Read Time: 3 minutes

Big thanks to our sponsors and affiliate partners who keep the Weekly Read free for subscribers! If you’d like to have your work showcased in front of 15k+ therapists, click here.

The Diversion Center helps therapists get paid what they deserve by working with court mandated clients. If you are a licensed therapist that is burned out, underpaid, and looking for an opportunity to make 6 figures or more working from home, this opportunity is for you. Learn more here.

Clini-Coach® Academy is the premier coaching certification + business incubator exclusively for mental health therapists. If you’re ready to grow beyond your office, you deserve the support of the best in the business. Learn more at this link.

No, I’m not the branding-master I referred to in the subject line. ALAS. 

But this summer my family traveled to Italy, and in Florence (Firenze if you’re feeling fancy) I got to step into the most perfect example of impeccable branding I’ve ever, ever seen.

As we settled into our hotel room, I looked down across the street at a gorgeous sight. It was a massively long, perfect-looking patisserie display. Every cake and pastry was so perfect, they hardly looked real.

My kids immediately started begging to go down. And who could blame them?

It turned out the shop belonged to the Italian pastry chef Iginio Massari–and he has something to teach you about your therapist office and/or website, so stick around.

The pastry counter was just the tip of the iceberg of his perfectly-branded space. 

The colors were bubbly and fun. 

The decor was classy, with an upscale, art-deco-meets-weekend-whimsy vibe. 

The staff wore crisp uniforms. Every detail was accounted for, from the branded plates and napkins to the teeny little logo chocolate hearts that came on our pastries and rested atop our cappuccinos. My boys ordered big beignets and the attendant spent several minutes carefully packaging them in a beautiful gold container so they wouldn’t be ruined. 

The vibe and message was clear: we take quality seriously, and with everything else we have fun. 

All I kept thinking was that this was the best example of branding I had ever seen.

So what does this matter to you, in your therapist space (or in your online ecosystem, if you work primarily online)?

Walk through your space physically or click through your website as a new client would.

  • What do you notice with fresh eyes?
  • What feelings envelope you?
  • What messages does your space or site send?
  • What do you notice right away–for better or for worse?
  • What details have you paid attention to? What details have you overlooked?

Pro tip: If this feels hard to do because you’re too familiar with your own space or site, enlist some help! Get a friend and get their first impressions–and ask them to be super observant and brutally honest.

Great branding creates a feeling, and every therapist office or website conveys a different one. 

Remember, your office should be less about you (I like cats, so here are my 53 favorite cat figurines to display in the lobby!) and more about the feeling you want a client to have when they walk in. 

  • Are you all about bold and modern choices to help them feel confident and empowered?
  • Soft and muted selections to help them feel peaceful and relaxed?
  • Do you want your office to feel homey? Maybe it’s time to add some cushy pillows, heaps of blankets, tea mugs.
  • Are you going for upscale and professional? Maybe it’s time to replace the aging rug or that Ikea desk you assembled yourself here on the floor, newly-licensed and broke–but eager.
  • What little details might help a client feel even more supported, such as further noise reduction, direction signs to the restrooms, etc?

And if you’re looking at your website, ask yourself:

  • Are my colors and fonts cohesive throughout?
  • Have I used images that convey what I want to communicate?
  • Is it very clear to any newcomer exactly what I offer? How they can get in touch with me? How they can download my freebies? How they can book a call?
  • Is there any room for someone to get lost or confused?

Going through this exercise with fresh eyes will give you a chance to delight your new clients and website visitors, just as my family was utterly delighted walking into Iginio Massari. 

“This looks like something out of a movie!” my kids kept saying as we all stared around, wide-eyed. We’ve all been in a million coffee/pastry shops in our lives: when’s the last time one had a memorable impact like that on you?

What you choose doesn’t matter, as long as you choose it. Great branding is a series of cohesive choices designed to create the vibe you want.

So take that walk through. 

Notice the colors. The impressions. The feelings. The details. 

Leaving Iginio Massari, carrying our adorable branded bags, we felt rich and fancy and vibrant and fun all at the same time. The delight we felt in that shop lifted our moods like crazy after a long, hot travel day. And yes, the sugar and caffeine didn’t hurt. 😆

Check out these pics for a sense of what I mean. Notice the fun walls, the light fixtures, the Iginio muppet, the gorgeous packaging, the perfect lines of sweets. 

Branding at this level is truly an aspirational sweet spot 😉 for all of us.