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Does Your Practice Project a Cohesive Image?

Wendy S. Myers
Communication Solutions
1905 E. Mountain Sage Drive
Highlands Ranch, CO 80126
(720) 344-2347 office
(509) 277-4088 fax
wmyers@mycommunicationsolutions.com
www.mycommunicationsolutions.com

Seminar Overview

When was the last time you took a serious look at your newsletter, business cards, signage, web site, stationery, invoices, and other tools with your practice name or logo? Get advice on creating a consistent practice image, including how to write a communication plan for your hospital; ways to project a consistent, confident image; and tips for a do-it-yourself communication audit.

What you’ll learn:

•  Get advice on creating a consistent practice image

•  Tips for a do-it-yourself communication audit

•  Tools you can use to effectively market your professional services

Understanding your practice image

•  35% of our daily communication experiences are verbal

•  65% are non-verbal

•  Which of these two practices projects a confident, professional image?

Non-verbal communication

•  Reinforces, complements and repeats verbal communication

Exercise: List 10 items that feature your practice name and/or logo

1. __________________________________________________________

2. __________________________________________________________

3. __________________________________________________________

4. __________________________________________________________

5. __________________________________________________________

6. __________________________________________________________

7. __________________________________________________________

8. __________________________________________________________

9. __________________________________________________________

10. _________________________________________________________

What do your clients see?

Your Practice Image includes:

1.  Logo

2.  Newsletter

3.  Invoice

4.  Business card

5.  Health alert postcard or reminder cards

6.  Letterhead (targeted direct-mail letters)

7.  Client-education handouts

8.  Advertisements

9.  In-clinic posters

10.  Brochure

11.  Condolence card

12.  Press release

13.  Web site

14.  Practice sign

15.  Uniforms for doctors and staff

16.  Prescription labels

What else? _______________________________________________________

Why image is important

Clients judge your practice by its look and quality of care, so your logo, newsletter, brochure, invoices and every communication tool should be dressed to impress.

What is a communication audit?

•  A "50,000-foot view" to identify ways to strengthen the overall image of your practice

•  Examines colors, logo, tagline and other visual elements

•  Conduct an audit annually to ensure your image is consistent and strive to make continuous improvements

How to conduct a communication audit

1.  Conduct a visual audit

2.  State your practice’s business objectives

3.  Define your credibility traits and uniqueness

Source: The Power of Logos by William L. Haig and Laurel Harper Haig (ITP, 1997)

1.  The visual audit

Looking credible means all areas of public contact must be utilized to develop a powerful marketing communications system.—The Power of Logos

•  Gather all materials with your practice name and/or logo. Photograph images you can’t physically gather (signs, scrubs, vehicles, etc.). If your name is on it, include it in the audit.

•  Spread items on a table or post them on a bulletin board

•  View how areas of public contact are working together (or not working) as a unified communication message

2.  Your business objectives

•  Write your practice goals for 1, 5 or up to 10 years. This is what your marketing communication system will help achieve.

•  Write SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound)

•  Brainstorm ideas with your entire team

Exercise: Write one SMART goal for your practice__________________________

__________________________________________________________________

3.  Define your uniqueness

•  Credibility has two major prongs: expertise and trustworthiness

•  Use a questionnaire to define your practice image (see example)

•  Consider a client survey to double-check your public image

Helpful hints

1.  Logo

•  Does your current logo meet—or fail to meet—your practice objectives?

•  Simple—able to enlarge to fit on a sign, can easily fit on a business card or fax cover sheet, looks sharp on uniforms, lasts forever

•  Visual voice of your practice, reflecting its professionalism and credibility

•  Unique and eye-appealing

•  Reflects the heart and soul of your practice

•  Must adapt to pure black and white, grayscale and two colors

•  Hire a professional designer who can update your existing logo and suggest new designs that provide flexibility and affordable printing options

•  Choose "corporate colors." Select one or two colors to keep printing costs reasonable. Remember, printers consider black as a color, so a logo with green accents and black type is considered two colors.

2.  Newsletters

•  Publish quarterly

•  Prominently feature your logo, practice name and corporate colors

•  Articles should support your program-based education and marketing plans

•  Include visual images—photos, artwork, radiographs, etc.

•  Send to clients who visited within the last two years. Display extras in your reception area, use for tours and open house events.

3.  Business cards

•  Give every staff member a business card

•  Bulleted list of unique services

•  Phone number in color

4.  Client-education handouts

•  Include your logo, address, phone number, web site

•  Clean, crisp photocopies; color code if appropriate

•  Use the same font and point size

•  Appoint one person as the "handout caretaker"

•  Print a revision date in small type in the bottom corner so you know the information is current

•  Customize handouts using your veterinary software templates

5.  Brochures

•  Use your "corporate colors"

•  Research printing costs: 2 color vs. full color

•  Shelf life of 1 year—2 years at the most

•  Consider a folder that gives you the flexibility of affordable updates

•  Photos of people, pets and your team in action

•  Decide how you’ll use your brochure: phone shoppers, tours, new clients, prospective employees and associates, etc.

List the visual communication element that needs the most improvement in your practice. _______________________________________________________________________

A marketing communication audit will help you define your image and achieve your practice goals—letting you reach your full potential!

Questionnaire to define your practice image and uniqueness

1.  How would you describe your practice to someone who has no knowledge of its existence?

2.  Does this description accurately reflect how you’d like to be known?

3.  What is the mission of your practice?

4.  What are your short-term practice goals? Long-term?

5.  What are your dreams for your veterinary clinic?

6.  What do you see as obstacles to those achievements?

7.  What are the greatest strengths of your practice? Greatest weaknesses?

8.  How do you think the public perceives your practice?

9.  How do you differentiate your practice from others in your community?

10.  Define the audience that is the most important to you in terms of conveying a distinct image.

11.  What is your current practice image?

12.  In your opinion, does the public recognize this image?

13.  Describe one visual that would appropriately represent your practice.

14.  What do you want to achieve with your new image?

Wendy S. Myers is the former editor of Veterinary Economics. She owns Communication Solutions, a Denver-based consulting firm that helps practice owners and managers improve client service, marketing, newsletters, web sites and communication tools. She lectures at veterinary conferences nationwide on customer service, marketing, and practice management. You can reach her at 720/344-2347 or wmyers@mycommunicationsolutions.com.


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