Editor’s Note: Today’s post from Geoff Cooling is Part 2 on the Brand of Hearing Healthcare.
Collaboration Across the Profession
In order to change the brand of hearing healthcare, we as a profession internationally need to collaborate. This is something that needs to be done through professional organisations across the world. I have chosen the term hearing healthcare profession for a reason. Customers and prospect customers don’t give a flying proverbial for our qualification. They work on the basis that the person in front of them is qualified, that’s the default start point.
This qualification issue is divisive and is used to divide and conquer. We don’t need division, we need collaboration to shape a future, or we won’t have one. No one in the hearing healthcare profession is safe from the march of technology and innovation. The way to ensure we survive and thrive is through the value in the process that we provide.
We need to come up with a strategy to drive our brand collaboratively. We need to take clear steps to ensure we influence the terms of reference for that brand. It can be done and we need to do it, we need to drive trust. Trust will come from value delivered. But how do we do it?
Money Grabbers Protecting Themselves?
The main problem with how we are perceived is not related to cost, although many people get caught up in the cost/price issue. It is the tool that many of our detractors use to beat us with. We need to change the narrative, we don’t need to justify cost, we need to prove value.
Our value, the sense of the value we provide, has been badly eroded.
We have allowed this to happen because, as a profession, we have not been smart enough to address it properly.
We need to address the value issue if we are to change the brand of hearing healthcare. However, it is a catch-22. If we do, it is seen as the money grabbers protecting their businesses.
Our customers need to do it.
Back to my original statement: we can’t set the terms of reference for our brand, however, we can take every step possible to influence the people that do. We can also ask those people to help us and, in most cases, they will be happy to do so. The proof of value delivered lies in the hands of the people we help every day.
The key to changing the brand of the profession is our customers.
Social proof is the most powerful form of marketing. In essence, it is the proof provided by people who have purchased a product or a service. It is a review of that product, or service, and the individual’s experience with it. Social proof as a concept has always been around; it used to be called word-of-mouth.
Social proof like many things has evolved over time and moved online.
Social proof is something that we take very seriously. We do so because we understand the value of social proof to our customers. I have written elsewhere about social proof and its hierarchy. In essence there are written testimonials at the bottom, written testimonials with an image of the person in the middle and video testimonials at the top.
We use the video testimonials on customer’s sites to influence the viewers of those sites. While we also use the design, the copy and value proposition statements to do. It is the video testimonials that really validate the copy and statements we make in the minds of viewers. They do so because they are real people explaining their experiences honestly.
The video testimonials are hugely powerful, emotive, and help viewers gain trust in the business. They also bolster the authority of the business.
In essence, testimonials help prove the value of the business. Cost will always be an issue, however, when value is proven and understood, it is less grudging.
We need to come up with a strategy to drive the brand of hearing healthcare collaboratively. We need to take clear steps to ensure we influence the terms of reference for that brand. We need to change the narrative. Video testimonials from customers on association sites would be a good start, but it isn’t the complete answer. Then together, we can work out the rest.
Geoffrey Cooling is a regular contributor to HHTM and is the co-founder of Audiology Engine, a company offering web services to hearing healthcare practices. He is a qualified hearing aid dispenser in Ireland and worked in private practice. Following private practice he began work for a major hearing instrument manufacturer. Geoffrey has written about online strategies and business development for hearing healthcare on the Just Audiology Stuff blog since 2009. He has a passion for futurism, technology, online marketing and business development.