Saturday, August 31, 2013

#brandPTchallenge - Wrap Up Post

First off, I want to thank everyone who participated in the month long #brandPTchallenge. For those that missed it, check out the previous posts of week 1, week 2, week 3, and week 4. I especially want to highlight the All Star players that took participation to the next level. In no particular order, they are:

Some lessons learned:
  • Facebook is still an environment where people who already know each other continue their connections. Groups and threads are useful and certainly powerful, however, reaching out can come across a little "creepy" and forward under even the most pure-intended circumstances.
  • Google+ is still quite silent when it comes to post interactions; it remains largely a content distribution platform, not so much of an interactive arena. However, the Google Hangout feature is one very redeeming function for G+.
  • Twitter remains the most dynamic social media outlet. Utilized by professionals, celebrities, and people from all walks - it is one place where thoughts can be openly shared, interactions can be freely made mention of, and, where reaching out - while still a little awkward - is no more awkward than stopping a stranger on the street with some free advice.
We also reinforce the lesson that the days of old school advertisement are truly phasing out. If not done correctly, advertisement becomes an arm of marketing that causes more intrusion and disruption than value creation. However, strong marketing develops a relationship between the consumer and the supplier - a smart marketing department offers content for which the consumer already needs and/or wants.

Also, good marketing acknowledges that the consumer already has an image for a brand identity; meaning, they see brands in a certain light which may not always be the way the brand sees themselves. The strongest brands have congruence between their own perceived brand identity and what the public sees as a brand image.

This brings us to the core of #brandPT. What is our brand? How should we brand physical therapy and physical therapists at large? How does the public regard our brand? Where should we go with our brand for the future? Many other questions need to be considered...

What is the condition of brand image/identity congruence for physical therapy?
How else are we regarded? Are we counselors? Guides during recovery or relief from pain perhaps? Compassionate health practitioners? Are we truly acting as "therapists"? Do we specialize in movement? Human performance? Functional performance? (What's the difference...? some may wonder) Does the public consider movement the way we do? When the public hears "I'm going to see my therapist" - which therapist are they thinking about? I'll give you a hint: it's not physical.

However, I must say this: brands shape public opinion, favor, and support. In regards to the United States, we are a nation of laws; these laws are written by the people - the public has the power (theoretically) to make changes. The public's perception of our brand is what will shape our legal rights - not the other way around. Our license will not provide us full practice patterns until the PUBLIC consumer recognizes our ability, and, favors us to serve as such. Want direct access? Want even more? Get public favor! Market your brand in efforts to close the gap between brand image and brand identity.

Wrapping It Up:
What the #brandPTchallenge taught me is that, as a profession, we have a long way to go in reaching brand image/identity congruence. Closing this gap is a matter of stepping into the perspective of the consumers and driving market demand.

I'd like to close out this wrap up post with a branding project being done with excellence. Enter @MakovickaPT! This group has issued a branding raffle asking for What has Physical Therapy allowed you to do?

I LOVE THIS! Not only does this brand PT as a conduit for which people reach ability (presumably from being once "disabled"), this statement presents a service experience. In any case, there are prizes to be won, content to be driven, experiences to be shared, and most importantly, we are receiving from the CONSUMER - their perspectives; from here we can discern what our brand image is and where we can strengthen our brand identity. There are some pretty cool prizes so check out #makovickPT on Twitter, Facebook, and G+!

Take care, until next time!
-Dr. Ben Fung

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