By Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA
The 2016 presidential campaign season has begun, and there is one thing on every candidate’s mind: name identification. Although we are several months away from the first caucuses and well over a year out from the general election, any chance of of winning the favor of the general public starts with name identification—and for good reason.
Campaigns are—by definition—a popularity contest. He or she with the most votes wins, and rallying together a population, which aligns in favor of a single decision (read: vote), is no easy task. While substance and policy play an important role as voters cast their ballots months from now, the early phases of any campaign are dominated by emphasis on name recognition—for without awareness, policy falls on deaf ears.
Believe it or not, it is the same for us in the world of physical therapy marketing.
Despite the fact that you provide “the best” physical therapy in your market, others do, too—at least that is what they all tell your customers. Speaking on behalf of your bottom line, being the best only matters if you are well known. It is a popularity contest not just for our presidential candidates. It is for us as well.
This concept carries many titles—name identification, brand recognition, top-of-mind awareness (to name a few)—but the reality is the same. You have to be popular to win favor with the public, and it is important early in your campaign just as it is for those you will put into government office.
Start thinking of your own campaign in this way, and you will quickly be able to dissect and distinguish those marketing efforts that work from those that do not.
Here are a few tips that work for your candidates and can work for you as well:
- It is a numbers game. The number of times your brand (or name) is seen matters. Known in the marketing world as “impressions,” the name of the game is to attract, earn, or buy eyeballs. You want as many as you can get.
- Simplicity is key. When you are working on top-of-mind awareness, you will not get much time to explain why you are the best. Being the best is not what it is about. Being popular means being simple. Look to your candidates for examples of this.
- Hit them from all angles. A multichannel strategy, which positions your brand through as many touchpoints as possible, will beat a single-channel strategy any day of the week. You will find your candidates on television, radio, social media, print media, and more. How many angles are you using?
- Be consistent. Awareness is about recognition, and recognition requires that your market is able to recognize you—not countless versions of you. Be consistent with your look, feel, message, and naming to keep this element intact throughout your campaign.
Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA, lives at the intersection of physical therapy and entrepreneurship, spending his time helping physical therapists build and operate successful practices through his company, Vantage Clinical Solutions. He specializes in marketing, finance, and business planning, and authors and speaks regularly for the APTA and PPS. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.