In this episode, Barbara and Denise discuss:

  • How Branding and Marketing is Important to a Business
  • How you can Establish your Own Brand
  • How to stand out in the Competition
  • What makes your Practice unique

Key Takeaways:

“You want people to be spreading the word about you in the way that you want.” – Denise Blasevick

Connect with Denise Blasevick:




Connect with Barbara Hales:

Twitter:   @DrBarbaraHales


Business website:

Show website:



YouTube: TheMedicalStrategist



Dr. Barbara Hales: Welcome to another episode of Marketing Tips for Doctors. I’m your host, Dr. Barbara Hales. Today, we have with us Denise Blasevick. She is a self-proclaimed Battler of Boring Branding. She helps healthcare marketers maximize the power and value of their brand.

Denise is the CEO and Co-Founder of The S3 Agency, a creative agency that has helped elevate brands from BMW motorcycles to Becton Dickinson. And she is here to show how doctors can leverage their brands to build stronger bonds with today’s healthcare consumer.

Denise: Thank you so much. I’m thrilled to be here.

The S3

Dr. Barbara Hales: We are thrilled to have you here today! The first question that comes to mind is, what does S3 stand for?

Denise: S3 is a system of threes. What we mean by that is the smallest pattern that the human brain can remember is something in threes. And our goal is to make sure that our clients are memorable, that their brands are memorable, so that they are able to grow their businesses.

Importance of Brand

Dr. Barbara Hales: Many doctors are saying “People know that I am a cardiologist” or whatever specialty they are. “Why do I need a brand?” What would you tell them?

Denise Blasevick: We work with brands to help them appeal more to healthcare consumers. And I think that’s the critical term. It used to be that patients didn’t have the amount of choices or access to knowledge, whether or not it’s true knowledge. But access to what they think is knowledge like they have now, Dr. Google. People are able to find what they think they have, before they go to a doctor.

They feel like they’re a little bit of an expert because they’re able to search among many doctors versus going to whoever might have been recommended to them. They look and see what ratings doctors have and how other people have had experiences with them. And all of that together means that patients are really now more consumers of health care with many choices. Therefore, we need to think about what our brand is like consumers.

Healthcare Consumers

Dr. Barbara Hales: Why do you call patients healthcare consumers?

Denise Blasevick: It’s because they are consuming what they are choosing to consume. In the past it’s “This is the only doctor I can go to.” Now, people are making decisions based on other things. There are doctors that they can find easily online. They might do Telehealth that doesn’t necessarily have to be close to them. They are influenced by many more things than “Is this person a good doctor,” which is sad but true.

I understand that physicians have gone through medical school and their practices are verified who are making an enormous difference in people’s lives. But this marketing aspect has become important for them because the reality is, someone can go into a doctor’s office, that might be the best doctor for them, and have a bad experience. Then they will write about it, tell other people about it, go on social media, and never go back. Other people who might have come there and had a great experience with a doctor might not do that. So that whole idea that consumer mentality has permeated the medical world.

Establishing your Brand

Dr. Barbara Hales: What types of mechanisms do you use to establish branding? Do you do Facebook ads or advertising elsewhere? What is it that you recommend to the potential clients?

Denise: The most important thing before we start thinking tactically about things like ads or however they’re going to be communicating, it’s what they are communicating. Think about how they are differentiating themselves. Know why it is important and why the experience with one health specialist is better than the other. Understand who your patients are and why they come to you instead of going to someone else.

Once you figure out what appeals about you to the patient you appeal to, determine how you are going to execute your branding. It could be social media or even signs on the highway. There are many ways and that depends on where those patients are, how you’re trying to reach them, and the message you want to get across.

Realizing What Makes your Practice Unique

Dr. Barbara Hales: What if your health professional says, “I have no idea why people come to me? I don’t really know what makes me unique than the four other doctors in this medical building.” Do you help them realize what they’re all about and what their treasures are?

Denise Blasevick: Absolutely! We’ll sit down and do an analysis with them. If they are willing to involve talking to other people about them, they can ask patients if they would be willing to have a conversation. Sometimes, it’s weird for the doctor or with this professional who’s trying to figure out what it is that makes a patient want to be my patient because I’d like other people like you to know about me.

Ask those questions and be inquisitive. Determine and drill in on what that is that makes a patient want their doctor. Look at your reviews. What are the good ones saying about you? That’s a great place to start because generally, you don’t put a great review up to say, “This doctor was great – five stars.” It’s more about your actions to the patient that they appreciated.

Working with Becton Dickinson

Dr. Barbara Hales: Becton Dickinson is a rather large and respected company, how did you get them as your client?

Denise Blasevick: We’ve done a lot of work with Becton Dickinson. And the way that we started working with them is it’s a common story for us. Someone who we have worked with somewhere else moves to a new company, and they bring us along because we’ve gotten such strong results for them at their previous company. That’s exactly what happened there where a client of ours who had worked at a healthcare IT company who was about serving high volume specialist surgeons like orthopedic surgeons. Moved over there and brought us with them because we had really helped that company stand out and understand that market and working with those physicians.

