Can you Have a "Personal Brand" in Medicine?

When I think of a Brand, the iconic Coka-Cola symbol comes to mind, and I can instinctively taste its sweetness and carbonation in the back of my mouth. I suppose thats the point, see Coke, want Coke. But thats the strength of the brand, with an identifiable logo, product, and identity.

But its not just products. People try to brand themselves, and perhaps one of the biggest things that I see everywhere is the Beats Headphones by Andre "Dr. Dre" Young, that have become popular by everyone that enjoys a big bass sound (Personally I will stick with my Bose or Sennheiser). 

So, the question comes to mind, can those in the medical field also 'Brand' themselves?  Some individuals I would argue have done so successfully, and are known in their field for their specialties. One individual, due to my love in tech and medicine, that I think has successfully branded himself as the demi-god in the rise of tech in the medical field is Dr. Eric Topol. 

A cardiologist by training, the man has made many appearances on television (even the Colbert Report), interviewed by countless magazines and news outlets, and has spoken at multiple outlets. His topics range from the role of tech to the rise of genomics. It has been amazing for me to see his culmination in the medical field for these topics.

What happened? He wrote a popular book (Something about the Creative Destruction of Medicine or something...), found venues, saved a man or two on a plane with his iPhone, got a Wikipedia page, over 35K followers on Twitter, and became editor of a popular online medical website (Medscape). I would say he has successfully made himself recognizable and a key person those outside medicine want to approach for expert advice. Its far from the person I knew about in school as the man who helped bring down Vioxx.

Coming full circle, how then can a medical professional seek to brand themselves? I am no expert, but I would argue there may be several areas to tackle. Get a firm background in a discipline and be an expert for something to fall back on. Do research, write, publish, speak on your expertise. Branch outside of your norm once you get the method down. Meet others, build a social network. Engage those outside of medicine. Build a personality that others will see and expect. Be active in the digital field and through traditional methods. Become a leader. And maybe save someone, wouldn't hurt, especially if your a couple thousand feet above ground.

Timothy AungstComment