I’m not quite sure how it happened, but every month a Harper’s Bazaar magazine shows up in my mail box. If you’re not familiar with the magazine, it’s basically a big book filled with the latest trends, most of them with what I think of as a pretty hefty price tag. Even so, I’ll admit I like to leaf through the magazine when it arrives. It’s become a sort of guilty pleasure to curl up and flip through the pages each month. I am always a bit awestruck by some of the prices quoted (Where’s the gold plating?), but despite this monthly dose of sticker shock, I do understand what allows these retailers to charge higher prices. It’s all about the brand.
Everyone has their own brand, personal or professional. If your brand is successful, you’re actually reflecting the image you want other people to see. Whether you’ve taken the time to cultivate your brand or not, it’s out there. Word of mouth and the experiences of your customers are crafting it for you. And while your pharmacy’s brand may not allow you to make shoe inserts a pricey fashion statement, it can create customer loyalty and increase visibility for your store in your community. Here are some things you can do to make sure that your pharmacy’s brand is exactly what you want it to be.
Think about how you want your business to be seen. Before you can create your brand, you need to think about what you want it to mean. What do your customers need from you? What experience do you want customers to have when they shop in your store? What makes you different than other pharmacies? By asking these questions and creating a philosophy for your store to do business by, you can create a shift in the customer experience and how customers perceive you. Need help? Think of some words that you would like to embody your pharmacy and the customer experience. For example, our mission statement at RMS is “Making our clients the most profitable and customer centric in the industry. We accomplish this by being reliable, honest, professional knowledgeable, innovative and crazy easy.“ This mission statement started with a simple list of words and has now become a company philosophy.
Consistency is key. Once you have settled on the overall experience you’d like your customers to have and the philosophy behind your business, it’s important to keep every customer experience as consistent as possible. While every customer interaction is different, you can strive to meet a goal with every customer. For example, a past customer service policy of Apple’s was about “getting to yes” with every customer, meaning that every customer was happy with the end result when they walked out of an Apple store. Go back to your core philosophy to figure out how you’d like every customer to feel about their experience when they leave the store and work with your staff to make sure they understand what this means. You can even consider involving the staff when designing your core values and philosophy to help with buy in and commitment to the overall goal. If every customer experiences the same excellent level of service every time they are not only going to remain loyal to your store, but they’ll pass on their great experiences.
Branding is more than experience. As much as it would be nice for excellent service to be the only thing that drives purchasing, most industries need a little marketing wizardry to help build their brand. A store logo can be a great tool for this. If you don’t have a logo, check out some local graphics artists. At the end of the day, a simple logo will give you a lot of marketing mileage. You can put it on gift cards, loyalty cards, advertisements, employee uniforms and more. Your store can be as easily recognized by its logo as it is by the name of the pharmacy itself. And while we are no longer in the era of “Mad Men” a slogan can be a really important piece of identifying your brand. For example, it’s not often you see the Retail Management Solutions Logo without “The Industry Leader in Pharmacy Point-of-Sale Innovation”. And when was the last time you thought State Farm without thinking “Like a good neighbor state farm is there” in the back of your mind somewhere? A slogan should be a quick concise explanation of what you do. With your RMS system, you can put both slogans and logos on the register screen and the customers receipt.
Developing and nurturing your brand should be an ongoing process. The pharmacy industry and core customer bases are always evolving so it’s important to make sure that you can keep up with the changing landscape. Tell me below, how do you get your brand out into the community?