Originally published by Sabrina Martinez, Content Manager. Updated and revised by Jennifer Gracey, Web Content Strategist & Writer on 06/15/23
Every business needs a solid brand — even therapists. If you’re offering in-person therapy or teletherapy services, potential clients need to know what sets you apart.
How can you ensure your mental health brand aligns with your goals as a therapist while effectively drawing people to your services? Start with identifying your mental health clinic’s story and mission then, translating that into eye-catching visual messaging statements.
Move the Needle: Go From Weak Brand to Peak Brand
How does one shift a mental health brand from weak to peak performance? In this how to guide, we’re sharing our brand development process. Including how we ideate strong mental health logos that encapsulate the heart of what our clients do.
Want our help creating a professional brand for your mental health clinic? Start with a free consultation.
Branding Your Private Practice: Go Beyond Your Logo
Before we delve into our behind-the-scenes process of brand development, it’s important to clarify what we mean by brand.
What’s a brand?
For many, the word brand brings to mind the following: Nike’s swoosh, Apple’s apple, McDonald’s golden arches, and Tesla’s ‘T’. Although these visuals are very much part of their companies’ brands, they’re not the brand itself. They’re only symbols that support overall brand identity.
Your clinic’s brand identity is multifaceted, encompassing multiple aspects of your business. It includes, among other things:
- your clinic’s name
- your specific niche within your industry
- your clinic’s values and mission
- your unique logo and colors
- your clinic’s messaging and tone
The answers to questions like the ones below will help you refine your brand identity and further shape the logo you use to represent it.
- What do people think about your clinic?
- What do you think about your clinic?
- What would you like people to think?
Visualize Your Brand With a Mental Health Brand Guide
A brand guide is a powerful tool informing team members and business partners how all the visual elements converge and support your mental health marketing efforts.
At Beacon, we create brand guides for clients when designing new mental health websites or for managing social media and paid advertising campaigns. Even for mental health clinics that already have an established brand — a brand guide is essential and sets the framework the work we do.
The guide below was for our client NYC Therapeutic Wellness, who we designed a logo and website for.
Now, if your clinic is just starting out or hasn’t yet established a brand, our process will help you discover your brand.
Want to work with a marketing company you can grow with? Learn more about our mental health marketing services.
4 Steps to Establish Your Mental Health Brand
How do you create a mental health brand from scratch? Or how can you refresh a stale or ineffective mental health logo? These four steps will lead you from the drawing board to a clear, promotion ready brand that you can use straight away.
1. Conduct a Brand Discovery Meeting
The discovery meeting is where we dive deep into who you are and what you do.
For a discovery meeting to go well, all the key decision-makers must be in the room. Ensure your mental health team is unified across the board around your brand. Lack of brand integrity can destroy positive customer perception, so this foundation laying meeting is important and everybody must be on the same page.
Ask Questions, Iron Out the Wrinkles
Sit down as a team and get comfortable answering deep questions about your mental health practice. Here are some to get you started:
- Do you have an elevator pitch? What is it? Describe your practice in one, two and three sentences.
- Do you have a brand promise? Your clinic should stand on the promises made to your patients. What are those promises?
- Does the community have a particular perception about your clinic? How to you want them to perceive your practice?
- How are you different from your competition? Are you using using more advanced technology? Is your service higher quality than others? Do you specialize in a specific niche or clientele profile?
- What are your mission, vision, and values?
2. Name Your Mental Health Clinic
Brand discovery meetings are a great starting place to brainstorm names for your mental health clinic — if you don’t already have one or you’re looking to change to a new one. Here are a few ways to flush out names:
- Get a feel for your industry’s naming conventions. This can breed helpful ideas. What names are your local competitors or other mental health clinics similar to yours using?
- Many clinics use location (city, state, or region) in their name. Is your business local and staying local? Do you serve a larger area? (Ex. NYC Therapeutic Wellness)
- Using a digital thesaurus is a Beacon favorite. When a theme or idea resonates, we enter it in the online thesaurus search bar and see what comes up.
- Do you have a specific niche? What is it? Many mental health providers name their practice after their specialization. This naming approach can help improve SEO. If someone searches “trauma therapy” or “family therapy” your practice may show up at the top of the list. (Ex. The Center for Grief and Trauma Therapy and Holistic Couples & Family Therapy)
When choosing a name, always check trademark rights. Search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to verify availability. Also verify there’s a suitable domain available for your future website. Tools like GoDaddy’s domain search bar show what’s taken and what’s available.
If you find a domain you like that’s available, and it’s being sold for a decent ammount, we recommend purchasing it right away. Domain names go fast. It’s better to purchase a domain name and not use it than risk of losing the one you want.
3. Create a Brand Tagline for Your Mental Health Clinic
A tagline is a short and sweet phrase that captures your brand in as few words as possible. Your tagline is a driving factor in how others view your practice. It also drives future messaging campaigns.
Crafting a catchy tagline is deceptively challenging. Trying to describe a brand creatively and succinctly in one line can sometimes be more difficult and time-consuming than writing an entire blog.
To make a great tagline, you want a memorable phrase that accurately represents your brand. Disneyland is a great example — everyone knows it’s the “The Happiest Place on Earth.”
These examples are from some of our Beacon clients:
- Dana Group: Mental Wellness for All
- Wayfinder Kennel: Alaska, Where Your Mind Turns to Mush
- South Anchorage Dental Center: Come as a Patient, Leave as Family
- Alaska Orthopedic Specialists: Getting You Back to Your Alaskan Lifestyle
How do you come up with a strong tag line?
