…

Nothing gets me more frustrated than to sit and listen to an “expert” brand-builder spout off about how to build a healthcare brand with a unique logo, tagline, eye-catching graphic design, and even a cute little jingle. “Give me your tired brochures, your website, your ads, and we’ll be more creative; We’ll build you an effective BRAND. Your practice will grow and thrive, like MAGIC. See, look here at our portfolio of beautiful logos and website home pages. Look at all the raving reviews from our 1 million clients. That can be YOU. Just open your arms for a comforting embrace, empty your wallet, and 6-12 months later SHAZAM, you’ll be rich!”

I know that’s a bit over the top, but I’ve heard many very polished marketing and advertising consultants recommend strategic “branding campaigns” just like that. These “Mad Men” rely on creativity and repetition. For PTs this type of strategic philosophy is a really bad idea, and that’s why most physical therapy providers draw the conclusion that marketing is not for them.

Since most of what we all see and recognize as marketing and advertising is the product of creative brand-builder campaigns like the Aflac Duck, Budweiser Frogs, the Geico Gekko, and the E-Trade Baby, we all draw the conclusion that this must be the best way to build an effective brand. But there is a more effective and MUCH cheaper way to go.. PT Brand Building That Produces A Steady Stream Of Patients.

Effective and affordable health care marketing is very different from creative brand-building

Health care marketing should build your brand by educating people about diagnosis, treatment, and how to choose the best provider. While your prospects are being educated, they also get to know your brand.

For example, if you are a physical therapist with special experience and expertise for helping people with a certain condition, do you think your brand is made stronger by offering educational content that includes appealing offers for helpful tools and support, OR placing ads with your picture, logo, and a menu board of services? The menu board approach is certainly easier (and that’s why ad reps and agencies recommend them), but it’s not the best way to build the brand. It takes more work to prepare educational content.

Good healthcare marketing looks very different from what we all recognize as ad agency brand-building. There is only one strategy for good healthcare marketing that is affordable and efficient, and we like to call it the “Cliffs Notes” strategy.

In the Cliffs Notes strategy, you take your specialized knowledge and create content that summarizes how you do what you do to provide an expected result, like restoring function and reducing pain, AND offer ways to learn more without actually booking an appointment.

If you’re good at what you do, the Cliffs Notes strategy will build your brand systematically, within your budget. Instead of throwing cash at a “creative” branding problem, you’ll do better to develop engaging educational content which includes a variety of ways to learn more or take the next step in your sales process.