The branding of private health care services : experiences of general practitioners in private medical practice.
Background: The main aims of this descriptive research study were to ascertain General Practitioners‟ levels of knowledge of branding strategies in general, their experiences in branding their medical practice businesses and perceived levels of success. Method: This was a quantitative study conducted among 24 General Practitioners (GPs), using a self-administered anonymous questionnaire. Results: It was found that almost half the GPs (46.7%) were not familiar with the concept of branding health care services and that knowledge levels amongst their personnel were significantly low. The majority of GPs (71%) were either unsure or had no idea whether or not their branding approaches differentiate them from their competitors. Only 40% of the respondents felt that their customers benefited significantly from the branding strategies implemented. Almost half (46.7%) indicated that their practice had been able to retain patients through branding solutions with a total of 67% of the respondents reporting an increase in turnover. The affordability of medical services, excellent patient experiences, high standards of medical equipment, a sensitive attitude towards patients‟ needs, and the availability of medication and diversification of medical services were perceived by all respondents (100%) as significant branding value propositions for attracting customers in private medical practice. Conclusion: Knowledge of branding approaches and how these could be crafted and managed is poor amongst GPs. If branding approaches are well-managed, GPs can leverage them in order to gain a competitive edge in the private health care sector.