Brand is a huge buzzword in the business world, and in today’s market, it’s easy to see why. A business’ brand is what separates them from their competition. Many businesses work very hard to keep their brand image healthy in the mind of consumers and clients. With the advent of social media and the internet in general, it’s easier than ever for every business to have brand recognition. Small businesses have a more even playing field with larger businesses now because of the way we are all connected online. You may be wondering what brand has to do with you as a physician, but in reality, despite whether you are in private practice, employed by a hospital or still in residency, your brand is more important now than ever. You are in business for yourself in finding patients, employers, and more depending on your situation. Your brand as a physician is what you present to the world.

Why You Need a Brand

The belief that you don’t really need a brand as a physician is just not true any more. It is important to put some thought into your brand to boost your career. No matter if you are going into business for yourself by opening your own practice or are looking for work, your brand will make a difference in how potential patients, employers and business partners will view you. Having a solid, consistent brand will help you stand out in a positive way.

Think about the first thing you do when you are considering a new service provider. You probably pull out your smartphone or your laptop, and do a quick Google search to learn more about them. You look for other reviews online. You look for whether or not they’ve had any issues in the past with their clients. You look to see if they have a social media presence. In many cases, in just a few minutes you can research them and make an educated decision on whether or not you want to do business with this person based on what you’ve found. Now, take a moment to Google yourself and see what you find. If you find nothing relevant on the first page of search results, or worse, some embarrassing information that you’d rather not be online, consider establishing your professional brand as a way to counteract this information.

Any potential business partners, employers, employees and patients will probably go through this process choosing to work with you, so this step is essential.

What Makes a Good Brand

A good brand is one that represents you and your values. It should tell how you go about practicing medicine specifically and doing business in general. Your brand is what separates you from the competition, and makes you the right choice for employers, future employees and patients.   Think about what makes you different. Are you more interested in incorporating alternative treatment methods? Are you the type of practitioner that makes home visits to patients that are unable to come into your office? What are your unique skill-sets of education, qualifications, and experiences that make you the unique doctor that you are today? These are all good concepts that help make a good brand.

How to Develop Your Brand

The first thing that you should do is think about what you want to highlight about yourself, your skills, and your personality. Think about how you make people feel. Do you have a good bedside manner? How do others describe you? What benefits can other people get from working with you? The answers to these questions can help you decide what you want to focus on the most with your brand. After this brainstorming, you will want to create your description thinking on who is your target audience, what keyword would you use to describe yourself, and what niche are you looking to fill? The final area to examine is what’s your unique value and how do you stand out from the crowd.

After this brainstorming session, you will want to put this all together into a brand statement and create your general brand. Then, you will want to start implementing your brand. You can do this through your personal social media accounts and websites along with your professional accounts. If you are opening up your own practice or joining a practice, be sure to feature your brand to your patients and potential patients. Also, if you are a job seeker, you can have this added to your CV or resume in both subtle and relevant ways. During your interviews, be sure to highlight your personal brand. Lastly, always live up to the personal brand that you have created for yourself. If you are not consistent, then your branding will not take hold.

Step aside business owners, it’s time for physicians to harness the power of the brand. Embrace the power of your brand. Now that you have an idea of why you should take the time to develop your brand or improve upon it, it’s time to get out there and get started. Developing your brand can take time, but is well worth the effort, especially when you are on a job hunt or trying to fill your schedule with patients.