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Making a Name for Yourself

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By: Keith Loria
Posted: January 28, 2010, from the November 2009 issue of

Abstract: Strengthening your brand involves: identifying waht sets you apart, communicating your expertise, delivering what you promised, training staff about the physician's mission and establishing a good reputation.

One of the most memorable passages in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet begins, “What’s in a name?” Well, when it comes to physicians who are looking to add to their retention rate, the answer to that question can be the difference between success or failure.

As the popularity of medical aesthetic procedures continues to grow, and with organizations such as The American Society of Plastic Surgery increasing their efforts to send a strong message to members about how important it is in this day and age to get involved in cosmetic medicine, the need to brand yourself has become paramount.

“Branding encapsulates every detail of a practice, including the tidiness of the office, the way the phones are answered, how staff members are dressed, the level of privacy offered, as well as advertisements, the logo, brochures and the Web site. The bread and butter of branding, however, starts with the staff members and how they represent you,” says Daphne Christensen, business development coordinator for Koch Facial Plastic Surgery in Des Moines, Iowa. “After all, branding quite literally means ‘apart from the competition.’ ”

What sets you apart?

When looking to establish branding guidelines, the first step should always be in identifying what sets you apart from your competition. This is key in being able to find your niche for branding in a particular market.“You and your personal brand become one and the same. As such, it is important to expand your knowledge base and become an expert in a field,” says Jennifer Linder, MD, a dermatologist and Mohs skin cancer surgeon in Scottsdale, Arizona. “Use that expertise to write relevant articles for your community and offer educational events. Perform professional treatments on your staff members and key opinion leaders so they can recommend your services with confidence. Before building your knowledge base in a particular area, do your homework. Find out what skin conditions are most common or of the greatest concern in your community.”