10 Irrefutable Laws of Personal Branding for Doctors
Updated: Feb 18
A doctor thinking about developing his or her personal brand can be a daunting, mythical task, especially with the weight of your patient problems on your shoulder. And one of the easiest ways to get lost in the process is to not know where to start. Every service professional that launched and grew their personal brand began by going through several iterations on a small level before defining their authority and voice in the marketplace.
If you want to become an influential personal brand in the medical world, you're reading the right blog post. In a medical world where the power is shifting from insurance companies to the people themselves, it’s both helpful and necessary for doctors to stand out in the marketplace. Whether you have your own practice, you're part of a group, work for hospitals, or a resident just starting your career, a personal brand is for (almost) everyone.
Here are 10 irrefutable laws for creating an engaging, unique, and inviting personal brand.
1. Pick ONE Medical Problem to Solve for Patients.
I work with doctors who, within their specialty, aren't focused on only trying to solve one problem, and instead are everything for everyone.
But I also have doctors focused on ONE THING. For example, Dr. Carmen Crespi is an orthodontist in Miami specializing in early interceptive treatment for children. She could have chosen 100 different types of clients to bring into her practice. She could have cared about 20 other problems. Instead, she focused on educating moms of 7-year-olds that you have to take preventive measures to make sure you mitigate personal problems the child might go through in the future (bullying).
Armed with this type of focus, Dr. Crespi now has the opportunity to be invited to speaking engagements about early interceptive treatment, be interviewed, be asked to write, and more importantly, get referred to more patients that are severe cases of early orthodontic problems.
Decide what your calling in medicine is. This is your key message, and you stick to it. This may mean you need to make a dramatic shift if your current website is portraying you as a generalist. Even specialists are generalist these days. With so many doctors, you have to pick a hyper-micro-niche. That's a specialty within a specialty and, dare I say, within a specialty. It's like inception!
Does this mean you'll focus on this one single message your whole career? Likely not. Some do. Most change over time because medicine changes, life changes, demands change, your philosophies of medicine change as you become wiser and more knowledgeable. The calling is shifting always. The key is only focusing on one message at a time. Keeping your message focused on one problem you're looking to solve will make it that much easier to both create content around your personal brand and have others define you.
Keep your message and content consistent with one niche topic to become memorable within a targeted community, like Dr. Crespi is doing. The narrower and more focused your brand is, the easier it is for people to remember who you are. And when it comes time to picking a provider or referring a patient, your narrowed-down brand will be what they remember.
2. Authentically Care about ONE Problem.
Above I mentioned picking a "calling" in medicine. A calling is what you were "born to do.". This is a spiritually deep feeling inside that makes you feel like "man, I have this burning and passionate internal deep soul desire to fix this specific problem in the world."
When you can know this sweet spot, you become genuine and authentic. People can see right through a disingenuous act and doctors only in it for the money. The more generic and cookie-cutter your brand looks, the less attractive you are. You experience a huge amount of growth after you begin engaging with patients and colleagues in a more meaningful way that's personal to your calling.
It's easy for us at myMDbrand to manage your personal brand on a daily basis when it's authentically your calling. It doesn't feel like we're bugging our doctors for their content when it's something they feel "called" to share. Does this make sense? This is when the relationship with your marketing agency becomes a true and meaningful partnership because they are helping you show your calling to the world.
Feel the calling of your hyper micro-niche. This is your personal brand. Then your content will help amplify who you are!
When you build your medical personal brand, you garner a reputation of being an expert in your field while simultaneously amplifying your public reputation and social media - all at that same time. When you’re deeply skilled in one area, your reputation alone will help you build the brand you want.
3. Tell Your Transformational Case Stories.
If you're not sharing your successful transformational medical cases in the form of telling a story, you're missing out on so much potential.
The most effective personal brand strategy for doctors these days is to build a narrative around the patient cases where you had the most impact.
Dr. Michael Rivera, a South Florida foot & ankle surgeon, helped an adolescent teen with Asperger's Syndrome dance again by fixing her flat feet through surgery. The case happened in 2016, but he didn't tell anyone until 2020!
Could you imagine the opportunities that could have come about if a story like this broke out? How many more children could have been helped? How much more business would Dr. Rivera have received?
