Direct-to-Practitioner Supplement Companies: Patients Don’t Care About Your Brand

We all know how important a brand is for creating trust, loyalty and awareness for your company, but I’m about to tell you something surprising — your brand does not matter to the patients who take your supplements.

I bet you never thought you would hear that from the CEO of a brand and marketing agency, right? But I’m not just any CEO. I’m in a unique situation. For nearly two decades, I’ve been helping both retail and professional dietary supplement companies develop and activate their branding, as well as managing a chronic personal health condition for most of my life.

When you’re dealing with a chronic illness and feeling hopeless, “getting well” is what matters — not so much who makes the product that will make you well. In this situation, you’ve probably built an immense amount of trust in your healthcare provider, so if they recommend a supplement, the prospect of healing outweighs the brand name on the package. We know that the most successful practitioners send their patients home with supplements from their dispensary and the protocol directions that go with it. For these practitioners, supplements are not a recommendation, they’re a directive.

I’ll confess to not being a product brand loyalist, but a practitioner brand loyalist.

I’ll be honest and say that I dearly love all of the direct-to-practitioner supplement brand clients that we’ve worked with. They are passionate and innovative companies who are working in earnest to improve the health of the world. But even now, after working with some of the top brands in the industry, I’ll confess to not being a product brand loyalist, but a practitioner brand loyalist. When my trusted family integrative practitioner tells me that a particular product can improve my health, based on their clinical experience and diagnostics, the last question on my mind is, “What brand makes that?” For myself and other patients who put our trust in our practitioners, the practitioner is the brand, and we have trust in whatever they tell us to take.

The Good News

But here’s the good news for direct-to-practitioner supplement brands: we, the patients, are not your customers. You don’t need to worry about what we think. You shouldn’t devote another minute to wondering how you’ll reach patients. The practitioners are your customers and they are as capable of brand loyalty as supplement customers in the retail space.

Let me tell you something else — and this one is the really important one — when it comes to the practitioner, your brand means everything. They need to know that you’ve got the science, but they also need to find an emotional, philosophical connection with your brand to become a loyal customer and devoted brand champion. Developing a brand relationship with your practitioners is your key to reaching their patients.

So no, your brand doesn’t matter to patients — but it absolutely does matter to practitioners.