Category: Marketing

You Can Have Ideals AND a Brand

A recent article in the NY Times about branding your psychotherapy practice sent readers into despair over what they saw as a selling out and a ruining of the profession. They questioned the author’s quick fix solutions and her training and commitment. I might not have panicked as the author did after only three months with no clients, but most readers didn’t see themselves as business people. As if that would diminish the care they delivered.

Branding, at its core, is defining in a deliberate way what differentiates you from others, making it easier for people to find you and make informed decisions about buying your product or service.

Branding, by itself, doesn’t compromise ideals; at its best, it reinforces them.

People in professions driven by ideals can suffer from viewing their services as too precious to be tainted by deliberate business activity.

But in the case of therapists, in order to heal, they have to get people in the door. The care starts before a client walks through the door by making it easier for them to find and choose the best person to work with. The challenge then is to describe who you help and what your philosophy is in their terms, not yours.

The resistance is understandable.

A fear of new territory.

A fear of more work.

A fear of taking a stand.

It’s far easier to think your work should speak for itself. But if you really help people through your work, you have to put your ideals to work in ways you hadn’t considered before.

Elegance: The Forgotten Small Stuff

In any project or effort, there is big vision, small details and everything in between. It all matters, but it’s the details that are most noticed by the end user.

Well, not so much noticed as felt. This is an important distinction.

What is felt is delight…or annoyance. Clarity…or confusion. Satisfaction…or stupidity.

It would be one thing if the customer intellectualized what didn’t work. But most often, they feel lazy, tired or stupid. In The Design of Everyday Things, author Donald Norman explains that people tend to blame themselves when something doesn’t work, even if the flaw is in the design.

In this great TED talk, ad guru Rory Sutherland describes with humor the bad decisions businesses and organizations foist on unsuspecting customers. Read more