3 Essentials Elements for Branding a Therapy Practice

When I started as a therapist about 20 years ago, no one talked about branding. Or if people did, I don’t recall hearing of it.

Of course, that was quite a long time before it was essential to have a website, or to use Facebook, or to have an Instagram. That was also before any discussion of logos.

The yellow pages were still the primary source of client referrals back then. And the more critical private practice building task, when I opened my first practice, was to find a comfy chair and some inspirational artwork.

But the times they are a changing my friend, and in this new era of therapy marketing, branding is an integral aspect of building a private practice.

Trenched in a deep tradition of being client-focused, most of us therapists never really consider beyond what we might need in the therapy room, and certainly not about whether our outfits match branding colors or whether or not our Instagram grid is inspirationally in tune with our brand.

If you’re starting, or have been a therapist for a few years, you might be wondering how you go about branding your practice? You may be asking, “what exactly does branding entail?” I know that was my question for a long time.

Often referred to as “brand identity,” branding is merely a way for your practice to be visually recognized. Think of how easy it is to remember the golden arches of McDonald’s, the color blue of Wal-mart, or the colors associated with your local hospital. When well-known, people can quickly identify a company by its colors, a logo (like the Nike wing), or by its font (think of Walt Disney).

Branding is also a way to communicate the emotional feel of your private practice. The combination of colors and fonts help to bring together the essence of your practice values and attributes.

If you’re providing play therapy services, your colors might be bright, and your chosen fonts may be fat and playful. But if you’re working with persistently mentally ill adults, you may select soothing and straightforward colors and fonts. As you can see, the different elements work together to express the experience of your business.

Branding is also a verbal expression. It’s the way in which you write about your business, it’s your marketing message, and it’s the language you choose when speaking about the work that you do.

Because therapists are trained communicators, able to connect emotion with expression, it’s essential to adopt cohesive branding elements to reflect your business best and connect with the very people you want to serve.

Here are 3 Essentials to Building Your Brand:

1. Keep it simple, superstar.

Select elements that reflect your personality, the feel of your practice, align with your practice values and vision. (Need help identifying what these are? There’s a blog post for that!).

But don’t get carried away with complicated fonts, logos, colors.

Pick two primary colors that speak to you and the feel you want to have about your private practice and then pick an accent color. Make sure they coordinate well and use them in any visual representation of your business, such as your website or photos.

Pick two fonts that work together. A combination of a Serif and a Sans font will give you some variety without overwhelming the eye on websites or brochures.

2. Get a simple logo.

Even if your name is your practice name, have your name created as a logo.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a logo. I designed many of my logos and then had a graphic artist make them into vector files for me. There are several free and cheap logo sites on the web, or you can hop on FIVERR, a resource for just about anything related to design and technology. For as little as $5 you can grab a logo that reflects your business well.

3. Write authentically in all of your marketing materials and on your website.

As therapists, we’re trained to have distance from our subject. But when we write like that on websites, brochures, or handouts, we disconnect from the very people we want to connect to: potential clients. Use your authentic writing voice, not your academic voice, to talk about the reasons behind your practice (your brand) and the reasons you’re committed to helping people.

Remember, people work with people they know and with whom they feel comfortable. By building your brand visually and emotionally, you’ll undoubtedly help potential clients feel comfortable long before they make the first phone call.