In marketing terms, what exactly is the importance of brand authenticity to doctors of chiropractic and their practices? And how to support it?
According to IBISWorld, a financial data research firm, there were approximately 67,736 chiropractic practices in business last year. They estimate there will be 68,746 such practices for this year, representing an increase of 1.5%1, which highlights each practice’s importance of brand authenticity to stand out from the field.
These numbers show that not only is chiropractic care becoming more popular, but that DCs are now becoming viewed as health care providers close to on a par with traditional MDs. On the other hand, these numbers may be not such good news for you, as an individual DC trying to brand and market yourself.
Standing out from the competition
Unless you happen to be the only DC in town, you will likely find yourself competing against other DCs in your area for the same pool of potential patients. Even if you choose to specialize in one particular aspect of chiropractic, such as geriatric care, you still need to find a way to stand apart from every other DC within that same specialty field.
In marketing terms, the clear solution to this dilemma is to find a way to build brand authenticity as part of your marketing strategy. What exactly is the importance of brand authenticity?
Brand authenticity defined
According to Forbes magazine, “[A]n authentic brand is one that decides to be transparent and consistent in its messaging and branding initiatives. It has business values it remains true to, and most essentially, it is honest.”2
In simple terms, this means that your brand must not only invite consumers to seek you out for their chiropractic care, but also honestly and clearly represent your values across the board. This authentic branding should include everything from your logo, to your website layout, to your content tone, to your graphic presentations.
Why is brand authenticity important?
Until relatively recently, marketing generally flowed in only one direction – from the seller to the consumer. The consumer might do a small amount of comparison pricing beforehand, and perhaps fill out a response survey after the purchase to rate the experience, but there was little interaction beyond that.
Today, with both online comparison sites and review sites such as Yelp, consumers are doing their homework before making big purchasing decisions. In fact, a recent marketing survey showed that 90% of consumers thought authenticity was an important factor in deciding which brands to support, which was up from 87% in 2017.3
Furthermore, those same consumers are also comparison shopping for their health care providers, using sites such as RateMDs and HealthGrades. You can be certain they are looking for how well your ratings and reviews match up with your online presence, and you can see the importance of brand authenticity in attracting new patients.
Mismatch of perceptions
Unfortunately, the down side to creating brand authenticity is that there is a wide gulf between what marketers and consumers think comprises brand authenticity.
The same marketing survey mentioned previously also found that 83% of marketers thought that authenticity was very important to their brand, 61% believed it to be the most important component of their content, and an overwhelming 92% thought that consumers found most, or all of their content to be authentic.3
In contrast, however, 51% of the consumers surveyed felt that less than half of brands create content that resonated with them as authentic. Instead, 58% of surveyed consumers found content created by consumers to be much more authentic than that provided by brand marketers. At the same time, brand marketers turned to ROIs and other data metrics as proof of brand authenticity.3
With the importance of brand authenticity, how does your brand become more authentic?
This disconnect between metrics and user content as sources of brand authenticity is a tricky problem to solve. On the one hand, you do need to track your ROI, patient conversions and referrals, as these numbers tell you where to put your resources. On the other, you also need to present an authentic brand for the outward-facing, patient-centered parts of your practice.
Obviously, the key phrase here is patient centered. Take your brand cues from the survey mentioned previously. Prospective patients are more likely to see your brand as authentic if user-generated content on your site allows them to connect to other patients with similar health issues.
Patient testimonials and stories in their own words will do more to brand you, and your practice as authentic, than will quarterly ROI reports. In other words, if you want to set yourself apart from other DCs, your best resource will be your patients and the content they can help provide.
- IBIS World. Industry Statistics – United States: Chiropractors in the US. Updated June 29. 2021. Accessed Jan.16, 2022.
- Georgiou M. How and why to build brand authenticity. Forbes. Published online March 16, 2021. Accessed Jan 17, 2022.
- DeGruttola M. Survey reveals how consumers really judge brand authenticity (and influencers). Published online Feb. 25, 2019. Accessed Jan 17, 2022.