Whether you are a large, established medical device company, or a small startup just hitting the market, brand perception plays a major role in not only attracting new customers, but retaining the ones you have.
When we say “brand perception,” we’re talking about the sentiments current and potential customers have about your brand. It’s less about your brand elements (colors, logo, etc.) and more about how you present yourself in the market, how you interact with customers, and how well you uphold your brand promises.
On a recent episode of The Health Connective Show, we discussed brand perception with Aaron Hassen, Chief Marketer at AH Marketing. Based on that discussion, let’s take a look at how much of an effect brand perception can have on your company’s marketing and customer acquisition and retention efforts.
How Brand Perception Can Help Startups Carve Out Their Place in the Market
Startups have a lot of opportunity whenever they can find an unfilled space in the market—a “weakness in the armor,” so to speak.
On the podcast, Aaron discussed three growth stages of startups:
Customers are frequently seeking out change, so startups have an opportunity to evolve along with what their customers need. Startups that stay close to the customer, listen to their needs, and adapt along the way can fill those gaps in the market that larger companies may have left open. (See Maximizing Your Customer Feedback Strategy for relevant tips.)
There will always be another company out there that can do some or all of what you do. You can differentiate yourself not by just what you do, but how you build your brand around the customer’s needs.
The Dangers of Complacency within Established Medtech Companies
On the other side of brand perception, the larger, more established companies can’t just rest on their laurels if they want to retain market share in the long term. Just because your company is the frontrunner in the market now, doesn’t mean that you are untouchable. When you get complacent in your brand perception, you slowly create those openings for competitors to come in.
As Aaron said on the podcast, “I don’t think people decide to move their business away from a company overnight. I think it’s that slow drip. They start becoming out of touch with their customer concerns. They begin to be transactional with their interactions…They stop innovating and maybe the price to value goes off a little bit. These are all the things that people just start getting irritated with over time.”
All of this to say, even when your company is at the top of the market, it’s still important to stay in tune with your customers. You may have been the most innovative product on the market 5-10 years ago, but how can you continue to build on that? How can you continue to add value and innovation? Your customers likely won’t jump ship en masse the second a competing product hits the market, but if you get too complacent in your positioning, those little irritations can add up to the point that your customers might seriously consider other options.
Don’t assume that your name alone will do the selling for you. Your brand is more than that.
Positioning Your Brand to Evoke Customer Loyalty
Medtech companies create brand elements that help customers recognize them in the market–a name, a logo, color schemes, mission statements, etc. But it’s the meaning you put behind all of these things that actually has staying power.
When done right, your brand evokes a certain set of values. Physicians feel proud to use your product because it represents who they are as a medical professional. That takes more than just words; it’s the actions you put behind them that matter.
Aaron pointed out on the podcast that larger companies have an advantage with brand recognition—provided they don’t get too complacent. There are a lot of brands in the medtech space that don’t offer a lot of variety, so everything starts to look the same. These larger, established companies have an opportunity to remind customers why they are a trusted brand. Just as smaller companies are working to build up that loyal customer base, larger companies must work to keep their interest as new options become available.
The companies that can build and maintain that connection with their customers will ultimately put real meaning and status behind their brand and foster long-term customer loyalty.
Michael spends a great deal of time with the healthcare industry both professionally and personally, which gives him the perspective of what stakeholders on either side of the care equation need.
He began coding in 2008 and subsequently shifted his attention entirely to online marketing. Michael completed his MBA in 2018, focusing on the intersection of healthcare and marketing.
As the marketing manager, Ashley ensures that our clients’ marketing strategies are put into action. This includes content writing, SEO, online advertising, analytics, and interfacing with the tools, systems, and team members needed to help our clients accomplish their marketing goals.