Branding your cosmetic practice

June 20, 2014

Aesthetic practices must consider the importance of developing a strong brand image, according to Cheryl Bissera, consultant and co-author of “The Patient-Centered Payoff”. She spoke to attendees Friday at the 2014 Vegas Cosmetic Surgery meeting, emphasizing the importance of communicating luxury and all of the elements that go into your brand identity.

Aesthetic practices must consider the importance of developing a strong brand image, according to Cheryl Bisera, consultant and co-author of “The Patient-Centered Payoff.” She spoke to attendees Friday at the 2014 Vegas Cosmetic Surgery meeting, emphasizing the importance of communicating luxury and all of the elements that go into your brand identity.

“Your brand is the external expression of your practice and what your existing and potential patients think and feel when they hear your practice’s name,” she said.

It’s the entire experience paired with the marketing and branding, she explained, and that experience validates the marketing and branding to make it credible and authentic, so it’s important to get it right.

In addition, she emphasized that an aesthetic brand must communicate luxury, because patients are choosing to spend their money with you; so you need to give them more than what they expect.

She offered a Starbucks experience as an example. “You walk in, they’re excited to see you, they ask how you’re doing, they ask your name … there’s a lot of personalization - and that’s a $4 coffee,” she said.

Tips for developing brand

Your first step is to consider what distinguishes you from the other professionals in your area, and that can be anything from the type of training you have, a unique niche you serve, to your location or an altruistic partnership that you have.

Keep in mind that you can’t be all things to all people, she said. “You can’t be both the super casual, fun practice and also the high-end, high-tech, sleek Beverly Hills practice. Choose what you’re going to capitalize on or you’ll dilute your message, your strengths and who you are.”

She listed all of the elements you should consider, including your logo, mission statement, values, messaging, offerings, service level and differentiating qualities as the external expression of what makes up your brand. It’s important to consider all of these when thinking through your brand strategy.

When communicating your brand, do it in terms of the benefits the patient will experience. For example instead of just listing a tummy tuck as a service offering, say: smooth stomach in time for bikini season.

“Patients relate to people and experiences; so make your patients imagine how they’re going to feel and have testimonials of your patients describing how their lives have changed,” she said. “It sends a different message. We all love stories.”

Once you’ve developed your branding, make sure every staff member understands it and can put it into action so that you can deliver on the promise you’re making in your brand messaging, she advised.

Finally, she said, don’t be afraid to get professional help. Sometimes you’re too close to see your practice objectively. Someone outside may be able to identify inconsistencies in your messaging that you might not have considered.

“A positive, consistent experience builds a strong brand,” she emphasized. 

Read our VCS 2014 coverage