Create brand loyalty through holiday awesomeness

October 26, 2017
Melanie Denton, OD, MBA, FAAO

We embrace the holidays in my office. I think that by echoing the buzz of the season, we create an inclusive environment in which our patients feel a part of the practice.


The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.  

It’s time for pumpkin spice and everything nice!

There is something to be said for the “holiday buzz.” By the time we see just one leaf flutter to the ground, we are just about conditioned to yell, “Where is my pumpkin spice?!” even when the weather is balmy.

As shoppers and patrons of businesses, we form serious habits. Habits that make us cut a U-turn to get to our favorite coffee shop for a pumpkin spice latte, then drink said latte while sweating from the 85-degree day in our leggings and way-too-early unearthed sweaters. But it’s fall, y’all!!

Habits and loyalty in your patients

So, how can you build those kinds of habits and create an intense loyalty to your brand in your own patients?

Of course, we start with your unparalleled level of care. Obviously, we’re all striving for our care and service to be number one. Let’s assume you’re giving the best care in your area, and your staff is ridiculously trained, professional and welcoming.  

How do you make your office into a destination, a welcoming environment, and dare I say, a (good) habit for your patients?

We embrace the holidays in my office. I think that by echoing the buzz of the season, we create an inclusive environment in which our patients feel a part of the practice.

Showing seasonality in our environment keeps us from becoming stale. Nobody likes stale pumpkins.

Here is my shortlist of Halloween activities that help me to positively promote my practice among my patients.

 

Be a fun place to be

Participating in Halloween is just good fun. We have to be stuffy in our white coats the other 364 days in a year, so why not show up in Superman garb on Halloween?

In all seriousness, dressing up as a team can serve not only as a team-building exercise but also as a way to tell your patients “We are super fun, come be fun with us!”

In business school, I remember hearing, “People buy from people they like.” By dressing up for Halloween, I would contend that your likeability factor is increase-if not by your patients, then by your team.

Who among us doesn’t have a team that loves to see the doctor look a little silly? We spent a few minutes at our last team meeting throwing around ideas for our team-themed Halloween garb.

The verdict? We’re going to be three blind mice.

 

Set the mood

We love utilizing the décor of the season in our displays and throughout the office.

Outside, we plant mums in existing planters. Indoors, small fall accents are added throughout the optical display décor.

We have a habit of sticking glasses on all sorts of things, and a Halloween skeleton is just perfect for the season.

Our signature mark is our teal eyeglasses, and we love to superimpose them on all the Halloween friends we can thinks of: ghosts, goblins, and witches.

You can also group together your fall-colored frames for a pic to post on social media, encouraging patients to think of changing their eyewear with the season just as they change their wardrobe.

 

Give back

We are fortunate to live in a community with a ton of events and opportunities to give back.

We partner with our local downtown association for many other events, but during Halloween we love to partake in downtown trick or treating. Any downtown business that wishes to participate is given candy to distribute, but we elect to order special “eye” candy to hand out.

Last year, we prepared over 300 bags of candy and toys as well as a number of bags for children with nut allergies. We dressed up, wearing green googly eye headbands. I dressed as the “Queen of Eyes” and made balloon animals for the kids once our candy ran out.

 

Make it work for you

As the season moves to fall, it’s the perfect opportunity to look internally in our practices to freshen our surroundings as well as look outward into the community.

Making small tweaks around the office that show seasonality, freshening up the space, and promoting community engagement elicits a positive reaction from our patients and endears the practice to them.

Plus, it’s just plain fun, and isn’t that why we’re here in the first place?

Read more from Dr. Denton here