Is there a more millennial term than Personal Brand?
Well, maybe Influencer comes a close second—or, in third place, Authentic! With the advent of social-media-fame, an ever-increasingly competitive job market, and the optimization of our online space to make a mark, the need to stand out among oversaturated crowds, has become clear.
As a veterinary professional you may think: Customers know who I am; they know what I do. I don’t need any elevator pitch, or 10,000 followers on Instgram to ensure optimum animal health. If an animal needs healthcare, then clients come to me. Heck, I don’t even really need to advertise, do I? Whatever the economy, people and their pets always need healthcare.
Whether you recognize it or not, you, at your very base, have a name and a reputation to develop, maintain and promote. Grow your reputation, and you can grow your career, your income, and your veterinary practice.
What the Heck is a Personal Brand?
Personal Branding is, essentially, a marketing strategy which works to position you as an industry thought leader—someone of influence; someone well-respected.
One of the most crucial steps in building and developing your own brand is identifying the key messages you wish to deliver to your tribe i.e. your audience of pet owners, and other individuals within your industry. It’s your Unique Selling Point—that special something, which separates you from a myriad of competitors. There may be, and have been, many veterinarians other than you; there may have been countless consultations done before but remember: there’s only one way you can do it.
Vet students; entrepreneurial types hoping to set up their own practice; veterinary nurses; practice managers; you all need to do this. No idea where to start?
How about you Google yourself? Type your name into Google. What’s on the first page of results? Perhaps it’s your LinkedIn profile full of information about what you specialize in. Maybe there’s a review, somewhere in there from a happy client who loved how you brought Dave the Dalmation back to full health.
What about content? Do you create any content online, whether it’s a blog post about post-surgery nutrition, or a quick Tweet about what’s happening in your veterinary practice? Content which is discovered about you, by your clients, has an enormous impact on how people perceive you. It’s not about you. It’s actually about how other people see you. On that note, check out your image results in Google. Are they professional and recent? As it stands, is your current online brand portraying the you, which you want people to view?
Before kicking off your personal brand strategy, you need to ask yourself, Why? What is it that’s prompting you to build this persona? As mentioned, you might be launching your own veterinary practice and want to attract new customers, or you may want to add more value to existing clients.
Think about the following:
Plato and Socrates both taught us to know thyself. That means truly understanding who you are and why you do what you do; what makes you tick and gets you out of bed in the a.m.? Who do you want to be defined as? What do you want your customers to see and what do you need to do in order to show them?
Never miss an opportunity to tell your story. It’s what attracts people to you: friends, partners, and in your case, patients. Status, success and leadership happen because people think they know who you are. Your story needs to be attention grabbing; it must be relevant so people know how you might work with them; it must also be memorable. What’s your narrative?
Getting to know your audience and understanding what it is they need from you is a non-negotiable. Anticipating their needs and then delivering a solution will solidify a connection between you and your customers, building a bond, a rapport and customer retention. An authentic connection is the key to good customer relations.
These avenues are fantastic places to start thinking about where your personal brand is currently, where a judicious focus on building it might take you, and what benefits you’re going to reap.
For more advice on building your best practice, check out Covetrus Consultancy