This three-part series explores not only the importance of branding and how much it really matters, but some of the key logistics you need to know in order to create a truly Incredible brand. Here are links to each part of the series:
Part 1: Your Brand Is So Much More Than Your Name
Part 2: Does Your Brand Even Matter?
Part 3: How to Build an Incredible Brand in 7 Steps (Infographic)
Bonus: Top 7 Best Aesthetic Brands
Want to get your credit for reading more than the title? Check out the TL;DR.
Let’s make this easy: If you want to thrive as a business, then yes, your branding matters.
Now, you could stop here and take my word for it. Many of you might.
You could miss my carefully constructed explanation about the Brand Promised Land and all the benefits it brings.
You could skip — entirely — the mini-listicle about all the ways that good branding can improve your practice and still reap the benefits.
Hell, you could gloss right over my guide to creating a good brand within and outside of a prescribed formula and still somehow stumble into a celebrity simply from good, old-fashioned dumb luck.
(You might get a lot of questions like this though.)
But, if you are still here, if you clicked on this link: you won’t. Probably because you know better than to rely on dumb luck.
You likely already know that branding is an important part of your business and practice — you just want to know how and why.
Well, don’t worry. Now that we got rid of the casuals, we are going to tell you exactly how and why your branding definitely matters.
(For those of you who missed Part 1, this is a callback.)
Finding the Brand Promised Land
Imagine a place where everyone knew your practice.
A place where people fiercely campaigned for your treatments as much as you do.
A place where people wanted to go nowhere for aesthetic treatment except between your four walls.
Patients always return for treatments in perpetuity, and, as a result, you have a consistent income flow to weather whatever storm is headed your way. (I’m sorry, he makes me link to this, and he is watching. Always watching…)
This, my friend, is the Brand Promised Land.
And it comes with five inalienable rights: advocacy, familiarity, equity, loyalty and certainty.
Right 1: Patient Advocacy
There’s a quote that goes something like “the best review you could ever leave is a recommendation” or something along those lines.
Not to mention, 94% of consumers say they recommend brands they have an emotional connection with.
But in order to become a brand and practice that builds emotional connections and gets recommended to others, you have to check a few boxes.
- You have to get initial patients through the door.
- You have to provide a good experience.
- You have to be a brand worth recommending.
There’s textbooks of information written about how to get patients through the door, a fair portion of which Incredible has written itself, and the experience you provide to those patients is mostly up to you and your staff.
But being a brand worth recommending? There is a lot to unpack there.
Let’s just keep it at this: if you think for a second that someone won’t hesitate to recommend you to a friend or family member because your branding is inconsistent, erratic or, you know, just lame, think again.
We covered how good branding increases your trustworthiness in the last article, and it goes without saying that trustworthiness is the number one factor when it comes to referrals.
So if that’s the case then— well, you know what, you can do the rest of the math on your own.
Right 2: Brand Familiarity
A world where everyone knows your brand is a good world to be in.
Remember, though, it takes between five and seven interactions for a patient to remember your brand and practice.
But more importantly, those interactions have to be memorable in order to be effective.
Something as simple as using a signature color can increase brand recognition by 80 percent, but being intentional about your messaging and everything you put out for your niche is also a reliable way to actually be memorable.
It’s why the most popular brands and practices diversify their marketing platforms. If you are trying to build a notable, popular brand, it’s not enough to just be seen on Instagram or TikTok.
You also have to be seen on Google Ads, influencer profiles, email inboxes, SMS messages, YouTube ads, search engine results pages, review sites like RealSelf, Reddit — look, there’s a lot of places you can and need to be seen.
Let’s leave it at that.
Eventually, the goal for this familiarity is to evolve into what we know as brand equity.
Right 3: Brand Equity
Grab a coffee and think about this stat for a second: 46% of consumers said they would pay more for brands they trust.
That means that simply by virtue of earning someone’s trust, you can beat out all the competition in the minds of 46% of the competition.
That dollar amount extra that people are willing to pay because of your practice’s reputation is known as brand equity.
This is why brands like Nike, Coca Cola, Sony, Chevy, Ford, and any big name you can think of still exist despite there being cheaper options in their markets.
