Tom Dougherty, CEO of Stealing Share summed up the essence of successful branding in a recent Inc. Magazine article. When asked why he was willing to wait in a line for days to buy the latest iPhone, he said, “I want what the iPhone says about me, not what the iPhone actually does.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. A well-branded product or service isn’t necessarily the most affordable or even the best choice in the market, but rather, taps into the feelings we get when purchasing or using a product. Apple has branded its products as well-designed, cutting edge and just plain cool. Tom wanted to feel that way too, so he was willing do whatever it took (including waiting in a mall for days on end), to buy the product that added to his image.
But our clients are dentists, not high-end electronics providers, so how does successful branding translate for you? What Apple does so well is they make certain their brand is consistently communicated at every consumer touch point. That includes everything from logos, to advertising messaging, to the box the phone is delivered in. Everything matters.
We think the same can be said for dentists. While your services may not be delivered in a box, dentists can learn a lot about branding from Apple, who is considered to be at the very peak of brand excellence. Before you do anything to form your unique brand as a dentist, there are three questions to ask yourself:
What do you want your brand to say about you? – We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. As a dentist, your brand is YOU! So, what do you want it to say? Do you want to be the dentist that treats the whole family? The child-friendly dentist? The high-tech dentist? The eco-friendly dentist? In a perfect world, your brand would choose a niche and everything that represents your brand would say something to support that niche. Brand expert Derrick Daye put it best when he said, “If you keep changing your message, the message itself never really has time to take hold in the mind.”
Who do you want to say it to? – You should definitely decide who your services are for, but maybe more importantly, decide who they are NOT for. A lot of marketing budget can be wasted on trying to reach people who would never be attracted to your specific brand in the first place. For example, if you want to brand yourself as a high-tech dentist you will not attract patients who don’t find value in a dentist who has a modern office with the latest in dental technology. Just as some don’t value what carrying an iPhone says about them. Don’t waste your time trying to do that. Create an ideal patient profile who does value your practice and make sure the message your brand is sending would speak to them.
Where do you want to say it? – You have an almost endless amount of choices as to where your brand should be displayed. The easy part is making sure the images are consistent (ie – logos, pictures, colors, font styles, etc.) What can be more difficult is the marketing message that goes along with your brand. For example, if you have branded yourself as an eco-friendly dentist, you could post Facebook statuses about your new office recycling initiative and re-tweet any articles from ecodentistry.org to your Twitter followers. To ensure brand consistency, here is what needs to look (and sound) the same:
- Social Media Pages – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare
- Directory Listings – Google, Yahoo, Bing, Dr. Oogle, Yellow Pages (among many others)
- PPC Ads and Landing Pages
- Blog Content
- Radio, television or print ads
- Direct mail (dental postcards)
- Office signage, uniforms and décor
Brand consistency is often said to be marketing’s biggest asset. Whether you are starting a new practice or re-branding an old one, dentists can take a page out of Apple’s book and consider how their brand makes their patients feel. Brand consistency is just one of the many things we help our clients with. Contact us today to find out how we can help your practice.