Marketing Idea No. 125 – Branding Doctors

While the number of diagnostic centers and hospitals are increasing, confidence on the doctors is taking a nosedive in the country. AMong the care-seekers, the lucky ones are travelling abroad. The unlucky ones are the survivors who have lived to tell a medical horror story, one more harrowing than the other.

Isnt it high time that doctors do some serious soul searching? Branding can do little to improve the actual quality of the doctors. But those who are the good ones stuck in the medical quagmire, here is the solution.

Brand out to stand out.

Its a common practice abroad. Professional service firms regularly advertise and build strong brands. Its a common scenario among lawyers. Considering the country-wide prevalent negative perception about doctors, the ones who really practice the good art of healthcare can differentiate themselves by doing some branding of their own.

Its not such a radical practice at all, considering the fact that almost all of us are always asking for recommendations regarding which doctor to visit. And whenever there is scope for creating some good recommendations, there is scope for word of mouth marketing, hence branding.

So far the only kind of marketing the doctors are interested in are the neon signboards in front of their chamber with the innumerous degrees. By looking at it, is it possible to tell the good ones from the bad ones? But if you are really good, if you have a bunch of happy patients who are really satisfied in your work, why not use these happy patients as a media? Why not facilitate them by helping them spread the word around on beahlf of you? Why not invite them in a social event? Why not keep a database of them, assign someone to regularly call these people and check on their health? Why not create a small demonstrative video advising people in different preventive measures and show this video in different places? Why not create a word of mouth-able slogan and spread it around?

While these are just drops in the vast ocean of activities that doctors can do to position themselves as attractive brands, it does not take away the importance of the fact good doctors are few and far between. And if the good ones come out and brand themselves, it will be beneficial for him as well as the patients who can actively find him through such branding. 

Then maybe, just maybe, we no longer have to suffer in the hands of a bad doctor.

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9 Comments

  1. Dangerous, dangerous marketing ideas in this thread. You’re obviously not aware that doctors have to abide by strict, important and necessary ethical guidelines with regards to marketing and advertising.

    “If you have a bunch of happy patients who are really satisfied in your work, why not use these happy patients as a media?”

    A: Testimonials are the hallmark of medical quackery (see Pro Activ advertisements).

    “Why not facilitate them by helping them spread the word around on beahlf of you?”

    A: They already do this through word of mouth and recommendations.

    “Why not invite them in a social event?”

    A: Because this would be a massive breach of ethical guidelines and particularly those pertaining to dual relationships. Totally inappropriate.

    “Why not keep a database of them, assign someone to regularly call these people and check on their health?”

    A: Because this is also totally inappropriate and having someone ELSE call them is a breach of doctor patient confidentiality.

    Why not create a word of mouth-able slogan and spread it around?

    A: Dr Phil is a slogan and he has absolutely no credibility in the psychology and psychiatry establishments (although he’s made a lot of money).

    Competent doctors get referrals from colleagues and other health care professionals. Competent doctors also have clients that return for subsequent consultions. Bad doctors are discredited by colleagues and their patients through bad word of mouth. Moreover, if they transgress seriously enough, they get de-registered.

    There are strict regulations surrounding doctor advertising for a reason and namely, it’s to keep people from making questionable claims of competence. Moreover, most doctors aren’t faced with a lack of clients.

  2. well……..buying contraceptives using vending maschines r almost in practice since long time.infact the educational institutes abroad including our very dear neighbour country’s one r havin these maschines in their campus n specially near to hostels.its an idea which didnt cum 4m dlongest marketing idea chain in d world.

  3. Actually when it comes to doctors its still the word of mouth that brings confidence among the patients. As for so called “branding” themselves in the western way, i would not go to a doctor who claims “i have done 10,000 successful heart operations last year”. Let me tell you why.
    First of all in our culture we would consider it as Boasting of the doctor or perhaps the doctor is just “running after money”.
    Second, a doctor who spends money on branding himself sure has to be loud enough to woo customers to him. Will a loud and boisterous doctor win a prospects confidence?
    Moreover, a doctor who brands himself must be making his patients pay xtra for his promotional xpenses.

  4. very intersting discussion. I just want to share some observations:

    1) why do doctors have to post a “uchoshikharte/speaker hisebe/paper porte bideshjatra” advertisement in the classified sections of newspapers?
    2) why do they need to display all the degrees starting from MBBS, FCPS, FRCP, MD (with name of the place) with their current/ex official job (attachemnt to government/private hospital) just outside their chambers
    3) Number 2 in their prescription paper?
    4) Why do we see the most of the private consultants and clinics around a major health establishment?

    Is Visibility and self-promotion not the key here?

    I like ot know about the so called strict advertisement and others rules doctors ahve to follow? Are those written or only ethical? If those are written, can someone povide me a copy or link? if those are ethical, then there is no point in dicussion: we already know how ethical most of them actually are!

  5. very intersting discussion. I just want to share some observations:

    1) why do doctors have to post a “uchoshikharte/speaker hisebe/paper porte bideshjatra” advertisement in the classified sections of newspapers?
    2) why do they need to display all the degrees starting from MBBS, FCPS, FRCP, MD (with name of the place) with their current/ex official job (attachemnt to government/private hospital) just outside their chambers
    3) Number 2 in their prescription paper?
    4) Why do we see the most of the private consultants and clinics around a major health establishment?

    are Visibility and self-promotion not the key here?

    I like ot know about the so called strict advertisement and others rules doctors ahve to follow? Are those written or only ethical? If those are written, can someone povide me a copy or link? if those are ethical, then there is no point in dicussion: we already know how ethical most of them actually are!

  6. Curious… our company uses a combination of the doctors skills, personality, and their ability to connect with a person to create a unique video Q&A. These online “interviews” are used to build trust with potential patients and attract them to their practice. I don’t see anything wrong with a physician putting themselves out there in an authentic, non-sales-pitch way. Do you? Here is an example: http://www.vsona.com/drmaloney

  7. That is a nice page Bill. Looks very professional and with non-sale-pitch content.

    I would be really interested in seeing and reading more the claimed advertising Rules and Regulations ‘T-Money’ claimed physicians have to abide by. Does anybody know anything about that? Any Comments?

  8. I like the idea of the follow up “Why not keep a database of them, assign someone to regularly call these people and check on their health?”.
    Also the demonstrative video for things like first aid sounds great- “Why not create a small demonstrative video advising people in different preventive measures and show this video in different places”

    Other than that, the whole concept of branding doctors sounds scary. Already, it’s hard to find a good doctor in Bangladesh. Once. someone has been named a “good doctor”. He is flooded with patients. I used to go to the “best” skin specialist in bangladesh. He had so many pateinst from all over the country that we had to wait 3-4 hours to see him. Then when I got in he looked at me for 2 minutes and passed me over to his assistant and told him what to do.

    So, I would say our doctors should focus more on improving their service than branding themselves. There’s a lot of that going on anyways,

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