Most Popular in:

Medical Esthetics

Email This Item! Print This Item!

Are You a Mouse or a Rat?

By: Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS
Posted: March 4, 2010, from the March 2010 issue of
Group of surgeons, with two shaking hands

$string.toUpperCase($string.substring($addOnType, 0, 1))$string.substring($addOnType, 1, $string.length($addOnType))s

page 3 of 4

As a physician, whether planned or not, you are the brand. Your dress, speech and actions are components of your brand. People encounter hundreds, if not thousands, of brands every day. Sports teams, holidays, even people are examples of brands that shape behaviors, attitudes and purchasing decisions. A brand is a way for patients or consumers to define you.

It is a collection of perceptions or natural associations. For real-world application, think of your favorite sports team. What images pop into your head? You probably think of the team colors, the mascot and maybe some of your favorite players. Perhaps you are flooded with distinct memories of the unique ballpark aroma of beer, peanuts and popcorn mixed together. These thoughts and images are all part of the baseball brand.

People can represent a brand, as well. Consider Oprah, Michael Jordan, Dolly Parton, Harry Carey, John F. Kennedy, Madonna and Al Capone. Each of these people are branded by attributes, actions, attitudes or an era, and each creates different associations. Everything from boldblack-rimmed glasses to a cone-shaped bra all become the costumes that help define who these people are, and what their brand represents.

So how does all of this branding relate to you after 20-plus years of schooling? Stop and think about the last patient you saw. What or who were you to that patient; how did that patient view you; and most importantly, how will that patient remember you? As a physician, you have to ensure that the brand you are creating matches the image you intend to project. This image will affect how—or if—potential patients choose, remember and recommend you.

Who are you? Start by defining who you are and be honest: Are you modern and sleek, or traditional and conservative? Are you loud, spirited and outgoing, or quiet, laid back and introverted? Do you specialize in a particular treatment or technique, or do you have a unique trait that defines you. Do you enjoy interaction and spending extra time with patients, or is your true passion to research groundbreaking treatments. A false representation of who you are is a poor way to start a relationship. Be true to who you are, and your brand will feel natural to everyone you encounter.