What Is Therapy Branding & How Do You Get Started?
When it comes to running a successful health practice, having stand-out branding can make all the difference, especially if you need to stand out from the crowd.
By creating a memorable identity, you’ll unlock the secret of going from being ‘just another practice’ to one of the best, especially if you follow it up with high-quality service.
Unfortunately, therapy branding doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s a process and one that shouldn’t be ignored or rushed if you’re serious about building practice for the long term.
But, if you’re not a marketer, it can be difficult to know where to focus your attention and resources.
That’s why we’ve compiled a guide with the best tips and tricks for creating a successful therapy brand identity. We’ll help you understand why this aspect of your business should be a priority.
We’ll start at the beginning with a definition and then break it down into small actionable steps…
What Is Therapy Branding?
Branding is the process of shaping the perception of your practice in a way that identifies and differentiates you from the competition. You want to create a specific impression of your practice, and you have a variety of ways to get that tailored message across. Including the décor in your practice, your logo, website design, practitioner uniforms and more.
Seth Godin, respected leader, entrepreneur and best-selling author, puts it like this,
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
How Do You Create a Cohesive Brand that Reflects Your Practice?
Define a Brand Personality
Personification is the attribution of human qualities to non-humans, and it can be a great way to get the creative juices flowing. So, think about it, if your brand were a person, what kind of personality would it have? Every successful person has a brand, whether it’s an iconic style of dress or a hairstyle that’s unforgettable. Think of your brand as a ‘wannabe’ famous person, as there truly isn’t a difference.
What do you want your clients to feel when they interact with your practice? Jot down five personality traits and use these as a starting point for your brand’s inspiration.
For example, do you want your clients to experience: warmth, friendliness, joy, comfort, and trust? Then your brand identity must speak to those exact traits.
Identify Your Niche Market
One of the most important questions to ask yourself is: ‘Who do I want to attract to my business?’ If you haven’t done this exercise yet, have a look at our blueprint to help you create the ideal client profile. If you work with children, bright colours and fun graphics are ideal, while other health care practices tend to stick to blues or greens which traditionally signify professionalism and trust and growth and healing respectively. Here you can see the meaning behind logo colours.
It can be helpful to have a look at other brands that cater to a similar clientele. See what colours and styles they use, and what specific aspects of their branding are attractive to that particular target market.
Tailor Your Brand to Fit You
While you aren’t your brand, your product can fit the style of practice you want to portray. Think about your therapy branding as an extension of you. If you’ve got a quirky personality or style, you could bring those elements into your design.
However, ensure that you don’t get carried away by your personality, neglecting what you want to tell your clients about what your practice offers unless you’re a solo practitioner as this will limit growth opportunities. You might be in a position to sell or franchise one day; hence, the brand must stand on its own.
Stand Out from the Crowd
When seeking inspiration, look beyond your field. Gain insight from some of the more successful, forward-thinking businesses out there. Take ideas from nature, Pinterest, practices in other disciplines or areas, or simply take a walk around your neighbourhood because you never know what might catch your eye.
A perfect example of exceptional brand identity is the latest Netflix sensation, Squid Game. Their iconic circle, triangle, and square logo have become globally identifiable images in a short period. Branding doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective, and you can be inspired by restaurants, films, and businesses in all sectors; the sky’s the limit.
Think of a Memorable Name
If you already have an established business, you won’t want to change the name. However, if you’re looking to do an extreme makeover, ensure that the name you select is unique and memorable. Consider a clever play on words or something industry-related. But don’t overcomplicate things, whatever you select should be easy to pronounce, and very different to other practices in your area.
When selecting a name, check that it hasn’t been registered or trademarked. You don’t want to work on brilliant branding, using an exciting new name, only to discover that this business already exists. You can also opt for a catchy slogan to compliment your name, to give your practice’s identity some extra flair!
Use Colours to Your Advantage
Have you heard of colour psychology? If not, it’s best to do your research. Once you’ve determined your brand’s personality traits, look for 1 or 2 colours that match those, and stick to them.
Complimentary colours are always bound to attract. This refers to colours that are on the opposing side of the colour wheel. For example, red and green, and orange and blue, are complementary colours as they bring the most light out of one another.
Look at opting for warm colours, cool colours, or a combination of the both. Warm colours can mean anything from optimism to strength while cool colours are often associated with nature. Greens and blues bring a feeling of calm, as they represent water and plants.
It’s vital that your therapy branding uses the same colours throughout. Once you have chosen your selected tones, jot down the Pantone numbers and keep them safe. You’ll be able to find these in any design program.
In addition, you can take your practice to the next level by incorporating these colours into your interior design. There’s no doubt that a beautifully decorated space will give your clients confidence in your practice.
Select Your Fonts
When selecting the right fonts for your brand identity, you’ll generally opt for 2 or 3 choices. Either, you can have your logo font, your heading font, and your text font, or you can have a logo font and text font.
Use these fonts at every opportunity, including brochures, emails, signs, business cards, your website, and other marketing materials.
Create the Perfect Logo
Do you have a picture in mind to use on your logo? If you do, look for its meaning or you can do it the other way around and find inspiration by researching image symbolism.
If you don’t have professional design skills, hiring a professional to design a logo for you is worthwhile as they can create something unique, combining the aspects of your brand’s personality. However, if you can’t afford to hire an expert at this stage, there are many stock image websites where you can get free or inexpensive images to use with your text. The downside of stock imagery is that it’s not completely original and you will need to review the terms and conditions of image use.
In most cases, it’s worth hiring a professional designer because it’s a one-off project that shouldn’t cost a fortune, and if you use the right person, you won’t regret the results.
This is the area where many practice owners struggle. Building your own website can seem like a mountain of work, but if you partner with the right web developer, you can have the building blocks in place within a week or two. We have a comprehensive website-building resource to help you make those initial decisions about your website (and a checklist to help you avoid common, but expensive mistakes.)
When it comes to the web, your website is just the tip of the iceberg, from there you’ll want to get set up on social media, as well as map and directory listings. For Google My Business advice, we have two resources that will help you create and optimise your GMB listing.
Once again, it’s worth hiring a graphic designer or web developer to help you along this journey. Having a make-shift, DIY website can cheapen your brand, which is the last thing that you want as it’s a vital part of the brand perception that you are creating.
Consider Your Brand Identity from Beginning to End
Consistency is key.
From the moment your client interacts with your practice, they must get a sense of what your brand is all about. Use the same colours on your website, in your interior design, practitioner uniforms and with all marketing material.
Famous graphic designer, Paul Brand, words it slightly differently. He says,
“Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.”
which makes it vital that all those non-verbal cues align with the vision and mission of your practice.
In addition to your logo, consider a matching letterhead, business cards and email signature. The more your clients interact with your practice’s brand identity, the more recognisable it will become.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to therapy branding to stand out from the crowd, and it requires a holistic approach if you want to maintain consistency throughout the client’s journey with you. That journey starts long before they come into your practice for the first time, and will continue after they leave. In the words of Jonah Sachs, successful author and entrepreneur,
“Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touch points.”
So, whether online, in-person or when they come across your marketing materials, all of those touchpoints add to your brand story.
If you feel completely out of your depth, hiring a brand identity specialist or graphic designer will make all the difference. These marketing experts have been trained to put together a package that will guide you on every step of your branding journey.
Remember to be consistent with your fonts, colours, imagery, and design. You’ll be amazed to see how distinctive brand identity can take your business to the next level and, remember, it’s never too late for a therapy branding makeover!