The days of your practice simply posting your services on social media just to fill up space are over. Facebook isn't showing those to anyone because even the algorithm can detect fluff.
Instead, begin to document patient journeys, especially if you sense there will be a great story from it! It's a funny feeling inside...the moment you feel that a patient is going to make a great case study. Follow that instinct because that's where the magic of personal branding comes alive!
The way we tell our doctor stories is through written content, recorded interviews, and/or video.
The medical professionals we personal brand all have their own video channel on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and when appropriate, Instagram and TikTok. This is where the people engage and see your true calling.
The best way I've seen doctors communicating online is by video. Train your staff on how to take video and document the phases of treatment of patients you know will be perfect for a transformational story.
Once the story is ready to be told, get the message out to your patients and use it to make a personal connection with patients and connect with referral partners.
Someone in your office has a smartphone, right?
4. Consistently Create Content
The #1 rule of developing an authentic personal brand for doctors is the 3-C rule: consistently create content.
The problem is...WHAT DOCTOR HAS THAT KIND OF TIME?!
Let me help you catch your breath after that laugh and collect yourself off the floor.
First off, being consistent is related to having a narrow focus. You don't document every case, you only document cases that you want to see more of. If you like to see cash-paying clients for a certain type of medical service to a narrow potential patient population, then you would only document those cases.
When you narrow the focus and consistently tell ONE TYPE OF MEDICAL STORY, you can easily create content and brand your voice around that.
Dr. Carmen Crespi is only telling stories related to early interceptive treatment for orthodontic care. She has one message for the world: make sure your kids get a free orthodontic evaluation at the age of 7. She's passionate about transforming children's mouths because it's easier to fix the problems NOW so the kids don't develop worse psychological and physical problems later.
Look at all her social media and branding, it's all about this ONE story. And she's consistent about it on her Facebook (where moms hang out!). She's not talking about adult Invisalign one day, tooth whitening the next day, and a bride fixing her teeth before her marriage on the following. No. She tells one type of story - transformational cases of early detection and correction of a child's teeth.
And her online story is consistent throughout email communication and physical direct mail pieces going out in local magazines. She's the creator and champion behind the Check by 7 movement. That's what happens when you consistently tell one story.
5. Be Ready for Failure and Critique.
I'm going to sandwich the bad news of personal branding right in the middle of all the 10 laws.
The elephants in the room of medical personal branding are, 1) you're afraid to fail and look dumb online, and 2) you're worried about the professional critique that might come from your medical specialty colleagues.
Both are very real emotions, but both are meant to trip you up from stepping fully into your CALLING to help more people.
If you're afraid to fail in front of colleagues or potential patients, always keep in mind that you have a story to create and an impact to make on others. Your reputation can't fail if you're authentically evangelizing something you feel passionate about in medicine!
Eventually, your own conviction to communicate what you feel passionate about will get you over the noise in your mind that's trying to stop you from stepping out of your comfort zone!
WARNING: You should feel afraid if you are being fake and inauthentic. If you're planning on "gaming" the system to attract opportunities for personal gain, and you don't really want to help people, then you will be found out and exposed.
6. Creating a Positive Impact on the Healthcare Industry
Developing a personal brand isn't about stepping over other medical professionals or boasting about your accomplishments. It's about steadily growing a community around your unique ability to solve a very specific problem and fighting for what you stand for and what you feel you were "born to do."
Positively impacting an industry is about taking a stand for the way others are doing it or the way it's been taught. It could also be about how the industry is managed or how certain best practices are conducted. It's not about fighting with anyone in the industry, it's about standing up for what you believe in so that things can change in the future for other professionals.
This is where LinkedIn comes into play. LinkedIn is where your personal brand can influence the healthcare industry. Dr. Carmen Crespi's LinkedIn is where she connects with healthcare professionals to exchange ideas. This is where she can be vocal about early interceptive treatment in orthodontics.
You already feel like making a positive impact or else you wouldn't have signed up for the high honor of healthcare. Personal branding is simply about building a platform to be more vocal and proud of that high honor; it's the stewardship of your calling to medicine. It's the outward expression of your inner desire to create a positive impact in the world.