Starting with a longer description of your brand and condensing it until you have a tagline is an easy approach. Identify the main thing you offer clients then, condense it into a single sentence or short phrase. Tweak the wording to make it more catchy if necessary.
A Case Study: Dana Group
Dana Group is a mental health clinic with over 50 mental health therapists. They cover (almost) every mental health service under the sun. Whether individual therapy and group sessions to medication management and psychological testing, they’ve ‘got a therapist for that.’
In order to capture Dana Group’s inclusivity and ability to help anyone looking for mental health services, they elected to go with, “Mental Wellness for All.” It suits their brand perfectly.
4. Pick the Best Mental Health Logo, Colors, Fonts, and Imagery for Your Brand
If you don’t have a strong eye for design, choosing the right logo, icons, colors, and fonts for your website, social media campaigns, and in your office can be challenging.
Focusing on choosing visuals that align with your ideal perception of your mental health clinic will help. A lot of this comes down to how what we see makes us feel.
It’s helpful to ask, “How do I want people to feel?” Identifying the feeling/s you want to convey when people interact with your brand, can help move you forward by process of elimination (Ex. What doesn’t fit?) rather than inclusion (Ex. What does fit?).
UNDERSTANDING Meaningful Brand Iconography
Among logo components, the icon is most recognizable (Ex. Nike’s swoosh is an icon). The icon utilizes form or shape to convey something about your mental health clinic. The icon may communicate something about your name, location, or mission.
A Case Study: Juneau Youth Services (JYS)
JYS is a mental health service for youth and their families. Their goal is to inspire freedom and hope for the future in their clients. For this reason and because JYS is located in Juneau, Alaska, we chose mountains and an eagle (representing freedom along the journey) in their icon.
There are few things more satisfying than when an icon communicates exactly what it’s supposed to.
For help garnering inspiration, Pinterest (conduct a search for mental health logos and see what comes up) and The Noun Project (a collection of icon art sourced from creatives all over the world) are two excellent sources. Pinterest is a great collaboration tool, and allows you to create and share boards of icon ideas with your team.
Want to see a few other examples of some of the best mental health logos? The ones below are Beacon favorites that we’ve either created from scratch or refreshed for our clients.
1) NYC Therapeutic Wellness: We did a complete logo and branding package along with a new website.
2) Birchwood Behavioral Health: This logo won an AMA Pinnacle award. We developed a new name and logo based on beautiful birch woods surrounding the facility.
3) Holistic CFT: We updated Holistic CFT’s logo giving it more simple, clean, and modern look compared to their previous logo.
Create feeling with color: Find the Right Feel for Your Mental Health Clinic
As mentioned above, colors communicate and create feeling in us.
Important to be aware of, understanding this will help you get your brand colors spot on or completely miss the mark. To avoid communicating something to your patients that you did not intend, keep reading.
Review our full blog post on emotions associated with colors or look through 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. Like red, it also captures attention. 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? That doesn’t always mean sadness. Blue also speaks peace, tranquility, mystery, depth, and strength. We use it lots in the health and wellness industry, and 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.
Brand colors rarely have only one color. You’ll need to settle on a couple of colors and shades to create contrast and variety in your logo, website design, and other future design projects. This Alaska Orthopedic Specialists brand color palette has a good selection of vibrant colors from several color groups.
Match Typography with the Brand Message You Want to Convey
Finding the right typeface for your practice’s name is the final step in the logo creation process. As with the colors you choose elicit a particular feeling in the viewer, fonts also convey different emotions and messages.
Maybe you’ve seen this popular meme on Reddit:
These two notes couldn’t be sending more opposite messages in spite of the fact they’re using the same words.
Find a font that communicates the same message your name and/or tagline are — browsing Google Fonts is great way to do this is.
This responsive tool allows you to view your business name and tagline (for free) in all of Google’s downloadable fonts.
Use Strong Imagery To Represent Your Target Audience
Images, including stock or original photography, are key brand and marketing campaign elements. The pictures you put on your website and social media speak volumes to potential clients about your practice.
Before starting any content creation, formulate ideas around the image genre you want to use when communicating the emotions of your brand. To convey the messages you want people who interact with your brand to receive, asking things like the questions below will help you identify what your imagery should look like:
- Who are our ideal clients?
- What do they do?
- Where do they live and spend their time? Near the seaside? The Mountains? Farm country or a big crowded city?
- Are they outdoorsy or academic? Rural or urban? Older, younger or all ages?
A Case Study: Alaska Orthopedic SPECIALISTS
Alaska Orthopedic Specialists is passionate about helping people in the Alaska community return to an active lifestyle with their comprehensive orthopedic services.
When selecting images, we considered Alaska Orthopedic Specialist’s clientele and location. Outdoor imagery with distinctly Alaskan mountains and pictures of people being active made sense. For those seeking orthopedic services, the message is, “With treatment, you can be outdoors doing what you love in the Alaska community.”
Let Us Help You Establish Your Mental Health Brand
One of the most important steps in establishing your mental health clinic (and acquiring new patients) is creating a strong brand. A brand that resonates with the type of clients you want to draw to your practice.
Brand development is difficult, requires time, creativity, and research. At Beacon Media + Marketing, we dig deep when helping our clients discover their brand. Our branding process begins with a conversation with our clients. It includes asking the right questions, understanding the why behind their work, and identifying what value they bring to their patients.
Once we have the full picture, our creative, highly skilled team brings your brand to life with a catchy name, beautiful logo, font styles, color palette, imagery, and key messaging components.
Your brand is the foundation of your marketing. Let us help you get a strong start and set you up for future success.
Want us to help bring your vision to life? Schedule your free consultation to learn more about our branding services.