$70.5 billion USD! That’s the value of the number one brand, Coca-Cola, according to the latest report by Interbrand, a global brand and marketing firm. Every brand has a value, and so do you. Do you know the value of your personal brand?
Let’s examine the definition of the term “brand value” a.k.a. “brand equity”. According to Wikipedia, brand equity refers to “the marketing effects and outcomes that accrue to a product with its brand name compared with those that would accrue if the same product did not have the same brand name.” Basically, it’s comparing two identical products, the sole difference being the name. It’s as if you would compare yourself to a physician with the identical knowledge and skill-set, but who is essentially nameless. This fictitious physician certainly does not exist, but let’s just keep this a “thought experiment”.
As we know from market research, brand value does not necessarily have to correlate with quality. Pepsi, for example, consistently outperforms Coke in blind tasting experiments. Nevertheless, it’s only the 23rd most valuable brand. The same can be true for doctors: some get all the hype, even though they are not the true leaders of their field; while some are more qualified or have a more appropriate skill-set, yet they are not being acknowledged for their achievements.
So, your brand value as a physician is essentially what patients and other people think and feel about you. It’s a mix between reputation and sympathy. Knowledge and skills certainly affect reputation to some extent. However, you can study hard and practice your skills tirelessly, but if you cannot influence what people feel and think when they hear your name, you might become Pepsi while others will be Coke.