Blog 2017-12-22T17:26:28+00:00

Baby Steps:  Make Re-Branding Less Painful

DECEMBER 19, 2017

As a foot and ankle specialist, you know a lot about pain and pain management.  Whether treating plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, or achilles tendonitis, you have to know how to identify and relieve your patients’ aches and pains.

Diagnosing and treating pain is your bread and butter – but what about acknowledging your own pain?

The difference – I don’t mean a physical pain.  I mean the pain of thinking about your business and figuring out this mysterious and petrifying term… you know, the one that comes over and over and over again at practice management meetings and the like…..


Like anything that isn’t a part of the core of what you do, it’s a bit intimidating, and yes a bit painful to dig deep and make decisions that will affect your future.

As someone who has suffered from plantar fasciitis and had my pain eased by a podiatric physician,  I’d like to return the favor.  I’ll be your BRANDING ORTHOTIC… Like orthotics, we simply need to correct a few things to get you in the most appropriate position for optimal success.

So you found yourself needing to re-brand, for whatever reason.  If you’ve heard the lectures and read the articles, you’ve probably come to understand that there is long checklist covering all aspects of your business, and some real introspection that needs to happen.

  • Choose a niche or a unique selling point
  • Identify your target patients
  • Research what they really desire/need
  • Determine how you will position yourself in the marketplace
  • Build your brand identity
  • Create or update a logo
  • Update your website

And the list goes on…..

Looking at  these bullets, it’s easy to immediately become overwhelmed. You might even startsweating when you think about how much work is ahead.  It looks like a lot.

And, truthfully, it is – IF  you look at it as needing done at the same time.

BUT, life doesn’t work that way and neither does shaping an improved brand.  

How? You take baby steps. 

Take one action a day.  Change one thing at a time.

It’s going to get messy. It will not be perfect on your first try.

And that’s OK.

You didn’t become an expert in your field in one day, or all at once.  You studied, you learned something new every day, and you learned how to apply that knowledge.  Not in one day, or even a week, but over the course of many years.

This is no different.

Work on one part, even the smallest part.  Maybe do some soul-searching and determine if you want to be known as the go-to for foot/ankle aesthetics or sports medicine, or diabetic footcare.  Or figure out how you want to connect with your patients and create your Facebook profile. JUST. START.Aand pick one thing to focus on first.

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

MIND BLOWER – If you spend 10 minutes a day doing something to build your brand you will have spent 60 hours on it in one year and not be overwhelmed, and that’s with only spending 10 minutes a day.

You won’t get every bit right every time.  It’s like rearranging your living room.  You move a couch to one wall.  No that won’t work, the sun from the window is right in your eyes.  Move the TV over here.  Wait, I can’t, there isn’t an outlet.  It’s trial and error until you find the perfect positioning and you look at it and think, Yes this is it.  This is me.  This is my practice.

Rearranging your living room may only take a few hours.  Rearranging your brand will take much longer.  There are more elements to consider and more than just your own aesthetic tastes to consider.

Baby steps will get you there.  Stay focused on the end goal and don’t expect it to happen all at once.  Take baby steps and before you know it your brand will be shining through.

Sarah Breymeier, MA
President | Ten Toes Marketing Communications

Sarah has been planning, implementing and managing integrated marketing campaigns for the healthcare industry since 2007.

Taking experience from the marketing/advertising agency world, Sarah focused her efforts toward the podiatry industry as the marketing director for one of the largest custom orthotic laboratories in the country.  After this initial plunge into the foot and ankle space, she was able to combine her discovered passion for podiatry with her expertise in communications to enhance the industry’s leader in podiatric patient education; pushing the “network” in a direction that provided meaningful content for patients, while simultaneously using content marketing strategies to drive revenue for physician practices.

In the fall of 2016, Sarah launched Ten Toes Marketing Communications where she strategizes and implements integrated marketing and sales programs for both podiatric industry suppliers and physician practices.

Sarah also teaches Business Communication, Interpersonal Communication, and Public Speaking at Midstate College in Peoria, IL. This constant reiteration of fundamental communication principles, keeps her strategic process and critical analyses grounded in the theoretical foundations of basic communication.  This foundation is a key element to each and every successful marketing and/or sales campaign driven by Ten Toes Marketing Communications.


Holiday Ads are the Worst, Right? Wrong!