Keep a positive attitude about building your personal in medicine with the intention of helping more people and you will healthily grow your brand in the long run.
7. Emulate another Successful Personal Brand.
What doctor out there do you follow and enjoy their personal brand? Or maybe there's someone talking about health and wellness on YouTube that you enjoy (Dr. Berg), and you want to do the same thing, but in the physical therapy space. Heck, it may even be someone not related to healthcare at all.
There are influential people you already look up to every day. The reason you follow that person and not the 10 other people doing something similar is that you like their style. That means you likely share their same attitudes and values.
Emulate the people you like to follow, that's an easy way to get first-hand training on how you should create your personal brand in medicine.
We help our doctors by studying industry trends and popular individuals on different social media platforms and then implementing them with the personal twist our client feels most comfortable with.
Scroll through some ideas here:
8. Live your Medical Personal Brand.
When doctors talk about "having integrity," it's usually thought of in the case of not cheating, stealing or falsifying things.
But have you considered that there's a loss of integrity when you separate your personal life and your life as a passionate medical professional?
If you've made it this far in this blog post, it's clear that you're one of the few that want to actually get out there and spread your message to the world. If this is you, then we need to consider how to marry your personal life into your brand in an authentic way.
For example, Dr. Michael Rivera is also a golfer, a Christian faith-based doctor, a medical missionary, a husband, a father, and a champion for Puerto Rican pride. The more that Dr. Rivera can infuse these "personal" sides of his life into his calling in medicine, the more his entire life seems like one big mission to accomplish. (P.S. all of this is on his personal brand website, I'm not saying anything he's not already doing).
Personal Branding is going to be difficult if you separate your personal and professional life (lack of integrity). However, the opposite is also true: it’s easier when initially creating a medical personal brand to have your actual lifestyle and brand be one and the same.
If you're going to develop a medical personal brand, understand that it should follow you everywhere you go. It needs to be an authentic manifestation of who you are and amplify what you believe. If you love going on ski trips with your family, then next time you want to talk about your medical specialty, do it from the top of the slopes or the ski lodge. That's how you infuse personal with professional to be authentic.
The personal brands we build for doctors are not only a reflection of a series of job functions like marketing or creative, but we truly believe in our doctors sharing their calling in medicine and taking it to the next level like, for example, giving back in the form of medical mission scholarships, to thoughtful medical industry leadership or mentorship.
9. Let Patients and Referral Partners Tell Your Story.
What do nurses say about you in the hospital breakroom when you're not around? How do your patients talk about you when they're chatting with their friends?
Medical personal branding is consciously influencing the conversation that's going to be had about you. People are going to think and say something about you regardless, why not be purpose-focused in what they're going to communicate?!
The best public relations is word of mouth, and creating a medical personal brand is taking the bulls by the horn and controlling the conversation.
10. Leave a Legacy in Medicine
Building a medical personal brand is much bigger than building a business - it's about the legacy you're leaving behind.
Do you want resident doctors saying your name for a procedure you've coined? What if medical school students are reading one of your case studies for decades to come?
Once you've built your personal brand as a medical professional and you've solidified your reputation and following, the final step is to leave a legacy behind.
The best way to leave a legacy is to have a book published about your calling in medicine. It can be a compilation of case studies or a compelling story of an unlikely character overcoming all the odds to find victory.
Whatever you want to be "known for" once you get to heaven, the keywords and passion you stand for today will influence that.
A medical personal brand is a career-long project that constantly evolves and changes. Even the branding experts (like us) who build doctor's personal brands for a living know that there are no hard-set rules for creating a personal brand. The marketplace is constantly evolving. People have access to consume information in new ways every day.
You now have these general guidelines to help provide you with the first steps, especially if you’re starting a new brand or rebranding.
Creating the right medical personal brand will not only help you be known in your specialty and magnetically attract new opportunities (new patients, new position, new speaking engagements) but it will be the difference between “Who are you?” and “Thank you for what you do” in your career as a medical professional.
NEED TO BUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND IN MEDICINE?
Visit www.mymdbrand.com and schedule a discovery call. Or text 786-295-9560 right now and we'll get on a quick call.