Why your brand is so important to the success of your practice
Even today, when the importance of sustained marketing is almost universally accepted by dentists, many owners are half-hearted marketers at best. Understandably, for a profession built around clinical excellence, time and money spent on social media, content creation and other marketing matters can seem unwarranted.
Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Establishing a strong brand and keeping this in front of your patients, as well as prospective new clients, is key to ensuring the long term health of your practice.
There is frequently misunderstanding amongst practice owners over what ‘brand’ actually is. Brand, especially in a clinical profession, is far from being simply a matter of name, logo, colours and consistent visual design. While these are all elements of the visual presentation of a practice’s brand, ‘brand’ itself is made up of a deeper and more intrinsic set of elements.
Brand is best thought of as the personality your practice conveys. Does it present itself as traditional? As technologically driven? As a guardian of family health? As a practice for busy working people? Is it an extension of one dentist’s long standing reputation, or is it a fast, bright, modern ‘clinic’ operation, where the identity of the individual dentists is deliberately played down?
Once a practice is clear on the core values and meanings of its brand, then everything it does contributes to communicating (or potentially to damaging) these.
How your signage and premises look and feel. How information and marketing literature looks and talks. How your practice managers speak on the phone. How you come across in your own social media content, and how you’re talked about elsewhere online and in real life by clients and patients. The text messages you send out. The experience you deliver in the chair. How treatment consumables look and feel when received by a patient. The quality of your care and communication after treatment. It’s dozens of touchpoints like these that, collectively, define the brand of your practice.
‘Reputation’ was understood to be both socially and commercially important for dentists long before the profession embraced brand and marketing in the way we are now familiar with.
Today, however, patients are sophisticated consumers, and dentists and dental practices are judged in much the same way as other services in the health and wellbeing sector. As a result, the traditional importance of reputation is now better thought of as the critical importance of brand.
Do I like this practice? Is it the kind of place I like to receive treatment? Does it look and feel hygienic and clinical? Does it feel as though it embraces up to date technology and tools? Do I feel the care I receive is of a high standard? Do I like the way the people talk and listen to me? Do I hear and read good reports about it?
It’s the attributes of the practice just mentioned that combine to build the trust on which a strong patient pipeline, and a healthy flow of high value casework, depend.
Cosmetic work of any kind is a costly choice for a patient, and so purchase decisions (where to have treatment, as well as whether to have it at all), are influenced by a host of consumer criteria. Every investment made in building and asserting your brand contributes to the confidence with which a patient trusts your practice to deliver the successful outcome of cosmetic (or complex remedial) treatment.
Of course, building a strong brand is important not only for its impact on your business today.
If you have a practice that you plan to scale to a chain, the brand values you have established will be essential to achieving success. Similarly, if you are working with an eye on an eventual sale of your, the strength of the brand you have established will play a significant role in both the kind of buyers you attract, and the valuation you secure.
The transformation that digital workflows have delivered to practice efficiencies and profitability is recognised by almost all dentists. The significance of the contribution made by digital dentistry to perception of your brand is easier to miss.
Today, however, being seen by patients to have adopted and be making effective use of up to date digital dentistry defines a practice as dynamic, offering the best possible treatment environment, and delivering prosthetics and cosmetic treatment aids manufactured using today’s digital capabilities, rather than legacy mechanical techniques. In short, digital dentistry adds reassurance that you are keeping up to date with the profession’s evolution, as well as tech credibility, to your brand.
Just as all dentists are not the same, so labs and digital workflow partners differ in their service delivery and the contributions they are able to make to reinforcing the presence of your brand.
In general, patients will have few or no points of interaction at all with your lab or digital manufacturing facility. In the surgery, with you present and handling all prosthetics or treatment aids from their packaging, items branded to your practice would add no value to the patient’s perception of their care.
In the case of aligners, however, an item packed and delivered to the patient and remaining present and in daily use in their home throughout their treatment program, the presence of practice branding can help to assert the stature and professionalism of the practice, and reinforce a patient’s confidence as well as their self justification of the money they are investing in treatment.
At 3dental, we specialise in providing dental practices with a direct, digital workflow for the design, manufacture and remote monitoring of aligners.
As well as ensuring an optimal workflow to help you reduce chairtime and increase turnover, and an outstanding quality of product, we go to great lengths to reinforce our dental practice customers’ brands to their patients through the packaged presentation of their aligners.
To do this, we have put in place the capability to customise our white boxed Premium Packaging with the logo and accurately reproduced brand colours of any practice.
The result is that the boxed aligners a patient receives extend the presence of your practice into their bedroom or bathroom, reinforcing your care and ownership of their treatment throughout its course, and building further trust and loyalty to your brand.
Can a logo on a box make a significant difference to your success as a business? It can. Everything you do to strengthen your brand amongst your patients and the surrounding community makes your practice stronger and, in the end, increases its value.