People trust them. And they will pay to avoid a headache or a bad product or service. They’ve been up years of brand equity with two strategies: providing good products and building the strength of their branding.
Right 4: Brand Loyalty
In terms of marketing and the Brand Promised Land, Apple is the messiah.
Their products are polished and pretty — not necessarily too concerned with being the best, but providing the best experience.
They are slow to adopt changes in the tech industry, but they provide, arguably, some of the most user friendly and stable iterations of those features when they do get around to launching.
But their marketing is also strategic, experiential, visceral.
When you think of Apple products, a million images of creativity and exploration come to mind.
You would have thought you needed a watch that has an ocean diving computer built in.
But what do you know? Nothing. Apple knows best.
And they told you so when they launched the ad campaign for their Apple Watch Ultra.
You might not need all the features, but cool people do, and this is the watch the cool people are wearing.
Apple’s strength is understanding that, on a personal level, people want to be a part of the “cool” crowd.
A powerful notion because 75% of American consumers say they’re more likely to be loyal to brands that understand them on a personal level.
All that was left was to make Apple the “cool” product. (Which they did, as early as 2002.)
Your job is to make your brand as powerful and as trustworthy as Apple. When people see your logo, a social post, blog post or an advertisement, they need to know what it is they are potentially buying into.
Powerful branding is one of the most reliable methods of achieving that feat.
Right 5: Brand Certainty
Brand certainty and brand loyalty are two sides of the same marketing coin — but both sides are important to your growing practice.
With brand loyalty comes the privilege of knowing that you have a steady stream of revenue, taking some of the pressure away from exploring new avenues of treatment or marketing.
You have a core group of patients you can always rely on wherever the market takes you.
If it’s a new medical device you are marketing or some new treatment you are bringing into your office, you can try them without incurring as large of a risk.
All this, simply because of the brand you have built.
6 Immediate Benefits of Good Branding
We just got finished talking about all the wonders that finding the Brand Promised Land can earn you. But there are plenty of more concrete, immediate benefits that you can experience as well.
If you needed a quick and dirty list of justifications for investing in you branding, look no further, here it is:
1. Positive First Impression
It takes about 50 milliseconds — or roughly 0.05 seconds — for people to form an opinion about your website.
I literally cannot find a way to put that into a more relatable perspective.
It’s just… so fast.
Time is clearly not your ally when it comes to first impressions, which means your branding and the image you put out is really all you got, chief.
If you can control the first impression, your chances of controlling the entire relationship goes up exponentially.
2. Builds Human Connection
Read this excerpt from a 20-year old article written by Leander Kahney, who spoke to Mark Gobé, the founder, chairman, and CEO of one of the world’s biggest image creation firms, about Apple’s brand and branding-at-large.
Gobe argued that, in some cases, branding has become as powerful as religion. “People’s connections with brands transcend commerce…”
Time hasn’t put any chill on human’s need to bond with a brand, either.
Brands are becoming increasingly more of a personal decision among consumers, and that holds true for patients.
3. Assumes High Service Quality
If you have an ethical dilemma about assuming the quality of something based on appearances, I feel you.
(My favorite tacos come from a place with a B-rating and walls older than I am. My favorite sandwich comes from a donut shop that hasn’t changed its ad posters since 2001.)
But the reality is that patients looking for treatment want to go somewhere they know will provide them with high-quality service.
And high-quality service is associated with a lot of things — strong branding and messaging high among them.
You aren’t passing out tacos or sandwiches here. (It couldn’t hurt your chances, though.)
You are providing an aesthetic treatment, which means you have to pay attention to the way your practice is presented if you want to get patients to come through the door.
4. Increases Attention
I am just going to keep this one simple: which one are you more likely to buy from?
Both of these brands sell leather cases for phones (among other things). But if you knew nothing about their products, which would you be more likely to purchase from? Tucch (assumedly a play on the word “touch”) and Nomad have similar font choices, but are they equally powerful?
When you get into their target audience — people who like leather products — it is easier to see how a word like nomad would resonate more with that audience and invoke a deeper psychological response.
Word association is huge.
Add in little touches like an “A” in the shape of a tent and you are being purposeful about your intent.
