Be so good they can’t ignore you. That’s a famous quote by Steve Martin. It’s one of my favorite quotes and one I try to instill upon my kids (sports, academics, etc.)
For this week’s tip I would like to focus on brand building. I’ve come to appreciate the value of having a strong professional AND personal brand. This is especially true for ODs in small communities. Let’s define brand as a combination of how you present yourself and your business through the various means of communication and of how people remember you after you have provided the service. Without having a strong brand, it’s easy for people to ignore you in the same way you might drive past 5 restaurants to stop at the one you recognize. Brand matters.
Below are some suggestions for building your brand. As you are reading these, I would like you to consider the word “credibility”.
Get interviewed. Contact local newspapers, radio stations or television outlets and inquire on opportunities to be interviewed on your area of specialty.
Get published. Contact publications about opportunities to submit articles. There are also opportunities to write for optometric publications and share with your patient base.
Lecture. Explore opportunities to lecture at local events. These can even be small opportunities such as local sports teams or civic clubs.
Write a book. Me, write a book? Why not? I’ve written three. Each one started with a morning writing habit of putting 300 words down on paper. Within a few months you can have a book worthy manuscript. It’s easy to self-publish books these days, and relatively inexpensive to have a book designed and formatted. How impressive will it be to patients who walk into your office and see your book sitting at the front desk?
Start a podcast. Podcasts are digital audio files that can be recorded and downloaded on the Internet. There are several user-friendly platforms available. Eye care can be a dry topic, but if you can put an interesting and entertaining twist on it, people will tune in.
Create video. Years ago, video required a professional film crew. Today it requires hitting record on your smartphone. Video is a great way to humanize your brand and tell your story.
Share the content above on your distribution channels – website, newsletter, social media, etc. Remember, this is about NOT being ignored! This is about becoming a known, credible entity in your community.
Too often what I see are great clinicians and practice owners who have a lot to say, but fail to actually say it. You’re a name on a long list of providers, but not a “brand” in the eyes of the people in your community. What are you passionate about? What do you want to be known for in your community? What makes you different than the competition? Why do your loyal patients drive past 5 practices to get to yours? If you have a story to tell, then tell it.
Be so good they can’t ignore you.
Dr. Vargo serves as Optometric Practice Management Consultant for IDOC. A published author and speaker with more than 15 years clinical experience, he is now a full-time consultant advising ODs in all areas of practice management and optometric office operations. For questions or comments about this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.