What does your brand say about you?

A brand is a symbol of what your dental practice is all about. It creates associations and expectations of what your dental practice has to offer. It encompasses your logo, fonts, colour schemes, sounds, smells, as well as the values you uphold in your business. What are you trying to tell your customers about what you do?

Have you ensured that what your customers perceived your practice to offer and what they actually receive are

congruent? In my opinion, it is a waste of money spending £10,000 on an all-singing, all-dancing website if, when your new customer rings up, they are greeted by

‘Afternoon, dental practice’.

You can create value in the customers’ eyes by providing an exceptional customer experience that, in turn, will generate further profit for you. You can almost feel the energy when you visit a practice that has got it right.

In today’s market, where every practice says they are offering cosmetic dentistry, how does the consumer choose? The layperson cannot evaluate the marginal fit of your crown or how stable the occlusion is.

Instead, they will tell their friends that they watched a DVD, the nurse remembered they had been to a U2 gig last week, they did not have to wait for the appointment and it did not hurt!

Your team is an important part of that brand – when did you last say thank you to them? I took my team ten-pin bowling last week. Then, after lunch, I gave every member of staff (even the associates) an envelope containing cash.

Each team member had two hours to buy themselves a present, before reconvening to show their purchases to their team mates.

I stipulated that they must produce receipts and that any monies left over were to be given back to me. Do you know what? The most I got back was £4.26. If you want to know how much I gave them, you need to be at my seminar on 12 September (see below).

If you would you like to use branding, marketing and the internet to fill your practice with new patient consultations, book now.

• James Goolnik will be speaking along with Chris Barrow and Iain Scott at Marketing essentials for a more profitable practice on Friday 12 September 2008 at the Royal College of Physicians, London. Please call Independent Seminars on 0800 371652 or visit www.independentseminars.com for further information and to book your places.

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