May 27, 2021
How do patients view your pharmacy?
Do they think of you as innovative and tech-forward? Reliable and friendly? Stodgy and out-of-touch?
Your pharmacy evokes general thoughts and feelings in every patient. Often, they don’t know exactly why.
The why is your brand.
The image you create through your communications, operations, and activities makes up your brand. It forms how patients perceive your pharmacy. And, it plays a big role in their decision to stay loyal to your business.
Many independent community pharmacies don’t think about branding. “They often stop once a logo or a logo and tagline have been developed,” said Tom Boyer, director of national accounts and member of the owners group at Hamacher Resource Group (HRG), a firm that improves results across the retail supply chain by addressing dynamic needs such as assortment planning and placement, retail execution strategy, fixture coordination, item database management, brand marketing, and analytics.
In a market saturated with national chain and big box pharmacies that have deep pockets and prolific marketing, your pharmacy needs to set itself apart with pharmacy branding. “Branding is important for all businesses,” said Megan Moyer, senior marketing communications specialist at HRG. “It establishes the personality and tone for the business. And it differentiates the pharmacy from the competition.”
Branding helps patients understand your business, how it fits their needs, and what to expect when they experience and interact with your pharmacy, Moyer said.
Here are some quick tips for an effective pharmacy brand.
Your pharmacy’s unique position in the marketplace forms the foundation of your brand. What do you offer that nobody else does?
When determining your positioning, look to your patients. What do you deliver to your patients every day? Why do they continue to come back? “Become that go-to health care destination,” said Tom Boyer, director of national accounts at Hamacher Resource Group. “Be the knowledge bank where people go. Independent pharmacies shine over their national chain competition when they offer those types of services.”
Don’t overlook how activities, like events and outreach, build your brand. Take part in the community by hosting, attending, and sponsoring events that support your brand. For example, a pharmacy that sets its brand as health and wellness should host workshops or educational sessions to help patients improve health and wellness.
Your front-end product assortment reflects your brand. For example, a pharmacy branding itself as the community homeopathic pharmacy with natural remedies for every ailment should stock a large selection of natural products. “Make sure you focus on over-the-counter (OTC) or wellness-related products that complement the prescriptions you fill,” Boyer said.
Your communications need a consistent message with a unique voice that reflects your brand’s core values. And, messaging means more than marketing and social media. The signs in the pharmacy, the words on your prescription bags, and your advertisements all need to reflect your pharmacy branding.
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Your brick-and-mortar building should also reflect your brand. If it doesn’t, you need to update. “If your store looks and feels the same as it did 25 years ago, then you aren’t preserving your brand,” Boyer said.
Anything visual that represents your pharmacy makes up your identity. Make your brand identity consistent. Ensure it leaves patients with a good impression. Your identity can include your logo, marketing materials, letterhead, products, signage, uniforms, and more.
A logo is an icon or mark that identifies your pharmacy brand in its simplest form. It symbolizes the business as a whole.
Support your pharmacy brand with a strategy. Because brands evolve over time, brands that recognize market changes and patient trends will stay relevant.