By FlexMedStaff and Diana Londoño

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Gatorade’s commercial featuring Michael Jordan from 1992 and its catchy song, “Like Mike,” is now part of pop culture history. The lyrics were likable. “I dream I move, I dream I groove, like Mike, if I could be like Mike, oh if I could be like Mike.” Let’s face it, growing up, many of us dreamed to be like Mike. As their first athlete endorser, Michael Jordan elevated the Gatorade brand more than anyone else. The allure of Jordan helped establish the Gatorade brand nationally and helped to expand its brand globally. 

As a paid endorser, Michael Jordan not only grew Gatorade’s brand but also helped grow the brands of Chevrolet, Ford, McDonald’s, Wheaties, and Nike. What made Jordan so special? As Jordan’s career flourished, so did his personal brand as a professional athlete. It was not only Jordan’s athletic prowess that helped to build his personal brand but also his likeness, relatability, and authenticity. Companies used Jordan’s self-built personal brand to raise awareness of their own brands.   

In the media, Michael Jordan was someone others found humble and desirable. On the basketball court, he was tenacious yet professional. You saw his toughness on the court but did not see him fighting with coaches, teammates, or opponents. He presented himself on camera and during interviews as a well-spoken, respectful, and politically correct athlete. Off the court, he was not seeking outside distractions or getting involved in drama. Instead, he appeared as a private family man focused on building his personal brand beyond the basketball court.  

Like Jordan, physicians must build a personal brand that others seek out. As physicians, we are building our personal brands each day. We build it by how we interact with our colleagues, administrators, and patients and by our presence on social media. Our brand grows through our work, outcomes, what our patients say about us, and what we share on social media or our websites. In some ways, your personal brand is your identity; it is what you are known for and the reputation that precedes you.

Your personal brand builds throughout your medical career. There is no restart button. You start to develop your personal brand in residency when others get to know your work ethic, knowledge base, skill level, and collegiality. Your personal brand continues to grow after residency as you care for more patients and have more obligations. Your personal brand will be affected by items outside of clinical medicine, including your family, social life, presentations, community involvement, and interactions or presence on social media. Your personal brand is a reflection of how you live your life and care for others, no matter if it is at work or home, or online.  

Similar to how businesses create a successful brand, each physician must create their own personal brand. Your success as a physician could depend on building a successful personal brand. 

We discuss the 8 elements to building your personal brand as a physician. 

#1. Be Nice. No one wants to work with an A-hole. No one cares if you are the best surgeon if you are a raging A-hole. Take the time to get to know your fellow staff members and patients. Be authentic! Be respectful and genuine, and help out when you can.

#2. Be Available. No matter how busy you are, make time available for nurses, consults, emergency room, and calls from outside facilities. Even if you think it is unimportant, recognize their concern and help in any way possible. Consider giving out your cell phone number to streamline the care your give.

#3. Be Responsive. Be prompt if you are responding to an email or seeing a consult! Don’t wait to get back to people or delay the treatment of patients. Put yourself in the shoes of the patient if that was you or a loved one.

#4. Be Unique. We are all doctors, but what makes you unique? Think about how you might be able to stand out from your colleagues.  We each have unique gifts and talents that set us apart from others.

#5. Be Impactful. Create a positive impact on others. Be a team player! Help other staff members when it’s least expected and purchase staff snacks and meals to show your appreciation. Find non-traditional ways to interact with patients and families that are usually not expected of a physician, such as drawing pictures or giving hugs.

#6. Be Social. Take the time to socialize with other staff members and get to know them personally. Find time to get to know other staff members in the lounge or after hours. Schedule social events with the staff and participate in local events. Staff will appreciate getting to know you outside of medicine.

#7. Be your brand. Remember to live your brand daily. People are always watching to see how you behave at work and after. Behave like you are always on the job. Have fun, and show off your personality, but don’t get involved with distractions that can negatively affect your brand.

#8. Social Media. Your presence on social media is an extension of your personal brand. This can be a great way to follow a passion inside or outside medicine. However, don’t let your online reputation ruin your personal brand. Be careful what you tweet, post, or comment about. Remember, nothing is private online.

Final thoughts:

Michael Jordan is worth about $1.5 billion; most of that did not come from the money he earned playing basketball. Instead, he has been able to build significant wealth based on his personal brand. Even though Michal Jordan retired from basketball 20 years ago, he is still sought out by businesses to grow their brand.

Be Like Mike! Build a personal brand that is recognizable, has a positive impact, and will help you have a  successful career.

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