How do I start building my brand?

Derm Authority

We asked Derm Authority to answer your burning questions on building your own brand and what lessons were learned in the first years of practice.  Read for expert answers below!

Dear Derm Authority,

Q: How do I start building my brand?

Every successful brand has a creative personal logo, business card, website, or landing page at minimum, and social media accounts. These all need to be branded with the same information across all mediums. Make sure it is easy to contact you. If you join a group or academia, they may provide you with some of these items.

We recommend that you do all these yourself, as each dermatologist is a brand. Decide what makes you distinct, what you want to focus on and what type of patients you want to attract. This can be in collaboration with your employer, addition to, or on your own.

It is essential to have an online, email campaign and social media strategic plan. You can start out doing it yourself, assign a staff member, or hire an outside company. To ensure success we recommend building relationships referral sources with: physicians, hair salons, gyms, personal trainers, and local retail shops. Don’t forget to include local news and media outlets.

Suneel Chilukuri, MD believes that the best form of marketing is word of mouth.  In addition to taking great care of your patients (who naturally become your brand advocates), consider speaking at health fairs, church retreats, and rotary club meetings.  Helping with free skin cancer screenings also provides the opportunity to meet potential patients while also providing an excellent service to your community. Another place to do skin cancer screenings are within large corporations’ offices. And ensure all employees are notified of the event. It is great exposure. If possible, try to get the employee email list.

Another way to grow your brand is to create your own events at the practice, local hospitals, or where your target patient audience would be. At all events bring branded goodie bags, sign up lists to collect names and email addresses, business cards, materials about you and the practice, and someone who can schedule appointments on the spot

Q: What were the most important lessons learned during my first years in practice?

Answered by: Suneel Chilukuri, MD

Most people who have self-selected to become a physician have the natural inclination to want to help everyone.  One of the most important lessons is to truly understand that is a patient-physician relationship is exactly what it says — a relationship.  It is a two-way communication.  You will occasionally find that you may not be the right fit for that particular patient or that patient may realize you are not the right fit for him or her.  Embrace Abe Lincoln’s comment:  you can please all of the people some of the time and you can please some of the people all of the time but you cannot please all of the people all of the time.  Remember that you have the opportunity to not accept a patient.

Q: Do you think it’s necessary to hire and/or have on retainer a publicist or a PR firm, particularly if you are in a bigger city such as NYC?

Answered by: Suneel Chilukuri, MD

I believe that the best form of marketing is word of mouth.  In addition to taking great care of your patients (who naturally become your brand advocates), consider speaking at health fairs, church retreats, and rotary club meetings.  Helping with free skin cancer screenings also provides the opportunity to meet potential patients.  While also providing an excellent service to your community.

Q: When making videos for YouTube or other web sources, did you use your phone or special camera equipment?

Answered by: Suneel Chilukuri, MD

The basic setup for creating semi-professional videos includes a mobile phone which contains a 4K or 1080p camera. Commonly found on the iPhone 6 and above and most Android devices. In addition, invest in a lavaliere microphone ($15-20), a tripod with phone holder ($20-$100), 5000K lights ($35-$1000), and a backdrop ($10-$100).  All of these items can be ordered on Amazon and shipped directly to you.  Remember to take the video utilizing the landscape mode.  You will find that you have the flexibility to sit and create great recordings at your leisure. 

Do you have a question you would like Dear Derm Authority to answer?Email us at [email protected] with the Subject line, Dear Derm Authority.

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