Productivity

Top Tips For Branding Your Practice

 July 1, 2021

By  Uriah Guilford, MFT

minute read

Uriah:   Hello and welcome to the Productive Therapist Podcast! So glad you’re joining us today. Tracel and I are going to talk about tips for rebranding your practice. I’m actually going to share a brief history of my practice name and brand over time, as well as the current rebranding project that’s happening now. How does that sound, Tracel?

Tracel:  I love this topic. I know you are big on branding. And rebranding can be…I mean, sometimes you go through all the work to brand and then to rebrand…you think it’s going to be, you know, but sometimes it’s necessary. And so I love this topic.

Uriah:   I’m glad you like it too. Once upon a time, I was accused by a colleague of mine of something she called procrastibranding. Have you ever heard this term?

Tracel:  No, but let’s trademark it immediately! It sounds made up!

Uriah:   So it’s like ‘procrastination’ and ‘branding’ together, yeah?

Tracel:  Ohhhh!

Uriah:   And I think the memory was I pulled out my portable charger and I had put one of my stickers on there with my logo. So it almost looked like this is my branded portable charger. And she’s like, “Oh, procrastibranding! Nice.” Yeah. Guilty!

Tracel:  I like it.

Uriah:   I do like…for some reason I really like…I love logos and I love cool fonts and I love stickers. So it all comes together nicely. That’s really why I want to rebrand my practice just so I can get some new stickers!

Tracel:  I see! Nice.

Uriah:   So I’ll share a brief history of my experiences over time and hopefully that will translate and be helpful for the folks listening. But first, a few quick tips. The first one is that having a professionally-designed brand identity is actually not the most important thing in the world, especially in the beginning of your business.

Tracel:  Right.

Uriah:   As tempting it is as it is, well, for people like me, I would love to go out and spend a bunch of money on a new business and get that really fancy fresh logo, you know, but I’ve pretty much resisted that whenever possible. Like, when I started Productive Therapist in 2017, I didn’t have a logo for at least the first two years. And actually, I used the stock WordPress theme and just built a super simple website.

Tracel:  Right.

Uriah:   Because I was just proving the concept and starting the business and I didn’t need to spend a bunch of money on that. So for those of you who need to hear that, make sure you spend money on the right things. And in some ways, if you’re building a website for a new practice or a new group practice or something like that, spending time and money on getting the words right is actually more important than the visual identity, right?

Tracel:  Yes, true.

Uriah:   So that’s the first tip there. And then the second one is getting clear on why you want or need a new brand identity. Super important. And I had to actually give this some thought when I was entering this new rebranding phase or project for Guilford Family Counseling, like, ‘Am I doing this because I just need another project and I think it’s fun or is there actually a purpose behind it?’ And there is, which I will share.  So that’s really helpful, right? You have to know why you want it. And of course, you kind of have to know who you are, who you aspire to be as a as a business, as a practice. Next one is working with a knowledgeable and experienced brand strategist is a game changer, really. People ask me in Facebook groups all the time, you know, ‘Where can I get a good logo done for my practice?’ And a lot of folks will say Fiverr or 99 Designs or those kinds of things. And they are good. And you can get a logo for $5, $10, $15.

Tracel:  Right. You sure can.

Uriah:   But that doesn’t mean you should, you know. And sometimes – not always – you can tell.

Tracel:  Right. Yeah. And do you have anything else to go with it, right, or is it just the logo?

Uriah:   Right. And what most people don’t understand – and it’s OK, like none of us learned this in grad school for sure – but a really good brand identity is not just a logo. It’s paired fonts that go together; it’s a color palette that that makes sense, the whole thing. So that’s important. And of course, I want to say all the good things about Practicery.com, which is the company that I work with. They designed the Productive Therapist logo and brand identity. And they also are doing a new one for Guilford Family Counseling. Awesome team. So Justin is the designer, the husband. And then the wife is Kim and she is a therapist. She’s actually quite a good website designer on her own, in her own right. So great team. If you’re looking for this kind of services Practicery.com.

Tracel:  Nice.

Uriah:   Yeah. They also have a Facebook group called Therapists Who Brand.

Tracel:  That sounds good!

Uriah:   Yeah. Good stuff going on in there. So that’s important. And then the last one is do all the homework. So if you’re doing it on your own, same thing. But if you’re working with a company or an individual that is helping you with this process, make sure you take the time to do all the homework.I say that as my To Do list is all the homework that I need to do this week for this current project! And it may not be fun for you, but it’s pretty vital and and worth the time and energy. So there you go – those are a few quick tips. And at some point soon, maybe even this month, we’re going to do a podcast episode and you and I are going to talk about our favorite brands and what we like about them.

Tracel:  Ooo, okay! I’m going to start thinking about that now.

Uriah:   Yeah, so that might be fun. OK, so way back in the beginning of 2008 is when I started my private practice – my solo practice of course – and my I don’t know this, but my very first business name and website was HelpThisKid.com was the site. I don’t know how I came up with that. I just thought it was clever. And in the beginning I worked more so with kids and teenagers. And so I had that sort of brand for quite a while. And somewhere on the Internet, I’ve got a bunch of pictures of my…what do you call it, the trajectory? The transition of my website and what that looked like over time in the various logos that I had for Help This Kid. And then at some point – I think it was probably around 2010, 2011 – I decided to to make a change because I was basically no longer working with kids. And teenagers don’t like to be called kid or be referred to as ‘kid’.

