Rebranding in Aesthetics
On an almost daily basis I am contacted by established business owners informing me they are currently going through a REBRAND.
In discussion I always ask, “what was wrong with the old one?”, “Was business declining?”, I am often told “We’ve had the old logo for ages and it looks a bit dated”
When I ask, “What is the new brand proposition” the reply is more than always “high end” or “exclusive” which then prompts me to ask about their “External proposition” which inevitably leads to a discussion about their window display or external signage!
So what does REBRANDING really mean
I have come to realise that many professionals working in medical aesthetics have spent a long time becoming very skilled at skin and rejuvenation treatments but have spent little time on truly developing their businesses brands. In this article, we will discuss the importance of brand development to
· Motivate your team
· Increasing client retention, loyalty and word of mouth referral
· Creating a sustainable and scalable business
Let’s start with looking at what a BRAND really is. In its most literal sense a brand is a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name1 in medical aesthetics this could be a particular brand of Botulinum Toxin or Hyaluronic Acid filler or for professionals the product can easily be replaced by service such as the injection of these products.
It is therefore easy to understand why a business who decides to develop a new clinic name or logo would assume by doing so they are rebranding, the results of which can sometimes be very positive but on other occasions be quite frightening if not illegal. A simple Google search of Botox Clinic London reveals both, try it!
However, to truly develop a BRAND which can deliver the key 3 points in building a scalable or saleable business it is important to think of a BRAND at a more emotional level. Applying relevance to a medical aesthetics practice what Jerry McLaughlin outlines in Forbes Magazine 2, a brand is what your patients feel or think, when your clinic name is mentioned or they see your logo. We all have emotional relationships with products or services we have experienced and the most successful companies endure because the BRANDS they have created evoke positive emotional responses, the contrary is also true.
For me a great example of this was Talk Talk, a seemingly new company who offered a great low cost and fun all in one communication package. My emotional relationship was positive, I thought they were disruptive and offered great service, I was loyal and recommended everyone switch from other providers. Then they got hacked, then I got hacked, then my service failed, my emotional relationship changed forever and it appears looking at their share price I was not alone, between March 2010 when they launched and May 2015 their share price rose by almost 400% from £1.24 to £4.03 but by January 2016 it had plummeted to £1.94 3, the love affair was over because their external service proposition no longer matched the customer experience.
For all consumers of products or services, that’s what a BRAND is, it is the emotional intersection where your promise meets the consumers experience and that intersection can be good or bad depending on wither you deliver what you promise or not.
Where to begin with REBRANDING
If you are considering REBRANDING the first place to start is to ask why you need to REBRAND in the first place.
Here is a list of questions that may help
What is my current External Service Proposition?
How does that meet my current, most loyal patients experience?
What was the experience of my lapsed or lost patients?
What do my staff think our external service proposition is?
Can I reach a large enough demographic who would value my proposition?
Would my current external service proposition attract patients in a completely different town?
So what is an External Proposition and how can one be developed for a medical aesthetics service based business?
Wikipedia describes this as a promise of value to be delivered, communicated, and acknowledged. It is also a belief from the customer about how value (benefit) will be delivered, experienced and acquired.4
In my view this is often miscommunicated by many medical aesthetic businesses and the focus tends to be on products delivered or equipment in stock, just flick through your Facebook timeline and count the number of practitioners proudly showing off a new piece of expensive equipment. Googling Anti-ageing clinic London delivers 648,000 results in 0.86 seconds, I couldn’t spot one clinic offering a promise of service to be delivered, the vast majority have a list of treatments or products for sale.
A great example of a powerful value proposition that certainly works is, The Harley Street Skin Clinic,
“Look your best, feel your best, expect the best”5
Image used with permission of Lesley and Dr Aamer Khan
Whilst this is successful in Harley Street a similar promise may not work for everyone, your patients may not want the best and you may not be the best, it may be off putting as they may feel you would be too expensive or you may not feel confident enough to promise you are the best. This is fine!
What is it that you can promise to deliver that your patients are guaranteed to get but more importantly enough of them want?
Here are a few other key words patients may value:
However, if you do have something unique to offer that is in demand, your existing patients will tell you what it is, it may not be with you think!
It is worth remembering too that the greater the level of uniqueness you can offer to attract the largest cohort of patients, the more successful you are likely to be. This will also stave off competition, give you competitive leverage and allow you an advantage to get established for longer. “Look 10 years younger” is a promise not many can fulfil or unique yet it is still a prolific value proposition!
Implementing your external service proposition
When you have deeply understood what your patients love about you, why your lapsed patients left you and what those who have never considered using your services would need to know before they would choose you, you will be in a good place to consider wither you and your team are equipped to deliver a NEW VALUE PROPOSITION, this may involve retraining, coaching and in some instances recruiting.
It is crucially important that the INTERNAL COMMUNICATION is clear to all members of your team and that they know what promise they need to deliver.
This includes external suppliers who engage with your clients directly or indirectly. There is little point in developing a promise that is only offered to some patients at some touch points by some staff members or suppliers.
Increasing client retention, loyalty and word of mouth referral
Staff who know what they must promise and who are well trained to deliver on this promise will be happy, retained and more productive, or you have the wrong staff, the wrong service proposition, poor communication or poor development strategies in place.
When your team is delivering on a promise that your patients value, they will remain loyal, they will bring their friends and you will have a sustainable business! This is well documented by Harvard Business School in the Service Profit Chain6
How to maximise growth
Now that you have your promise and are delivering on it, your staff are empowered and have high job satisfaction and patients are referring their friends in droves, the job is only half done.
Do you have a business plan in place?
I am amazed at the number of businesses, that get by from month to month with short term tactical plans or a few bullet points in a note pad. Some may well know the difference in sales from one year to the next but have no idea on what is driving sales, what is profitable and what is loss making!!
What are your KPI’s to measure your REBRANDING project?
5 Squirrels Example of Clinic Daily KPI’s
It comes as a surprise to many when the initial influx of new patients begins to dry up and seasonality or the economy is the only rationale they can offer.
To drive and maintain the initial growth from all your hard work at very least a full 12 month business plan should be put in place, if you are considering scaling or exiting a 5 year plan must be in place!
REBRANDING in medical aesthetics is not something to be taken lightly, a new logo or buying a new reception desk are only elements of your brands anatomy, Rebranding is redefining your businesses core promise to its intended customers. It is a thorough, lengthy and often expensive process which involves every member of your team and every touch point you have with your patients or intended target audience.
When done well it will set you apart, it will set your business up for success but must be maintained with a solid plan.
Gary Conroy has worked in the business of medical aesthetics for 15 years and is highly experienced in bringing new products to market and relaunching & rebranding brands which had previously not met their full potential. He is co-founder of 5 Squirrels Ltd who support individual professionals who work in medical aesthetics and medical aesthetic practices to launch and develop their own brand skincare, grow & scale.