Most people recognise the significance of a strong personal and professional identity. Yet many healthcare professionals running their own practices don’t grasp the importance of a strong corporate identity (or even understand what is).
Your personal identity took shape during adolescence as you broke away from your parents and tried to work out who you were as your own person (probably bonding with your mates and doing your best to ‘be cool’ like everyone else). You probably became more secure in yourself as an adult – perhaps you’re now able to admit that you like country music or find dad jokes hilarious.
Professional identity forms throughout training and practice. You were watching your teachers and mentors and, along the way, you’ve formed a sense of the kind of clinician you want to be (and who you don’t want to be).
As you can see, identity formation takes time, growth and self-reflection. So, what about your corporate identity? Can’t you make do with a quick logo and a DIY website?
No. An authentic representation of who you are takes more work than that. But it’s worth it.
What Is Corporate Identity?
Clients often come to us for help with their marketing because their current efforts are not paying off.
In many cases, the underlying problem is not only their marketing but their branding.
Branding is about defining who you are.
Branding lays the foundation for marketing.
Marketing shares your brand’s message.
If you don’t understand who you are and what makes you special then it’s difficult to persuade patients to pick you over your competitors (or to persuade prospective staff to choose you over another employer). You may be sending out bland messages that don’t connect with anyone or mixed messages that leave your audience confused.
Your corporate identity is about your practice’s culture, your values and your personality. That’s where it starts. That’s your brand. Design elements like your logo express and reinforce your corporate identity or brand.
So, how do you work out what your corporate identity is? Through a bit of soul searching…
Ask yourself (and your team) a few questions such as:
- Why did we start this practice?
- What did we want to do differently from the other places we’d worked?
- Why is our work important?
- Why do you come to this workplace (beyond to get paid)?
- Do you feel you’re making a difference? How? Why do you care about working here?
- What feedback do you hear from patients about why they use our practice? What are you doing that makes a difference in their lives?
Reflecting in this way is often deeply encouraging. It deepens your sense of purpose and brings clarity to all your communications.
When you know who you are, it’s much easier to express yourself meaningfully, authentically and consistently.
Elements of a Strong Corporate Identity
You express your personal identity in your relationships, clothing choices, music preferences and values.
You express your corporate identity in a similar way. Your culture and values might lead you to develop an outreach program, to bulk bill some patients or to offer a unique blend of services to meet the needs of a certain client group.
Expressing all this visually is the next step. A skilled graphic designer is able to understand your brand and express your uniqueness through:
- Your logo
- Your brand colours
- Your typography.
This will be reinforced through a style guide that shows others how (and how not) to use your brand elements for consistent expression.
It’s worth investing in this because you will use it again and again. Your logo, brand colours and typography will be used on your:
- Social media accounts
- Slide deck
- Appointment cards
- Other marketing collateral.
Together, these things create recognition and build trust. Your patients find you on Facebook and you look and sound the same as you do on your website or when they visit your clinic.
How to Develop a Strong Corporate Identity
As a healthcare marketing agency, we’re used to working with practices to develop their brand. That’s what we did for Adelaide Centre for Advanced Dentistry.
And, no, it didn’t result in yet another tooth-shaped logo.
Case Study: Adelaide Centre for Advanced Dentistry (CAD)
Splice Marketing invited Adelaide CAD to a workshop where we explored their purpose, vision and value proposition.
As we drilled into their reason for running their practice, it became clear that:
- They prefer to think of their patients as whole people rather than ‘just a tooth’ – so we avoided tooth logos or designs
- They see themselves as ‘craft masters’ or ‘oral architects’ – so we created a logo with an architecture feel, derived from the original CAD program or computer-aided design.
As for the colour palette, blue signifies trust, dependability and strength, while grey signifies balance and calm. These were all important brand traits for Adelaide CAD.
To develop a strong corporate identity for Adelaide CAD, we:
- Created a brand strategy to identify brand positioning statements, messaging, tone and value proposition
- Created a logo (all formats – online and print)
- Created a secondary logo – the symbol associated with their business (all formats)
- Developed a branding style guide – including fonts, logo specifications and imagery
- Created associated stationery and business cards.
The final result is a strong brand that speaks to both Adelaide CAD’s patients and their dental colleagues.
Ways to Strengthen Your Corporate Identity
So, how can you strengthen your practice’s corporate identity?
Here are a few ideas:
- Invite your team to a brainstorming session to identify your practice’s particular strengths, values, client group or purpose
- Ask for feedback from your patients about why they chose you and what makes you stand out
- Review all your branding on your website, social media accounts, printed material and at your premises
- Does the design reflect your purpose?
- Do you look and sound the same across all the different touchpoints where a patient might encounter you? Or is it like being with a fickle friend who’s different each time you meet?
- Do you have brand guidelines that specify your brand colours, typography and how your logo should be used to create a consistent look and feel?
It’s not always easy to see what makes you special. And yet, it can be very clear to outsiders, especially when they’ve encountered many other healthcare practices that aren’t like yours.
That’s why it’s sometimes easier to develop your corporate identity when you have some external help.
At Splice Marketing, we have the insight to see what drives you, what makes you stand out, what are the key elements of your corporate identity.
And we have the skill to turn that into compelling visuals that express your identity and key messages that resonate with your patients and professional colleagues.
If that’s exactly what you need, then ask about Splice Marketing’s brand packages. We’d love to help you and your networks see just how special you are.