You're Not the Doctor. You're the Product.

Physician personal branding has its place and perhaps resistance will lessen when doctors feel they have to do it.

The seminars, conferences, and blogs are designed to impart information to doctors interested in being more competitive and giving them the tools they need to win ever-present turf wars and scope-of-practice intrusion. What's more, as the number of employed physicians swells, they are expected to "wear the sneakers" with all that goes with it, including logo creep on white coats with elaborate embroidery.

"Put simply, your ‘brand’ is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name. It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s romantic). Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it. It’s fixed. But your brand exists only in someone’s mind. "

Doctors are having a hard time with all this. They started as doctors. Then they became providers. Worse still, they morphed into producers and now they are products. They also have marginal institutional affiliation and engagement, instead bonding with specialty colleagues and professional medical associations and societies. Ask a doctor what they do and few will say, "I'm a Kaiser doc." More likely they will tell you that they are a gastroenterologist.

Like a Rorschach breaking bad, the word associations are getting ugly and clinicians are resisting. Patients and health marketing experts, on the other hand, think it is about time doctors understand how inconvenient, expensive, and non-user-friendly sick care is and doctors should change their nasty ways. I mean, after all, haven't you heard patients have options? Of course, most doctors have little or no control over many care delivery processes that are annoying. In most instances, with some exceptions, they have little or no control over the price, let alone know what it is.

Physician personal branding has its place and perhaps resistance will lessen when doctors feel they have to do it. I'm doing it now by publishing this post. I hope you like the product.