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From the Desk of Dr. Mark Studin
Academy of Chiropractic
Preamble: many of these issues are small, yet each issue is just that… an issue. If you take care of the small issues, then the larger issues often take care of themselves and you can focus on the larger issues… a larger, more profitable practice and more family time.

“Branding and Re-Branding”

Your brand is a term for name that distinguishes you and your business from others. Your brand is one of the most important aspects of your business, whether it’s B2B or B2C. This simply means business-to-business as with you and lawyers or other referral sources who have their own business or business to consumer, which is reaching directly to the public in search of new patients.

An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in this increasingly competitive marketplace. The questions that follow include; how does my brand affect my business no matter how large or small, does it really matter, how do I do it and can I afford it? The answers are quite simple and have been outlined in painstaking detail in all of the previous conversations. The question you really need to ask is “can I meet today’s challenges in the contemporary marketplace without the right brand?”

If you are a new practitioner or one of practice for many years and have lived in a bubble with no social media, Internet or community presence you have no brand. For those of you who fail in this category it is a distinct advantage in the “long – game.” The reason quite simply is that no one has an opinion of you either good or bad and you get to make a wonderful first impression is that impression is good. That impression or message is your promise to the consumer of your product, which is formally known as your “brand.” This tells the consumer in either a B2B or B2C relationship what they can expect from you and your services. This also helps them understand what differentiates you from your competition.

Chiropractic is been around since 1895 and over the last hundred and 21 years the profession has built a brand and although we have thrived in many areas of healthcare and in public opinion we still keep “shooting ourselves in the feet” unnecessarily. We are no longer being openly painted as “quacks and charlatans” as was directed at me numerous times 30 to 40 years ago when I began in this profession however, in most cases we are still not accepted at the experts we should be in healthcare. Unfortunately, there are too many who believe they do not need or want that “stamp of approval” from our society and should continue our current path. For those I want to remind them that our utilization is 7% of the population and declining where medicine is holding at 95% with no loss in utilization on the horizon.

This is what drives me to do research, to get better clinically, to publish, to communicate better and educate you so that as a profession we can significantly reverse the utilization trend and help every citizen of the world to benefit from what chiropractic has to offer. In order to do this we need to rid our profession of the proverbial “the chiropractic one step – two step” level of garbage that is being perpetuated in our profession. Simply put we need to increase our level of clinical excellence as the solution to utilization.

That is our brand.

Rebranding is a little more challenging and is where the majority of the profession resides. Over the past 2-5-10-20-30 years you have had a message to the B2B or B2C communities on the who – what – where – when – why (5 W’s) about your business and you, which up until now have been one of the same. To rebrand yourself is going to take a persistent effort over time so that your referral sources and the community see you differently and that takes time, money and unwavering focus. More so, it is going to take a strategy based upon where you are to where you want to be.

I am going to be presumptuous (no surprise here) and tell you where you want to be. You want to be in a position where both your referral sources and the community runs after you versus you running after them to get new patients (new business). This significant paradigm shift is contradictory to every action our profession has taken since its inception. We have run print ads, radio ads, television ads, Internet ads, purchased bent pens to distribute and have spent countless thousands of dollars on meals and entertainment with potential referral sources. This is all been done in good faith while we have prepared for our success armed with our doctoral degree.

What very few understand, inclusive of many other “self-proclaimed experts” in our profession is that our doctoral degree is the beginning and only the bare basics of what you need to achieve the goal of creating the paradigm shift in getting both your referral sources and the community to run after you. If that was enough it would have happened over the last 121 years and with few exceptions of some very extraordinary people in our profession that paradigm shift has not occurred. 

The outcome of rebranding was best articulated by Dr. Josh Johnston in Denver who wrote the following last May:

Mark, A quick thank you; I ran the financial numbers for the months of March and April of this year and compared them to pre-Studin of several years ago.  First of all, it has been great to go from an insanely large marketing budget monthly (risky) to none.  Second, after accounting for reductions from attorneys, and monthly office expenses without my doctor salary, net office income is up more than 500%.I Appreciate what you have put together.

Josh Johnston, DC       5-29-2016

The above testimonial transcends financial income. However, the income is a variable that signifies whether the strategy is successful or not and it is devoid of emotion. Simply put, you cannot put a spin on the balance in your checkbook because the number is a function of math and not of an opinion. Therefore we look at that number and from my perspective I work backwards. What did Dr. Johnston have to do to rebrand himself two years ago to get to this point of certain financial freedom and peaceful nights?

The answer is quite simple. He made a commitment to a strategy of being the best of the best through clinical excellence. This means he committed to the two immutable principles of success; long days and sleepless nights and spend months of taking every course available that was suggested. From Denver got on a plane and attended our live seminars no matter where they were. From Denver he got on a plane and spent the day with me jet boating in the Hamptons so that we can spend eight hours giving me an opportunity to rewire him on what he wanted rewired. From Denver he got on a plane and trained with Dr. Peyster to attain his mini fellowship in MRI spine interpretation. I speak to him 4 to 5 times every week and review images with him at least once a week. He sends me research to read because he is now independently “well read” realizing that together he will be better not abdicating the responsibility solely to me. Dr. Johnson has made a commitment to social media and having a web presence. He has had me do multiple “live lawyer seminars” with another one planned six months from the previous one and continually reminds his referral sources of his brand by perpetually emailing and sharing his newest credentials. 

Long days and sleepless nights. That is what it took for Dr. Johnston, but the sleepless nights were to accomplish his goal of rebranding versus wringing his hands over how to pay the bills.

As a rule in order to brand or rebrand you often have to hire an expert that first understands where you are and then create a strategy as to what needs to be done. In short you have to do the research and that is a difficult, time-consuming and an uncomfortable process because it forces you to think out-of-the-box and commit to a new paradigm that is not “business as usual.” I have done the research for you over the last 35 years and have maintained strong relationships with the legal, insurance and medical communities at an intimate level so that you get “real time” information on both what to do today and what MUST be done tomorrow to maintain both the marketshare and your income. 

The rest is up to you and how you brand or rebrand yourself and your practice will be the largest component of your future. You get to choose and never lose sight of the fact that there is no no “the 1 most important component” in branding; it is the totality of the 5 W’s. 



Adjunct Assistant Professor of Chiropractic, University of Bridgeport, College of Chiropractic
Adjunct Professor, Division of Clinical Sciences, Texas Chiropractic College
Educational Presenter, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education Joint Partnership with the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

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