Medical societies and associations exist to add value to their members through education, networking and providing other resources to support personal and professional growth. This is why professionals join and pay their annual membership fees.
As competition in every medical field and specialty heats up, members are demanding more from society leadership; specifically marketing to consumers and referral sources to help them distinguish their expertise and build their practice (aka “Branding”).
Often, patients (and other professionals) are confused over what different medical specialists do and branding your members will help provide clarity and growth. This is where medical societies can add value.
From our experience, branding members and their specialty has become one of the top requests from society leaderships. So, where do you start?
Start with research, to gain insight into the following:
- Vision – where do your members see themselves now and in the future?
- Equity – what are the unique capabilities and greatest benefits your members bring to patient care?
- Perceptions – how do patients, referral sources and other providers, hospital administrators and payors perceive your members?
- Access – what are the patient/referral pathways for your members? This will help you determine the audiences for your message.
- Communication – how do your target audiences keep up on medical and peer information?
Once you understand where your members want to go and challenges that may be involved in getting them there, you can start to develop a unique brand strategy – position and value proposition – for them.
A strong brand for your medical society members will:
- Differentiate them in a crowded and confusing marketplace
- Elevate their specialty in the healthcare landscape
- Resonate with target audiences
- Align with the society’s and member’s strategic goals and plans
- Be sustainable
This last point is where many medical societies fall off – they budget and strategize for how to build their member’s brand, but fail to develop the methodologies to sustain and carry the initiative forward. Building a strong brand for your members is never one and done. Be sure to nurture and support it over time.
Once you have established a unique position, value proposition and the creative messaging to bring your medical society member’s “story” to market, your society’s efforts will inspire and fuel preference (and business) for your members – now that’s adding value!