Audiologists, do you have a business or a brand?
By: Katie Armatoski, Au.D
Successful Marketing as an Audiologist
Audiologists must be strategic when marketing their products. Although marketing a product is a good idea that can ultimately save time and money, unfortunately many businesses do not understand how to market successfully. In this blog, I will discuss the differences between businesses and brands as they relate to audiology and which types of advertisements draw in a consistent audience.
Forming Trust — What to Avoid When Advertising
As an audiologist, I find ads stating, “In need of 30 patients” to be frustrating. I understand such ads help to improve the negative reputation of hearing aids and of the audiologist profession, but they’re disappointing. Those ads attract only patients who are looking for the best deal possible. As someone who was employed as a receptionist in a manufacturer-owned clinic, I know that the patients calling in after viewing those advertisements are not consistent buyers. They see your business as a possibility, not a must.
To attract consistent buyers, your advertisements must explain what your brand is and why people can trust you. Trust is the key or crux of developing a brand. Trust cements you to your patients and keeps them coming back.
Business or Brand — A Definition of Both
- Business — Like most manufacturer-owned clinics, a business is an organization that markets a product or service. Business marketing can be profitable when it is used to promote the company, but it can also alienate people who are not currently having issues with their hearing if the advertisements are strictly business-related and call for immediate action.
- Brand — A brand is the image or personality the business applies its offers. To give their brands personality, many companies hire celebrities to be their spokespeople. This is an example of a brand creating an image by using the face of a well-known and trusted individual. Branding builds trust and helps to create connections. It also allows you to serve your community by providing information people need or want.
A personal brand is built around you, the audiologist. It showcases your specific personality, lifestyle, and interests. A personal brand is usually just your name and your credentials, and it is primarily developed on social media.
A personal brand is often more appealing on social media than is a larger brand. Personal brands are also more likely to gain followers quickly, since people are genuinely interested in other people’s lives and opinions. Personal brands also allow for an easy transition to a new job if you later decide to change your career. This type of branding might be very beneficial if you decide to add additional revenue streams during your career in audiology.
One issue with personal branding is that patients may want to see only one particular audiologist when scheduling their appointments. This is not time efficient if the audiologist is planning to scale the business. However, once the concept of branding is understood, branding multiple audiologists at one location becomes easier. Each person is truly unique and will attract different audiences and patients.
Some audiologists don’t enjoy the attention of crowds or social media. If this is true of you, you may instead prefer to brand the business rather than the individual.
Creating a business brand requires extra thought about your business and your ideal patient. Since many audiologists don’t have the word “audiology” in their business name, a tagline will show those in your community what your business is about.
Business brands are easier to sell. If or when you decide to sell your business, it can be sold more easily since it is not associated with a name.
Tip: A good example of a brand is Warby Parker. They sell sunglasses and glasses online and have become an ecommerce success in the nine years since they debuted. As a company, they have the well-branded objective “to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses.”
Warby Parker’s story states, “Every idea starts with a problem. Ours was simple: glasses are too expensive. We were students when one of us lost his glasses on a backpacking trip. The cost of replacing them was so high that he spent the first semester of grad school without them, squinting and complaining. (We don’t recommend this.) The rest of us had similar experiences, and we were amazed at how hard it was to find a pair of great frames that didn’t leave our wallets bare. Where were the options?”
Warby Parker’s website is devoted to showing the consumer how their glasses are made, every one assembled and polished by hand. Last, for every pair of glasses sold, they donate a pair to someone in need.
Building a brand for a business takes strategy and time. When creating a brand, you may have to decide what the business will offer. For example, some private practices have the words “hearing aid” in the name of their company. Since the scope of audiology is so wide, this line limits the company’s branding capabilities to that specific product.
Personal and Business Branding — Can an Audiologist Do Both?
Building a business brand while simultaneously working to establish an audiologist’s authority in the brand is possible. For example, once the business brand is created, then the audiologist can reach out to other business owners to spread the word about what the company offers.
Once the audiologist starts to answer questions and convey information regarding audiology, the authority grows along with the awareness of the profession.
Want More Information? — Join Ascending Audiologists
I believe the audiologist profession has a lot of opportunities if we begin to be more strategic in our marketing and educate our communities.
In my opinion, a personal brand is the best option for causing awareness of audiology and hearing loss in your community. The biggest setback I have seen for audiologists is that they do not know what to say or post when it comes to marketing.
If you are interested in learning more about branding and obtaining the step-by-step process, join Ascending Audiologists and amplify your voice in your community. I offer clarity, confidence, and a unique identity for audiologists in a saturated market.
Branding has powerful influence over consumers because it allows the brand or person to speak to them on a personal level and evoke emotion.
THE RE.BRAND PLAN FOR AUDIOLOGIST'S
Download a free branding workbook for audiologists! It offers clarity, confidence, and a unique identity in a saturated market.