“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
How do you take your mental health brand from weak to peak performance?
After over 20 years of branding medical practices like yours, we can tell you that it’s no easy walk in the park.
However, we have done our best to boil down our process into 5 simple steps.
These 5 steps will take you from discovering your unique mental health brand to managing it!
So let’s get started.
1. Understand What We Mean By “Brand”
When you hear the word “brand,” you might think of the Nike swoosh or the Apple icon or McDonald’s golden arches.
Although these visuals are part of their company’s brand, they are not the whole shebang–they are just logos.
As Jeff Bezos is famous for saying, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
This implies that a brand is much more than a logo.
It is, in fact, a perception.
What do people think about your mental health clinic? What do you think about your mental health clinic? What would you like people to think?
The answers to questions like these will help you home in on your brand and the logo you may want to use to represent it, which is why the next step of our branding process is a discovery meeting.
2. Conduct a Brand Discovery Meeting for Your Mental Health Clinic
The discovery meeting is where we dive deep into who you are and what you do to set the foundation for a strong mental health brand.
For a discovery meeting to go well, you must have all the key decision-makers in the room.
Please, please do not attempt to brand your mental health clinic without buy-in from executive leadership! The results can be disasterous, starting with a misinformed brand. Among the most important things you do for marketing your clinic, you should be the most unified across the board around your brand. Lack of brand integrity can destroy positive customer perception!
So get everybody on the same page.
Once you are all ready, sit down as a team and get comfortable asking the hard questions, like:
- What is the “elevator pitch” for our mental health clinic? As in, if we could describe us in two sentences or less, what would those sentences be?
- Our clinic should stand on the promises we make to our patients. What are those promises?
- Does the community have a particular perception about our mental health clinic? What is it, whether good or bad? What are our internal perceptions about our clinic? What would we like them to be?
- How are we different from our competition? Are we using more advanced technology? Is our service higher quality than others, albeit higher cost? Did our community change as a result of us coming to market?
- What are our mission, vision, and values?
Above all, be honest.
If you genuinely let this process play out like it should, you and your team will come away with some really clear direction for your brand.
3. Name Your Mental Health Clinic
Some folks reading this may already have a name for their mental health clinic, others may not.
Whatever situation you are in, this section will provide some great information on naming best practices.
Brand discovery meetings have a habit of giving you a great starting place for coming up with a name.
Maybe there were some words that you used to describe your mental health clinic that just, clicked.
If not, here are a few other ways names can be born:
- What names are your competitors–or better yet, mental health clinics like yours in other markets–using? Although you do not want to be a copycat, getting a feel for your industry’s naming conventions can breed some helpful ideas.
- Is there a particular doctor at your practice who already has a great reputation in your community? Awesome! Consider using his or her name for the clinic.
- Many mental health clinics use their location (city, state, or region) in their name.
One of our favorite ways of coming up with names is pulling out an old-fashioned thesaurus.
If there are themes or ideas that resonate with us, we enter them in the online thesaurus search bar and see what comes up.
Several of our clients have fantastic names that came about this way!
Create a Brand Tagline for Your Mental Health Clinic
A tagline is a wonderful thing.
The right tagline can set the tone for all your future messaging campaigns.
So how do you nail it right off the bat?
Hearken back to your brand discovery meeting.
Most of the time, the name we come up with is the result of narrowing in on a much longer concept.
If you have a wordy concept like this, consider tweaking it until it strikes a chord as a catchy tagline.
If not, you may need to expand on the idea that you developed for your name in the brand discovery meeting.
Sit down with your team and go deeper with your questions until you have enough material for a tagline.
4. Pick the Right Icons, Colors, and Fonts for Your Brand
If you are not naturally artistic, you may be breaking out in sweats as you read the headline of this section.
You don’t need to be a creative to understand the visual world.
At the end of the day, the right visuals are the ones that align with your ideal perception for the mental health clinic.
What does that alignment look like?
Well, a lot of it comes down to how the things we see make us feel.
For example, do you want people to feel comforted or relieved by your services?
Then, as we will talk about in a minute, you probably want to use the color blue in your logo.
If you are in touch at all with your emotions, or even just your gut instinct or good judgment, this should be a breeze.
