Article Date: 2/1/2006

view from the top
A Soup with Attitude
Advertising is one area where it pays to be repetitive.
GARY GERBER, O.D.
ILLUSTRATION BY JOHN SCHREINER

"M'm! M'm! Good!" — Yes, it's the Campbell's soup slogan and it's been used for more than 75 years. The power of this advertising slogan is due in part to its repetitive use. After three quarters of a century, the message has never wavered. Yes, even with 710mg of sodium in its tomato soup, it's still, "M'm! M'm! Good!" Steadfast and rock solid, through good times or bad, the message never changes. Indeed, Campbell's has its soup together and believes in its products. The never wavering message exudes brand confidence and shows no identity crisis. Campbell's is not only soup; it's soup with attitude!

Consistency is key

Practitioners can learn from this example as well as countless others. If Chevy is "Like a Rock," and Coke "is it," what are you? If this week your newspaper ad headline says, "We treat you like a member of our family" and next week it reads, "New contact lenses available," you're not sending out a consistent and repetitive message. The risk of not doing so, regardless of the message, is that prospective patients may view your practice as lacking direction and firm grounding. After all, if you can't decide who you are, if you're not sure of your own identity, consumer logic goes on to say, "How can I?" More importantly, if you're practice is that unsure of itself, "How good a doctor can you be?"

Sending a consistent and repetitive message to your current and prospective patients as well as staff, is a key ingredient in branding your practice. More than a logo, your brand is your practice's identity. The Ritz Carlton has a logo, but that's not the key component to its brand. The same goes for BMW or Apple. The key point to all of these companies' logos is that their message never varies. This, in and of itself, gives their brands attitude and credibility.

Recipe for success

Here's how to put this concept into practice in your office.

Let's say your brand is focused on providing a high level of customer service and attentiveness for your patients. This message should not only come through loud and clear in any marketing, but also in office policies. For example, it would be contrary to this brand to conduct a promotion in your optical that openly and aggressively promotes, "Buy your second pair today and receive a $30 discount." More importantly, setting up a promotion with your staff that focuses on this special would be counter-productive.

Put yourself in the shoes (or better yet in our case, look through the eyes) of your new patient. After seeing your ad in the paper espousing the benefits of working with your office — namely caring, personalized, non-hurried care, a new patient enters your office. After being cordially, quickly and expertly greeted by a smiling staff member, he has a seat in your lobby. Starting to absorb your brand and buy into it, he is stopped dead in his tracks. Screaming at him from across your dispensary is your sign, "Buy your second pair today and receive a $30 discount." Disillusioned on some deep subconscious level, this patient won't leave your practice, he won't bad mouth you or express any obvious level of disappointment, but a distinctive disconnect has been formed. While in the dispensary, with your staff discussing alternatives for a second pair of glasses, the patient's subconscious calls out to them, "Wait a minute! That's not why I'm here! Stop!"

Choose your office-branding concept very, very carefully. And when you do, like Campbell's and other companies, employ tenacious bull-doggedness in sticking to your core message. Then, enjoy the profits of your new attitude!

DR. GERBER IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE POWER PRACTICE, A COMPANY SPECIALIZING IN MAKING OPTOMETRISTS MORE PROFITABLE. LEARN MORE AT WWW.POWERPRACTICE.COM OR CALL DR. GERBER AT (800) 867-9303.



Optometric Management, Issue: February 2006