Tracel:  Right!

Uriah:   And so I just I decided to move from HelpThisKid.com to UriahGuilford.com, which I thought would just be more flexible. And and so I did that and I built that site. And for anybody listening, the process of moving your website from one domain to another domain, it’s not super fun, but it’s not as bad as you might think. And all the sort of search engine optimization and all the good stuff that I built up over the years took a couple of months to kind of regenerate and get back up to speed. But it wasn’t that bad. You’ve built websites before, too, right?

Tracel:  I have, yes. It’s interesting – I’m thinking about making a change with one that I built, so it’s good to know about that.

Uriah:   Aha! And, correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re a Squarespace fan, yes?

Tracel:  No, I’m not. WordPress.

Uriah:   Oh okay! Got it. Okay.

Tracel:  WordPress. Yep.

Uriah:   I’m long-time diehard WordPress, but I’m thinking about building the new site on Squarespace, so there you go.

Tracel:  Oh! That’s interesting.

Uriah:   I know! For a couple of different reasons, but I think that…and this might be the first time that I have somebody else build the site for me, which I’m terrified of because I’m so particular about all that! We’ll see. We’ll see if I can rope in my control.

Tracel:  Let go of the reins a little bit?!

Uriah:   Exactly. Exactly. Practice what I preach, right?

Tracel:  Exactly. Yes.

Uriah:   And I think it was like 2015, then I started a group practice and transitioned everything over to GuilfordFamilyCounseling.com. For a while I had both: I had UriahGuilford.com and GuilfordFamilyCounseling.com and then I retired UriahGuilford.com, moved over all the content and fully embraced the group practice branding. And then I did have somebody professionally design the logo and the color palette and all those kind of things. It’s pretty fun.

Tracel:  Yes, yes.

Uriah:   And then most recently, a couple of different reasons why I’m changing things up: for one, I’m thinking, I believe now that my last name is not the most important thing about this practice! And once upon a time…I mean, I still have a good reputation. And my name, you know, to some people in this community still means…that sounds funny to say it that way! It still means something to somebody!

Tracel:  Right! ‘I used to be somebody.’

Uriah:   ‘I used to be somebody.’ The funny thing is that people no longer really call for me that often. And once upon a time, that hurt my ego a little bit. I was like, nobody knows my name anymore! But the reality is that most people calling don’t know who this Guilford person is.

Tracel:  Right.

Uriah:   And it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really matter.

Tracel:  Right.

Uriah:   So that’s one thing. Also, it’s kind of hard to spell, a little bit hard to spell because there’s a ‘U’ in there and it’s not totally phonetically…doesn’t make sense. So I always like to make sure people can spell the name of my business! Well, I try to make sure.

Tracel:  Yeah, that’s true.

Uriah:   But my first name and my last name are somewhat challenging. I’m sure you get that sometimes, with your first name, at least.

Tracel:  Absolutely. All the time.

Uriah:   Mispronunciation and misspelling, right?

Tracel:  Yes. That’s how I know if I know you or not! Say my name correctly.

Uriah:  ‘No, it’s not Trace-l. It’s Tracel.’

Tracel:  I don’t know if I told you but I spent my entire fourth grade year as Trace-l.

Uriah:   Oh my goodness!

Tracel:  I corrected the teacher the first two weeks and then it was, her daughter’s name was Tracey and she connected the two in her mind and it was over. So I can’t keep correcting.

Uriah:   One year lost.

Tracel:  Right. Exactly!

Uriah:   So those are a couple of reasons. And then also, I just figured it’s better if the name of my practice doesn’t include me just in case someday I want to sell it or make some sort of transition or maybe just have somebody else run the business that’s not me. I’m not planning on doing that anytime soon, but it would be easier if I did that now. So there you go. And the fun thing is that, in working with Practicery, I got to get a chance to work with their copywriter, who specializes in helping people name their business. And so that was kind of fun. It was a challenging process because naming anything is hard, even naming a cat or a dog is sometimes hard!

Tracel:  And then especially if you’re going to have a website, then is that name available? Or does somebody else already have that? So there’s that whole other layer of difficulty.

Uriah:   And you never really want a website name with a bunch of hyphens, you know.

Tracel:  Right.

Uriah:   That’s not so good for anybody. So anyway, we might have to do a part two on this one because it’s still in process, but we did end up choosing the name InTune Family Counseling, which kind of plays on the the music theme that we have a waiting room here and some really fun metaphors around being in -sync in relationships and feeling flow and rhythm, those kind of things. So I’m stoked on that.

Tracel:  Yeah, great name.

Uriah:   That should be fun. So, yeah, those are some thoughts on on branding and rebranding and it is fun to talk about. I think the most important thing is that whatever you create for your practice, that it gives people a true sense of who you are and what you do and helps them feel confident in you and your services. At the end of the day, that’s what it is, right?

Tracel:  Right.

Uriah:   And you know it when you encounter a brand that has that. And you know, when they don’t, usually!

Tracel:  Very true!

Uriah:   Even on a gut level, you’re like, ‘I don’t know if I should spend money here!’

Tracel:  Right!

Uriah:   So there you go. I hope that was interesting and helpful. And thanks for listening. You all have a great day!

Uriah Guilford, MFT


Uriah is a group practice owner and the creator of Productive Therapist. He is a technology nerd, a minimalist travel packer, a rock drummer and business development enthusiast.

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