Private Practices

Building your physician private practice brand starts with research

Len Strazewski , Contributing News Writer

Get to know your patients, their community and their medical needs. Then help them get to know you.

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The AMA is fighting to keep private practice a viable option for physicians. We're working to remove unnecessary burdens so physicians can reclaim the time they need to focus on patients. 

Building a brand for your physician private practice takes more than buying advertising space in a local publication. It takes research, according to the marketing and branding experts of Springboard Brand and Creative Strategy in suburban Chicago.

The two brand mavens from Springboard recently offered their insights in an AMA STEPS Forward® Innovation Academy webcast.

“Most brands have an inherent difference and a distinct advantage—you just have to look for it,” according to Rob Rosenberg, Springboard’s president and brand director.

Those differences help form a unique story that practices can use to differentiate themselves and communicate their competitive value, Rosenberg said during an online education session that is part of the AMA Private Practice Simple Solutions series of free, open-access rapid-learning cycles that provide opportunities to implement actionable changes that can immediately increase efficiency in private practices. 

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To help differentiate your physician private practice, identify your strengths and distinctive attributes, Rosenberg said, and assess patient and community needs. Also, conduct a competitive review of your market.

Put together this basic information and use it to construct a unique and relevant story that illuminates your practice in the best public light, he suggested.

Springboard Senior Strategist Donna Arbogast suggested that practice managers work with their teams to identify aspects of the practice that distinguish it from others. For example, is there a service or specialization that you would like to offer your patients?

“What sets you apart?” Arbogast said. “Why are you a better choice than your competitors?”

To understand that, you will have to understand your patients and community needs, she explained, and that will require building a profile of your patients and exploring their demographics. Does the population of your community require any special services or consideration? Are there any special patient populations you would like to reach?

It takes astute clinical judgment as well as a commitment to collaboration and solving challenging problems to succeed in independent settings that are often fluid, and the AMA offers the resources and support physicians need to both start and sustain success in private practice.

Market research is also important, Rosenberg added, and can help expand the picture of your patients and their needs. “Are you aligned with your patients’ needs?” he asked.

As your physician private practice proceeds to identify its brand, patient experience surveys can yield new insights. Arbogast recommended that physician private practices develop surveys to keep track of their progress with patients.

Using this body of information, practices can build a platform of outreach, they said, using public and community relations to make their practice prominent in their area, they said.

Finally, physician private practices should develop a digital as well as a social strategy, using a simple website to start.

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“Digital strategies are becoming a must-have for all organizations, including physician practices,” Rosenberg said. A website, after all, “is the go-to for your patients, those in your community, referral sources and other important audiences,” he said.

Most digital strategies begin with a website that can host a wide range of information, including your practice’s unique story and your key differentiators and what you have identified as community needs.

The website can also be a platform to host various kinds of content, including staff photos and biographies, descriptions of services, blogs and other thought-leadership articles and content. Most physician private practices should also consider creating a social media presence and can begin with Facebook and Instagram accounts that allow patients and staff to connect online.

“The social media posts should align with the unique story you have developed and determined to be most relevant and authentic,” Rosenberg said.

Want to take your marketing strategies to the next level? Sign up now for the next AMA Private Practice Simple Solutions session for advanced tips on marketing and branding, scheduled for Aug. 22.

Find out more about the AMA Private Practice Physicians Section, which seeks to preserve the freedom, independence and integrity of private practice.