Congratulations! Your doors are finally open and youre ready for clients to come in youve secured reputable skincare brands to use on your clients, youve got the latest most cutting edge IPL machine and youve selected a great name for your business. You even have a doctor or nurse who delivers injectables every 2 weeks.
So, how do you know that a client is going to select your business over another one with the same offerings? What will draw them to walk through your doors rather than theirs? What happens in 5 years time when you want to move on, to capitalize on your long hours of work can you sell your business? Have you built a brand?
You may think that the word brand only belongs to the big boys to Virgin (the love brand of the century), to Nike, or to Dove, but youre wrong. Any business or professional that delivers a service is able to develop a brand of their own.
Lets take Dr Leonard Hoffenberg, successful Cosmetic Dentist hes created a brand called TLC Dental. It positions him as being someone that cares, that looks after and nurtures his patients. It gives the potential patient a glimpse of what they may expect when they visit his practice. When you arrive at the practice you will see that the promise of TLC (tender loving care) carries right through every experience the logo is clear and gentle in its nature, the colours of the practice are comforting; the lighting is gentle, the team are full of smiles and warmth; there is a gentle scent of aromatherapy oils and a pale pink light to calm those nerves.
In addition, the corporate materials reflect the same feel approachable, stylish, inviting and friendly down to a testimonial from his client the master of the virtually painless injection.
Here we see how a brand has been created with a simple strategy and the success speaks for itself. Already, there is interest from investors in his brand. Take a look: http://www.tlcdental.com.au/
So what is a brand?
According to advertising guru David Ogilvy: a brand is the intangible sum of a products attributes: its name, packaging, decor, price, its history, its reputation and the way it is advertised. It is the name or symbol that is used to sell products or services.
It is the emotional connection which its customers have when they think about you. It is the total experience which they have with you what they see (the salon outfit, the printed materials); the relationship they have with your team; its about the level and standard of experience from start to finish and even after they have walked out the door - it runs through the entire company.
A brand has the ability to influence your business externally as well as internally and has long lasting effects:
Defines how you grow and retain market share;
Defines how you attract and retain employees;
Defines how you stave off your competitors;
Defines how you are able to enter into new areas successfully;
Enables you to command premium prices and
Enables you to capitalize on goodwill and sell your business further down the line, or attract investors.
Similarly, brand equity is a term that is used to describe the added value effects and contributions that establishing a brand can have on a business. One can measure this effect by looking at four main criteria:
Loyalty referring to the emotional bond between the business and the customer which increases repeat purchase (isnt that what we are all after?). Do you assess what clients feel about their experience at your clinic? Do you have surveys? Do you encourage feedback? Do you collect testimonials? And, if you have negative feedback, what do you do about it? How good is your customer resolution policy?
Awareness defining level of familiarity with the brand. How well known is your brand? Do you advertise? Do you have a publicity campaign? Do you send out a quarterly newsletter or regular flyers? Do you use networks to spread the word? Do you participate in sponsorships to build your name and credibility?
Perceived Quality expectations of quality of service. What are your service level standards? Do you have set guidelines for your team and does the business consistently deliver on its promise?
Associations what feelings people associate with your business. Is the client experience interesting? Better than your competitors? Is it a feel good experience?
How then do you go about creating a brand?
First and most importantly do your research:
1. Identify your target market
Identifying your target market is the most important element to consider before steam rolling ahead into the design phase.
Knowing your target market and understanding how to apply the psychology of effective brand strategy, will allow you to construct a tone of voice to aid in the success of your business.
Remember, this is a good looking market which requires a good looking solution!
2. Evaluate the market
Make sure you have a clear understanding of your market, the area and your business. Look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that face it externally and internally.
Following on that detailed research you will have a good idea of how to position your brand. If you are an existing business and want to re-brand, have a clear idea of what has worked to date and what hasnt. From the experience right down to your image (i.e. what your materials, clinic outfit) both inside and out.
3. Evaluate the experience in your clinic
Assess your level of service, have a look at issues such as before and after treatments the experience the client has and level of service offered;
Your corporate materials (printed, electronic, signage e.g. if you scattered them across a beach interspersed with other clinic material, would you be able to identify all those that are yours?)
The telephone service and of course, the treatments themselves the products used in your clinic and their respective philosophies; your team how they dress, how they speak, their general approach.
Once you have evaluated these and you have a clear understanding of where your business is at this time, start to think about how you may create a brand. Remember, it takes time, but if you proceed carefully down the path, evaluating at each step, and building the blocks slowly, whilst listening to your customers along the way, you are sure to create a brand that reaps success.
Gill Fish and Kerry Baranov are brand builders at the below-the-line Marketing, PR & Design company, BRAND NEW SOLUTIONS, which specializes in the wellness, anti-ageing and good looks market. The BNS team of experts developed the concept of Newzine delivering customized newsletters in magazine style for clinics, salons and surgeons internationally. The team has decades of experience with design, media and publishing and extensive experience on some
of the worlds leading anti-ageing brands. Visit www.brandnewsolutions.com.au or call + 61 2 8356 9595