How to Build Your Brand
Your strengths + telling your story on social media = a brand that will resonate and bring opportunities to make your passion your career.
Helping animals is your passion, but the day in, day out life in the office has you feeling like you’re in a rut. You have many strengths to bring to the table, and you don’t know what direction you want to go with your veterinary career.
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang knows how this feels. In this Quick Cup of Knowledge, Dr. V (as she is known on her website and podcast), talks about how to best position yourself or your practice for new opportunities and audiences—how to build your business and personal brand.
What Is a Brand?
Before you say, “My practice already has a name, logo, and color scheme,” Dr. Vogelsang would remind you that a brand is much more than an aesthetic. It’s the story, the experience people have with the business or person.
The stories we tell help people understand what experience they should expect. That’s why conscientiously selecting the stories being told and conveying them with the right tone in the right format to the right people is so important.
One thing to understand about branding is that everyone at your practice participates in creating the brand, whether they know it or not. Every interaction with a client, every promotional project, and even team members’ attitude while at work contributes to how people feel about your practice.
Social media is the easiest, most effective place to purposefully tell your story and interact with your audience. It may seem intimidating, so start with the social media channel you use and understand the most. Focus on local outreach and influencers (every town as an Instagram-famous pooch) to get your message out there.
To ensure consistency and avoid mishaps with social media, Dr. V suggests creating social media guidelines. Whether there is one person dedicated to managing social media or everyone helps contribute, making sure every image and message is positive and doesn’t infringe on the rights of the client/patient is essential. Having photos of a patient during a procedure get back to the client through social media wouldn’t be the best thing.
For Dr. Vogelsang, writing started out as simply an outlet, a side hobby that brought her satisfaction. It soon became a strength to her career and practice. She is now an author and produces lots of content online. One of her goals now is to help other veterinarians and veterinary team members do the same. With a little personal branding, your passion can become a fulfilling part of your career.
Where do you start? Dr. V says to “dig into your personal strengths.” Figure out what skills and characteristics making you uniquely useful, and make that part of your story. Whether it’s a bio for your website or part of your cover letter in a job application, sending the right message with your unique story and tone will garner interest in places there otherwise wouldn’t be.
Start with a personal website or one social media channel—have one area that you focus on, whatever it is. This opens up opportunities simply because more people see you and get to know you without much effort on your part. And yes, introverts, that’s a good thing!
For more information and resources about branding or working with media, Dr. V recommends the American Society of Veterinary Journalists (ASVJ), where there are training opportunities for veterinary professionals who want to get more involved with media.
Stay in the Know!
To discover new passions and learn how to incorporate your unique strengths into your career like Dr. V has, head to the 2020 Annual Conference themed "Discover Your Why."