Nomad will stand out much more than Tucch to the average consumer, i.e., more attention.
Let’s play again:
I think the point has been clearly made.
5. Allows Better Pricing
When the catalyst behind coming to your practice for treatment transcends simply the service being rendered, you are able to put a premium on those advantages.
In some cases, going to a particular provider’s office is in and of itself a big enough factor to increase the pricing.
If you are the most highly rated provider in your area, people will be willing to pay more for reliable service.
Maybe you put a lot of emphasis on the experience your patients have — if they loved it, they will come back for it, even if it costs a little more.
Men don’t go to SportsClips because they want a top-tier haircut. They go because they want to watch sports or get a head and neck massage as part of their package.
You might get a better cut at a different barbershop, but those guys probably aren’t going to massage your head with eucalyptus shampoo for five minutes.
Your patient might get the same service you are offering somewhere else, but they won’t get whatever it is that makes your brand special.
6. Improves Your Conversions
We don’t need to think about this one too hard, either.
If your branding is on point and you are building relationships with it, then more potential patients will come to trust you.
If more patients come to trust you, you will have more patients sign up for treatment.
It’s not exactly rocket surgery, but if you find yourself in a situation where you are getting decent reach but not conversions, then it might be worth taking a look at your branding and messaging to see where you can make improvements.
Examples of Good Aesthetic Brands
I am going to take you on a quick tour of some aesthetic brands in the industry that I think are absolutely killing it.
And for those of you that are asking: yes, these are brands Incredible has worked with, and no, I do not think I am biased in any way, shape or form.
For those of you who want to see more aesthetic brands that are not Incredi-related, check out our Bonus Article.
The Williams Center
Here are a few peaks into The Williams Center Brand Guide, where you can see the process of its intentional design.
Here is an excerpt from introduction to the guide:
The visual identity was carefully crafted to compliment the reputation and values that The Williams Center provides to its patients and community. From print to digital, the creative direction outlined in this guide needs to be applied to every aspect of the brand. It is the benchmark for how The Williams Center represents itself to the world. Additionally, the visual identity allows the four centers to live and succeed independently, while maintaining clear unification and affiliation together.
The Salt Facial
The Salt Facial, previously mentioned in the last article, is a good example of how really strategic and creative branding can elevate something as simple as salt.
Appearance Care Center
Appearance Care Center is a perfect example of finding not only running with a color palette, but a feeling. When you are looking at their imagery and how they present themselves, it doesn’t feel unapproachable for the average person.
It also uses its location in a smart way — not in their name, but in their content and hero. This is not only good for SEO but is much easier to change if they were to ever consider focusing on a different geography.
Examples of Good Non-Aesthetic Brands
While I can’t exactly call up Harley-Davidson to get a copy of their working brand book, I don’t really need to.
Noah Harding, Art Director and Designer at Harley-Davidson, dropped some of it on her own website.
This is a good example of how branding goes beyond the name and logo — a huge amount of effort was put into who Harley-Davidson really is, who they serve, who they were for, and what they stood for.
This branding fought against the stereotypes that might be associated with their product while tastefully reinforcing its own human qualities.
Check it all out below:
Instead of brand books and guides, let’s take a look at an equally important part of branding: messaging.
Patagonia excels at messaging. In everything they do, they represent their values: a love for the outdoors and adventure, excitement, and environmental protection.
Here are just a few examples:
In yet another prime example of powerful messaging, let’s explore Peloton’s mission statement and how they execute that mission statement in their product photography.
Mission Statement: Peloton uses technology and design to connect the world through fitness, empowering people to be the best version of themselves anywhere, anytime.
The Brand Promised Land is the happiest place on earth, forget about Disney. Patient advocacy, familiarity, equity, loyalty and certainty await you once you arrive. The cost for entry is good branding. There are six really important benefits to good branding: positive first impressions, human connections, the assumption of quality, increased attention, better pricing and more conversion. Scroll up a bit if you want to see cool brands in the aesthetic and other industries in action.
Branding Is More Important Than Ever
It will take some time and serious brainstorming, but it is possible to do, whether you decide to go about it on your own or partner with someone to help you through.
You should also definitely check out Part 3. It’s an infographic, which means significantly less words for you to get through.