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Creating a Distinctive Brand with Visual Connections

Yes, this is my third article on branding your practice. Before you sigh and say not again, think about it.  What is more important than how people perceive your practice?  That's branding – the words, images and overall content that cause people to build an idea of who you are and what you do.

My first two articles stressed the idea of understanding your messaging.   I talked about how to answer the question “what do you do” in a clear, concise manner, as well as how to create messaging and make it flow through all of your communications.  Yet, there is another element in creating a distinctive brand --  visual connections.

The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is at play here.  The patterns, textures, colors you choose for your practice are an important to setting you apart not only from other D.C.s, but also all the other businesses that are competing for the consumer’s attention.  So when you think visually, what should you consider?

Your Color Palette 

The colors you chose when you set up your marketing materials are your palette.  Everything you do should come back to these three to five colors and the guidelines you determined when you would use each color. 

For example, the links on your website will always be in the neon green that corresponds to the same color of your logo.  You’ll also use it as an accent color to emphasize key words in your print materials.  Then, in time, your patients will subconsciously know key information is in green.

If you are still working on creating a color palette, consider colors that you can live with for a long time.  For example, right now orange is an extremely popular color.  It is great because it pops both off of paper and the screen, but in two years, how will you feel about it? 

It will likely depend on the hue you chose.  Is it the orange from your first box of colors, or is more a sophisticated hue? The deeper hue may extend the life of your color palette because it is considered more traditional even though it is a vibrant addition to your color options.

In the end, there are no wrong decisions in creating a palette, you simply need to make sure your decisions are intentional as you work to create a cohesive, yet unique and visually appealing brand you can live with for the foreseeable future.

Choosing Photos

Bless the Internet for allowing access to millions of stock photos, right?  We can choose a photo or illustration to reflect any mood or need, but sometimes that isn’t a good thing.   You need to choose your images carefully. 

If your practice mainly caters to business professionals in the neighborhood surrounding your practice, then a photo of a woman dressed in yoga gear on your homepage or marketing materials doesn’t connect to your message.  Instead, use a photo of you consulting with someone in business attire projects the image of your patients, along with your professionalism. 

Also, you need to keep the style of the photos consistent.  In other words, perhaps you like images that appear drawn or computer-created versus actual photography.  That’s great, but don’t mix them.

For example, imagine your service listing on your website, don’t use a photo next to one service and a drawn element next to another.  It is distracting and hard for your patients to develop an intuitive understanding of your messaging.

Photos themselves are also something you need to consider.  What do you want them to convey?  Are they artsy – a stylized photo of the spine?  Or, are they practical – demonstrating how patients move after treatment? 

There is no doubt that it’s tough to not choose a photo that you simply like, but it needs to tie back to your messaging and the overall look of your practice.

In the end, distinctive branding creates an emotional connection between your practice and your patients.  They should feel confident and secure in the knowledge that you are their partner in health. 

Paying attention to how you visually project your messaging is the difference of whether your marketing investment is good or great.  And, in the end, don’t we all want to be great?

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