Get a Grasp of Meaningful Brand Iconography
Among the components of a logo, the icon is the most recognizable (the Nike swoosh is an icon, but not the full logo).
The icon is the part of the logo that uses form or shapes to convey something about your mental health clinic.
It may communicate something about your name, your location, or your mission.
An excellent, concrete example is the logo we created for Juneau Youth Services (JYS).
JYS is a mental health service for youth and their families.
JYS seeks to inspire freedom and hope for the future in their participants.
For this reason and because JYS is located in Juneau, Alaska, we chose to use mountains and an eagle (representing freedom along the journey) in their icon.
There are few things more satisfying than an icon that communicates exactly what it is supposed to.
Some stellar places to look for icon ideas include Pinterest (conduct a search for mental health logos and see what you think) and The Noun Project, a collection of icon art sourced from creatives all over the world.
Pinterest is also a fun way to create and share boards of icon ideas with your team for collaboration.
Find the Right Feel for Your Mental Health Clinic with Colors
As we mentioned earlier, colors create feelings in us.
This is very important to be aware of as you could totally get your brand colors spot on or completely miss the mark and communicate something to your patients that you did not intend!
You can read the full article on emotions associated with colors or take a look at our snapshot here:
- Red – Every one of the various shades of red carries a different meaning. If you want, you can convey, “temptation,” “stop and pay attention,” “warning,” “danger,” “celebration,” “love,” or “femininity” with the right red.
- Orange – Orange is a fun color that we (oddly enough) associate with our appetite for food! You can also use orange to communicate “light” and “life.”
- Yellow – Similar to orange, yellow bears the qualities of light and warmth. It can also catch attention just like red. Gold yellow says “wealth,” “luxury,” and “rank.” Specific shades of yellow indicate joy, optimism, or comfort.
- Green – Above all, green has the most variation of shades, and therefore, emotional meanings! You can use green to say everything from “new beginnings” to “relaxation.”
- Blue – Feeling blue? Well, that doesn’t always mean sadness. Blue also speaks peace, tranquility, mystery, depth, and strength. We use it a lot in the health and wellness industry, so it may be the perfect primary color for your mental health clinic!
- Purple – Because purple is a combination of red and blue, it likes to flip-flop between emotional signals. A more reddish-purple may convey energy and intensity whereas a bluish-purple may communicate calm and loftiness.
- Brown – Are you a holistic mental health clinic? If so, you may want to consider brown in your logo. Brown communicates earth, wholesomeness, and the outdoors.
You will not be choosing just one color for your brand, but a couple to a few colors and shades.
To get your colors right and to make sure they go well together, use a tool like Adobe’s online color wheel.
We love this tool for how it automatically adjust your colors to go together based on the mathematical laws of color science!
Match Typography with the Brand Message You Want to Convey
There is one final step in the creation of your logo, and that is to find the right typeface for your name (and tagline if you have one!).
As you probably understand by now, the form that something appears in elicits a particular feeling in the viewer.
This is no different with fonts.
Maybe you have seen this popular meme on Reddit before:
Clearly, the first note is saying something entirely different from the second despite the fact that they are both using exactly the same words.
Find a font that tells you what your name and/or tagline are telling you without using words.
A great way to do this is to browse Google Fonts.
You can actually enter your name or tagline in this responsive tool to view it in all of the free, downloadable fonts Google offers.
5. Manage Your Mental Health Clinic Brand
Finally, the last step in establishing a strong mental health brand! Brand management.
Even if you’ve come up with a solid name, found a winning icon, and matched these things with the perfect colors and fonts–if you do not put measures in place to protect your brand–all your hard work will come to nothing.
Create a simple style guide document for your team that lets them know how they can and cannot use your logo, colors and fonts.
So, how was that?
We’ve tried our best to make it simple!
Branding is an exciting journey and can lead to a lot of satisfaction, vision, and purpose for your mental health team when it is done right.
We hope that your clinic can take advantage of some of these practices and tools to produce something truly beautiful.
If you have any questions about our 5-step process along the way, we would love to chat. Give us a call!
On the other hand, if you are looking for a partner to guide you all the way through the branding process with full creative design and strategic support, we would be happy to set you up with a free consultation!