NOVEMBER 22, 2017

It’s almost over… but incase you missed it, November is/was DIABETES AWARENESS MONTH! But, did you remember to tell your patients in advance – or did you just start reminding them in the last 10, 20 days or so?

Unfortunately the ship always seems to sail faster than we think it will… and we are rudely awakened – again – with the fact that a strong marketing/promotions program takes… you guessed it… PLANNING!

I’m fairly certain that at 11:59 p.m. of Halloween night, alarms all over the advertising world rang out. Yes, the inevitable Holiday Ad Season was sprung. And while we tend to get annoyed by all the lights and decorations smothering us at stores and blinding us as we drive down the street, there’s a reason the chaos ensues. Because the first day of Hannukah is coming…. because Christmas Day is coming… because the New Year weight loss challenges are coming – whether we like it or not. And Johnny Ad Man isn’t going to lose market share until the day after Thanksgiving to get after it.

So, maybe you missed the opportunity of 2017 Diabetes Awareness month to engage in a community education program that will help drive referrals to your practice…. and maybe you’re even too late now to implement a holiday promotion on footwear or moisturizers. But that’s OK. There’s always another chance to take advantage of WHAT’S NEXT.

Mark your calendars and start your planning NOW for:

  • Flex Spending Deadline – March 15, 2018
  • Foot Health Awareness Month – April, 2018
  • Melanoma Awareness Month – May, 2018

It is NOT TOO EARLY to determine:

  • Promotion ideas/concepts
  • Budgets
  • Communication channels (i.e., email; direct mail; Facebook ads; etc.)

Take a note from Holiday Ad Season CEO – Johnny Ad Man – and start your spring planning NOW.

Branding a Derm Practice: Part 1

SEPTEMBER 17, 2017

As the marketing manager and administrator for DERMfoot, the topic of branding for this particular sub-specialty comes up often.  But, whether you are striving to brand your practice toward a particular specialty, or any other factor that differentiates you from your competition, my first recommendation is to always start with NICHE.


What can you do (or do better) that nobody else is providing in the marketplace? Is it derm? Maybe it’s a segment of derm (i.e. onychomycosis).  If yes, great; but also consider it may be that no other practices in your market have branded themselves as the top-of-mind derm choice.  You now have a MARKET OPPORTUNITY to claim this niche.


Answer these questions:

  1. What services and/or products do you provide
  2. Who is audience (patient) you provide for?
  3. What experience and/or outcomes should they expect?

Everything you just answered with should become a part of your focused, branded marketing communication materials.


A successful brand is about focus and commitment to shaping a consistent look, feel, and voice. But even more importantly, a successful brand is about creating a consistent, positive experience.  Ultimately, you have to LIVE YOUR BRAND.  If you don’t consider your self-concept, you may find yourself trapped in a brand that simply isn’t you.  If that’s the case, you won’t be able to live up to your brand promise, and your brand identity will fail.  Plus, you may disappoint some patients in the process.

Before any time is given to discussion and strategy about branding your practice as a derm practice, be sure it’s who you are and what you want.  Is this the niche you want for yourself and your future?

Self-concept is how we consistently describe ourselves to others – time and time again.  This concept of self is difficult to change; and if it does change, it changes very slowly.

Strong brands have this same principle of self-concept.  Think of some popular brands that have tried to recreate themselves, but their audiences simply won’t let them. For example, recently Domino’s tried to re-brand itself, focusing more on pasta meals.  The goal, I presume, was to help customers forget about their failing pizza line, and to give them a shot at something else.   For me (and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were for you too), Domino’s will always be Domino’s Pizza – no matter what they do to try to change this deep-rooted perception.

The positive – Domino’s has a resonating brand.
The negative – it’s not a positive brand to enough customers.

Part 1 Quick Tips:

  1. Determine if there is an opportunity in your market to brand yourself as the top- of-mind derm choice
  2. Consider your self-concept and decide if a derm practice is where you want to take your practice, and if you are willing to LIVE THAT BRAND

The Benefits of Branding

Even if you decide that a derm brand is not for you, I’m not suggesting you end your derm-related services.  You just shouldn’t lead with them in your marketing and communication pieces. However, you will benefit from determining SOME TYPE of focused brand.  By committing to a brand, and delivering on your brand promise, you will:

  1. Become top-of-mind choice
  2. Generate referrals for your specialty
  3. See the patients you really want to see

At the end of the day, drive more revenue by doing what you really love and what you’re really good at!