Businesses in the medical field are often far more concerned with helping people than they are with branding, marketing, or aesthetics, which is often why you end up seeing so many medical brands sharing similar traits. There are certain familiar colors and styles that scream, “Healthcare!” and designers may tend to cling to the familiar to easily communicate such a point.
When your branding stands out and resonates with your audience, the business benefits. Conversely, branding that is generic may get overlooked and messaging that is lacking content or does not resonate with the target market inhibits business growth. If you want your businesses to stand out from all the other medical practices on your block, you’ll need to play the part with both look and messaging.
So how do you master the perfect mix of branding strategy and logo design for a business in the medical field? Why is this even important in the first place? Before you can conquer the obstacle of good branding, you’ll need to understand how to balance design and communications in your strategy.
The Importance of Good Branding
In any business, regardless of the field, branding is a deciding factor in how a company is perceived and, ultimately, in whether it is successful in the market. Branding and logo design for healthcare and medical is even more important in creating the reputation of practices, organizations and device manufacturers. As mentioned, medical and healthcare companies can sometimes blend together with similar and familiar branding and messaging choices. When you look or sound like the rest, it becomes less and less likely for people to choose your business over somebody else’s.
When it comes down to it, people buy into brands, not companies. Your internal processes, product line and the services being offered are important, but people won’t even begin to pay attention to them if you have an unappealing brand or untrustworthy messaging.
Your brand needs to communicate the value and quality of your business so that others will trust that you are worth working with. This goes for patients and especially for healthcare partnerships. A great example is with research programs such as Cedar-Sinai and Amgen or strategic partnerships like that of Palomar Health and Arch Health. Having a strong brand, a specialty, a great reputation can give you a leg up in creating new collaborations.
When it comes to your customers, remember that as a healthcare or medical company, these people will be trusting you with their health and possibly with their lives. Patients and doctors will not want to be associated with a company that isn’t trustworthy. This is true for all fields, but it is especially true here. Good branding creates a standard of trust and this leads to loyal customers and synergistic business relationships.
Medical Practice Branding Tips
As an organization or business within the healthcare industry, your brand is important. In fact, to the potential patient it’s just as important as the medical purpose of your business. Working on your brand perception is how you can foster positive experiences with your patients that can help your organization or practice grow. That’s because medical branding doesn’t just mean developing a strong logo, it flows through each point of contact and every piece of communication to develop strong messaging that relays feelings of trust, safety, comfort and familiarity. Here are some tips on finding out the best way to formulate messaging that supports your brand.
Define Your Audience
Know who you’re targeting with your brand. Do you know who your patients are? Do you have a set of likely patient personas to appeal to? Keep your target audience in mind while developing a branding strategy. This will again help you with your messaging and allow you to better understand, and meet the needs of your customer or patient. This is true for practices focused on providing care, and for medical product brands focused on meeting consumer needs with consumer medical products or doctors needs with medical grade equipment. It’s universally helpful to develop these audience personas to shape the things that you talk about, your signage, print circulars, emails, and every point of communication.
Listen to the People
To build a strong, positive brand, you’ll need to listen to your target market. Understand what they want and understand how they’re perceiving your business. Read your online reviews and respond to them thoughtfully. Acknowledge any issues that may be brought up in these reviews. Put out surveys for your patients and staff and utilize this feedback to create better messaging and communications strategies. For instance, learning how your patients feel about the waiting room experience, comfort of the examination room, ease of booking and other aspects can help you develop messaging for your brand that delivers the right information when patients need it. That can help you increase patient satisfaction and trust and communicate the patient experience effectively to potential patients.
Don’t Try to Do Everything
Remember that you can only do so much, even as a large organization. By narrowing your brand to focus on solving a select set of problems, you’ll be more memorable to those in need of that solution. If you are a large hospital, creating niche brands for each specialty area can help create a perception of expertise. When you try to do everything under a single brand, it’s harder for your customers to remember exactly what makes you stand out. On top of that, the quality of work can be affected when spreading yourself across too many services.
Designing Your Logo
While a brand consists of more than visual elements, your medical logo design is definitely the most important part for first impressions. This is what people will think of when they picture your company. Your logo is what will be recognized on billboards or ads, and it’s what will make you stand out in people’s minds. Your logo and visual branding can also be used on a number of other materials, like letterheads, posters, banners, web graphics, print materials and other applications in a branding package and style guide.
In most cases, the purpose of a logo is to stand out and be different. For most businesses, you want your logo to be interesting and something nobody has seen before. In the medical and healthcare field, however, this may not be the case. Other aspects such as familiarity, cleanliness and recognizable color schemes may take priority. Creating a logo that is too creative may draw away from the important emotions that you are hoping to conjure with your audience.
Keep Color in Mind
The first thing you’ll want to consider with medical logo design is color. You might think that you have a rainbow of colors to choose from, but that might not work here. In fact, some colors just flat out won’t work for a medical logo. For example, think of the color brown. Have you ever seen a medical or healthcare business with a brown logo and left with a good impression?
The most popular colors used in medical and healthcare logos are blue, black, white, green, grey, and red. With that said, some of those colors might work better for a certain business than others will. For example, most medical practices will use blue. These businesses deal with life and death and actual treatments, which is why they use the trusting and secure color blue. On the other hand, CVS uses red in their logo, which works because the bold color draws customers into retail locations and drugstores to purchase products. It also has a connotation of first aid and a medical application.
Communicating Your Business Size
Large hospitals or medical facilities will have a different logo and branding needs than a smaller practice. Larger businesses will need to seem more professional and corporate, while smaller practices will need to seem more personal, warm, and welcoming.
You can accomplish this with the right iconography, choosing a legible font type and by steering away from more abstract symbols. Those may fit best with larger organizations that are able to develop stronger awareness and more frequent impressions. With a dentist’s office or doctor’s practice, it may be best to use a logo design that utilizes the practices name and icon as a combination mark. For more info on choosing the type of logo, see our article on essential logo design styles.