When you think of successful brands, you might think of big name products with big time marketing budgets. You think of brands that have been treasured by American consumers forever, like Tide laundry soap, Chevrolet cars and just about any product distributed by Procter and Gamble. No matter how big or small your market is, your dental practice is also a brand and if constructed well, can be your most powerful and profitable business asset.
Why do people resonate with (and buy) well-branded products or services?
One (admittedly very academic) theory, provided by brand experts Margaret Mark and Carol Pearson, is that the most successful brands tap into our feelings by evoking certain archetypes that we all universally understand. The archetypes we relate to reinforce our own subconscious perceptions and beliefs, therefore, we connect with and tend to purchase the brands that use these archetypes to inform their marketing and advertising. This might partially explain why someone might be very passionate about his or her choice to drink Coke instead of Pepsi. It’s not necessarily about taste or price, but rather, they connect with Coke’s marketing message and how it reinforces their beliefs and lifestyle choices.
So, does all of this marketing mumbo-jumbo mean you should be concerned with brand archetypes and tapping into your potential patient’s most closely held beliefs? Nope. A dentist doesn’t have to brand with the likes of Tide, Chevy, Coke or Pepsi. But you can’t deny that a potential patient has a lot of choices today when they need a dentist. You still need to stand out from the crowd, so why not take a few marketing pointers from the best to help brand your practice.
Why do successful dental brands…succeed?
Simple. A well-communicated dental brand has perceived value. People know it, so they trust it and assume it’s the best. Successful dental branding (and the key to creating a practice that stands out from the crowd) is three-fold:
- Be excellent, clinically
- Give superior customer service
- Tell Them. Then tell them again! – Communicate the above two points clearly, concisely and meticulously, every single day you are open for business.
Let’s turn all of this marketing academia into some business tips you can actually use. The good news is you don’t need a Procter and Gamble-sized marketing budget to communicate a successful brand; you just need to pay attention to a few things. Here are five critical elements of a dentist’s brand and some tips for creating a well-branded dental practice:
1. Your Website
Your website is the virtual front door to your practice and with so many potential patients searching for a dentist online, you want to make sure it represents you well. Your website should be easy to navigate, contain quality images, offer information about your services and staff and of course a good photo of you, the dentist. It’s also a good idea you’re your website is responsive too, so it can be easily and correctly viewed on any device. Read more about the characteristics of the most successful dental websites here.
2. Your Online Reputation
Research shows that even if a potential patient is referred to you, they will still likely Google you before they set an appointment. Your online reputation IS your brand and if there are negative reviews about you online, it undercuts the value of your brand and makes all of your marketing hard work for not. Know what’s being said about you online by your patients, employees and competition by Googling yourself regularly. You also might want to consider enrolling in a proactive reputation management program and actively protect your reputation and your brand. For specific strategies, request our free eBook “The Definitive Guide to Online Reputation Management for Dental Practices.”
3. Your Office, Signage and Customer Service
When constructing your brand you also need to consider what your patients see and experience when they come to your office. Do you want to be known as the friendly family dentist? Or the state-of-the-art cutting edge practice? Or maybe an eco-friendly or “green” practice? These branding decisions will influence the colors of your signage and logo, what your office furniture and artwork should look like and even the way that your staff answers the phone and greets your patients. In other words, decide what to be…and then be it! PS – Don’t forget to make sure your website design flows with your office design choices as well.
4. Your Practice Name and Logo
Your actual practice name and logo are an important part of your brand. Once you decide what you want your practice to be called, it’s hard to ever successfully change it because you lose any brand equity your name has built online and in your community. When you choose your name and logo, we usually suggest you stay away from using your personal name as your practice name; (ie – Dr. Bob Smith, DDS). Why? It makes it harder for you to sell your practice in the future should you choose to do so AND it’s more difficult to add any associates to a practice with your name. As of Google’s preferences today, practices that include your city name (ie – Dallas Dental Designs) tend to do better in terms of local SEO.
5. Online and Offline Marketing
The key to successful branding is to make sure anything that your patients can see about your practice makes sense when viewed together. So, for example, if your office is beautiful but your website is a mess, or vice versa, it disrupts your brand alignment. If your logo is blue but everything else is green and red, your brand isn’t being consistently communicated. If you decide to purchase a billboard or ad in a local paper, the messaging, colors and images should be in line with what your patients see on your website and inside your practice.
Essentially, your brand is anything that your patients and potential patients can see or read about you. Creating a successful dental brand doesn’t have to be difficult, time consuming or need to be backed by huge marketing budgets. By paying attention to the five critical elements of your brand, you can be sure your practice will stand out in any market.
Need our professional team to create your successful dental brand? Contact us today and find out how we can help.