The Authentic Practice: 3 Steps to Better Engagement with Aesthetic Consumers

authenticity, branding, reputation management

Authenticity (au·then·tic·i·ty):  According to Webster’s, it’s “the quality of being authentic.”

Well, that doesn’t say much, now does it? Nor is it likely to provide any insights on how to demonstrate that you possess it. And while aesthetic consumers are obviously interested in your medical training and surgical skills, the fact remains that they also want to know that you’re genuine, “the real deal,” and worthy of their trust.

In a word, authentic.

How do you do that? A good place to start is by reading a new whitepaper produced by the marketing experts at Brogan & Partners, which proposes three rules for creating an authentic brand.

Rule #1: Know your audience

Men and women may or may not be from different planets but it turns out they view authenticity through different lenses. According to the report, women associate authenticity with values such as conscience, responsibility, and happiness. (Men associate it with honesty, dependability, and high quality.) For their part, younger consumers, particularly Millennials, correlate authenticity with values such as passion, happiness, and sharing. Highlight the appropriate factors to the appropriate audience and they’ll be more likely to listen to what you have to say.

Rule #2: Acknowledge imperfections

Nobody’s perfect — and, more to the point, nobody believes that someone who professes to be truly is. Sure, you hope every patient will be 100% satisfied but no one bats 1.000, so when things go wrong, the surest way to demonstrate authenticity is to own up to them, express true sympathy, and offer to make things right. Obviously, there are additional considerations involved when the issue involves medical care, but as the report notes, there’s no better way for a brand to regain control of a situation and build consumer confidence than to acknowledge mistakes and make plans to make things right.

Rule #3: Own who you are

In a field where countless competitors provide the same or similar services, engaging in a “me too” strategy is a losing proposition. (It also has the unfortunate effect of commoditizing products and services and fostering a race to the bottom.) The smarter approach is to determine what makes your practice special and relevant to your audience. Then protect and portray those attributes — not just in advertising and marketing but in everything you do. As the saying goes, if you approach your work as your authentic self, then you have no competition.

Or, as Lori Bahnmueller, senior strategist at Brogan & Partners puts it,

Authenticity is not a theme line or slogan; it’s the story behind the brand and the values it represents. And like all great stories, it provokes, bonds, and lingers.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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