It is undeniable that the recent pandemic has expedited our transition to online means of interacting with clients. As a health professional, you may have had to adjust to telehealth or other digital means of communicating with patients. However, these offerings are not enough. To stand out from the competition in a highly saturated market, you must also strengthen your brand in the digital sphere. Consider using Keller’s Brand Equity Model to assist you in this process.
Keller’s Brand Equity Model, also recognized as Customer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE), breaks down the essential questions consumers ask themselves when exposed to a brand. Once you know what your clients believe about your brand, you can effectively adapt your message to attract your target consumer and ensure that related brand thoughts and associations are positive. Keep the following questions in mind as they reflect the thought process of your patients:
- Who are you?
The first step in strengthening your brand is making sure that your patients are aware that you exist. To create “awareness,” you should develop a strategy that helps you stand out from the competition and communicates your core values.
First, determine who your target client is through segmentation. Even though you can help different types of clients, developing a message specific to your niche is more likely to result in new patients and referrals. You can check out my post on segmentation for health professionals here.
If you know who your clients are, it’s a lot simpler to identify what they think about your brand and how they compare you to competitors in your field. In addition, you will be better equipped to determine what their needs are.
Ensure your services target your patient’s needs directly, as this will become your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). You should be able to communicate your USP clearly and efficiently to target clients. Ultimately, you want to make sure your patients receive your brand and message in the way you want.
- What are you?
The first component, known as “performance,” has to do with how well you can meet your client’s needs. For example, if you are a health coach specializing in sleep optimization, you are not necessarily equipped to help a client struggling with body image issues. So, first, make sure you are targeting clients with needs that fit your specialty. Then, strive to continuously build your knowledge to ensure your services are effective, reliable, and empathetic.
The other component, “imagery,” reflects how well your practice meets the needs of your clients on a psychological level. Make sure all touchpoints with clients are consistent to build strong, positive, and accurate brand associations in the mind of consumers. Brand elements should be consistent on your social media, website, and even physical office (if you have one).
Don’t underestimate the power of a curated, value-adding social media feed and a pleasant smell in your office, for example. These small details add up and to create your “brand personality” and can help make your patient’s experiences a lot more enjoyable.
- What about you?
This question addresses the “judgments” and “feelings” of your patients.
Patients will inevitably “judge“ your brand, but these judgments can be favorable. Typically, judgments fall into the following categories.
- Quality: What is the quality of your practice? Consider participating in training courses that will continuously boost your knowledge as a health practitioner and the quality of your services.
- Credibility: Does your brand reflect expertise, trustworthiness, and likability? Showcase your qualifications as a health professional. Furthermore, work on delivering a trustworthy service and likable interactions.
- Consideration: Do your services address the needs of your clients? Remember, your message will never resonate with every single person out there. So instead, work on strengthening your USP to assist your target patient directly.
- Superiority: How do your services compare to those offered by competitors? Once again, focus on developing your offerings and knowledge to stand out from the competition.
Your brand can also affect the way that your patients “feel.” If you are a professional in a health-related field, consider developing messages that promote feelings of warmth and security in your clients.
- What about you and me?
The last question in the model represents the relationship that you have developed with your patient. Your goal is to build “resonance” with your client so that your relationship is meaningful and long-lasting.
You want your clients to keep booking your service (behavioral loyalty), love your brand (attitudinal attachment), feel a sense of community (if applicable), and actively engage with your brand and services.
Consider offering special discounts for returning customers or giving out gifts. For example, if you are a health coach that focuses on sleep optimization, giving clients free sleep masks can help boost the patient-practitioner relationship. Again, these small details can quickly add up.
Achieving “resonance” is easier said than done. Nevertheless, it is achievable with time, hard work, and by addressing the previously mentioned questions. Start implementing the CBBE model into your strategy, and your brand and relationship with clients are likely to thrive.