One of the most effective ways to attract new clients and grow a business is creating and maintaining an appealing brand. While branding is often associated with other industries like clothing, technology, and food, it is equally important in healthcare industries.
For veterinarian practices, a brand is not created entirely for the patient, aka our furry friends, because their owner decides which clinic the pet visits. While pets do not care if the name of a vet’s practice is “Happy Paws Veterinary Clinic”, some aspects of a brand can make the pets more comfortable during their visit. More importantly, having a brand that resonates with pet owners is crucial to drawing them in as a client.
Branding originated during the farming ages due to conflicts between farmers over who owned which cattle. To avoid this, each farmer created a logo unique to them that was used to “brand” their cattle, letting other farmers know who owned which cattle. Similar principles still exist today for businesses around the world. Although a modern day brand entails more than just a logo, companies aim to create appealing brands to draw attention to products and encourage consumers to buy.
Almost everything that goes into a veterinary practice is part of the overall brand: the practice name, logo, colors, website, clinic decor and ambience, and even veterinarians and staff members themselves. The brand and mission statement of a practice should go hand and hand. The mission statement is the hand and the brand is the glove that fits around it. Once the brand is created it is important for the practice to communicate its mission statement clearly and uniformly across all outlets.
In most cases consumers identify with the companies with whom they interact. Brands help people convey to others who they are and what their interests are. Every company has a target market: some companies have niche and exclusive target markets, while others have much broader ones. This makes branding relatively easy for the company because they know what appeals to their customers. A veterinary clinic, however, has few limitations to its target market: anyone who owns a pet is a potential client for each practice. This makes branding a veterinarian practice more difficult than most business because they must create a brand that identifies and resonates with vastly different types of people.
Since pet parents are so diverse, there are few approaches a practice can take to make the brand relate to every single owner. However, the more ways a practice can relate to their potential customers, the more clients they will gain. Let’s take a look at a few important steps veterinary practices should consider when creating and maintaining an effective brand.
Develop an engaging mission statement
The first step to making an effective brand is having a central mission statement. Combine the practice’s long-term vision with its short-term objectives into a clear and concise sentence to get the mission statement started. It’s then important to put the mission statement into words that will sit well with perspective pet owners. Once established, the mission statement should be embodied in every aspect of the practice.
Design the brand
Designing brand elements is usually the hard part for veterinarians since most veterinarians did not take any design courses. It can be hard to create appealing brand elements such as a logo, website, and an in-store design that all convey a consistent message. With creative people seemingly at the push of a button online, staff can work with designers until the perfect logo is created. There are numerous website design companies as well that bring visions to life online. For in clinic ambience and flow, interior designers can help establish the right atmosphere. The most challenging thing that the vets must do themselves is knowing their market and determining what style of brand will engage this market best.
Create a brand geared toward location
While pet owners differ in most societal aspects such as age, race, socioeconomic position, interests, etc., what they do have in common is the area in which they live. Every town or city has something unique about it: whether it’s a historical event, famous landmark, or sports team. One way a veterinary practice’s brand can appeal to all the different pet owners in an area is to connect it to the location. Whether the name of the practice is named after something important to the residents of that city or the logo incorporates the state flag, this is a creative way to stand out to prospective and current clients.
Hire employees and staff members that believe in the brand
No brand can be maintained successfully unless every employee is on board. One of the first things a practice should do when hiring new staff members is to educate them on the brand and mission statement. While the brand should always be conveyed in the name, logo, and website, there is no more effective way to communicate to clients the brand and what a practice believes in than in person through the staff members.
There are numerous other aspects to consider when developing a successful brand for veterinary practices, but these are a few to emphasize and ensure are considered while creating a brand. Whether these suggestions are used or any of the many other ones we didn’t’ cover, the most critical aspect of any brand is consistency across every medium.