Standing Out in the Competition

Dr. Barbara Hales: Now that people are seeing marketing is important for their practice, they’re looking to see who can give them the best results. There are other people who do what you do in terms of branding. How do you stand out? What do you say or do to not only speak to your potential client but convert them over?

Denise Blasevick: One of the biggest differentiators about us is that we bring together both sides of consumer marketing. We’ve worked with consumer brands, so things like BMW motorcycles or Tetley Tea. So we have the consumer marketing down, and then the healthcare side. Our healthcare experience melds with that, so we’re able to take that integrity and rigor that is required for healthcare marketing, and then combine it with the innovation of consumer marketing. That is what has been really stellar at producing results for our clients.

Dr. Barbara Hales: Do you advertise for your own brand?

Denise Blasevick: We don’t do a lot of advertising for ourselves. We’re fortunate that word of mouth has been strong throughout the 20 years that we’ve been in business. Our average client engagement is over 10 years. So when people find us, they stick with us, they refer us to other people. Of course, there are parts of different organizations that we go and meet people at. For us, the professional sale is very much an in-person sale.

What is a Brand?

Dr. Barbara Hales: For those who are totally uninitiated, could you explain what branding is all about?

Denise Blasevick: People want to say a brand is what you decide it is and you can think that’s true. But your brand is about having whoever is the targeted audience, having their mind shift to believe that using your product or service is going to have a unique benefit for them. Otherwise, you’re a commodity. If there are a million doctors on my street or in my town, I’m just going to go through and see who can fit me in first or figure it out online. That’s a commodity shop, which is a terrible way for a professional, like a doctor, to be shopped. I might go on Facebook and ask for recommendations. So now I’m starting to get more personal.

But what I’ll probably do is go online and look at reviews. I will see who seems to be good. I’ll see what I can find out that other people have written about. It’s a thing that has been prevalent in our society. We do that from Amazon, shopping for staplers to shopping for doctors. If you are able to curate and know what it is that you want your patients to feel about the experience with you while making sure your marketing is around the way you execute and your practices around that, that’s the time where mind shift happens. That’s the beginning of magic because ultimately, you want people to be spreading the word about you in the way that you want.

Creativity in Marketing and Branding

Dr. Barbara Hales: Who is Denise before and after? How did you get into this?

Denise Blasevick: That’s a great question. I did not think I would ever be in the world of advertising and marketing. I went to law school after college. But I quickly realized that was definitely not for me. Then I was trying to figure out what I would do next. My degree was in English and I got a part time job just answering phones in an ad agency. The first day I was there, I heard them writing ads. And I thought, “Oh, I have some headlines that would go good with that.” I gave them to my boss and I was hired on the spot as a copywriter. I didn’t know this was something I could do because I didn’t understand that creativity wasn’t just about fine arts. I didn’t realize that creative problem solving, which a lot of my writing did, was really what marketing and branding is about. I love that all day long. It was genuinely an accidental thing. At the other agency, I worked there for quite a while I became a partner. I went high up, and started my agency 20 years ago. It was serendipitious.

Tips about Branding

Dr. Barbara Hales: What tips can you give our listeners about branding?

Denise: Because the world has changed, this is a great time to either evaluate or reevaluate what it is that is special about you as a doctor and what it is that is special about you or your practice. I would take the time to have the conversations with the best patients and maybe with the patients who have left you. Uncover those insights. Doctors have such inquisitive minds. They’re always trying to figure out solutions on helping their patients.

This is time to “heal thyself,” when it comes to figuring out your brand. Take the time to do it now. Once you have that identified, you’ll start changing things and realize that it’s more about cultivating the experience. Bring the brand to life in real life. That will allow your patients to start making those recommendations online for strangers to see. It will help inform your marketing in terms of what it is you should be doing.

Utilize Net Promoter Score. Basically, you get an email from other some brands where it says, “In a basic on a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us?” That’s it! That’s the Net Promoter Score. It’s the most important thing you can ever ask. Your promoters are your 9 and 10 scores. Those are the ones who are out there voluntarily telling people about you.

You think what about the sevens and eights? Those are just neutral and all the rest six is down. Nobody wants that grade. Those are actually detractors, where if they get asked about you, they might not say good things about you. So when you identify who fits in what bucket, it’s great to reach out to your nines and tens. Say, “Thank you so much. I’d love to know what it is that you love about us.” When they tell you and you hear all these things, take good notes, start seeing the threads that connect through there.

But also ask them say, “Would you mind giving us a review so that other people can learn about the experience that you enjoy so much?” You can also reach out to neutrals and ask “How can we improve your experience?” Those are big opportunities and it’s an easy thing to do. You can send the Net Promoter Score out. You can do it anytime you want to make sure you have the pulse on what your patients are feeling about you.

How to reach out to Denise

Dr. Barbara Hales: That’s a great tip to our listeners! How can they reach you if they would like to speak to you more in depth?

Denise Blasevick: Simply go to our website,

Dr. Barbara Hales: Well, thank you so much for being with us today. It was a lot of fun.

Denise: Oh, it was my pleasure. Thank you so much Barbara.

Dr. Barbara Hales: This has been another episode of Marketing tips for Doctors with your host, Dr. Barbara Hales. Till’ next time