With so many other things to take into account, building a brand identity is not usually one of the first things that principals consider when setting up or expanding their practice. However, in reality every practice is simply a business, selling services to the public, and ultimately your practice should embody everything you want to say about your brand. So creating the right impression, one that will help attract patients and add value to your business, is something that really needs to be considered from the start.
Even when you are deciding which treatments and services to offer, it is important that you have a good idea of what your business stands for and what it means to you and your patients. Developing a brand will ensure that you take into consideration your business values and that will ultimately help you determine the future direction of your practice.
Power of big brands
Powerful brands are all around us and John Lewis offers a good example of a company that has worked hard to develop a recognised and trusted brand image. It is perceived by its customers as a strong British business and has built its reputation emphasising the fact that it is a ‘partnership’ owned by its staff. These values are communicated in everything that John Lewis says and does, giving its customers the confidence that team members will try that bit harder and ‘go the extra mile’ to meet and exceed their expectations.
Build your brand
Whilst we can’t all echo the success of John Lewis, it is possible to build a strong brand image that gives uniformity and professionalism to your practice. Everything, from your logo to your literature, your advertising to your website, even the practice building itself, should reinforce the values your brand represents.
Whether you’re a caring local family dental practice or a state-of-the-art high-tech practice offering the latest cosmetic treatments, your brand cannot be all things to all people. Make sure you understand what your brand stands for from the start, as this will make patients feel confident about the type of treatment and service they will receive.
Marketing a practice has not traditionally been something that dentists have had to concern themselves with, but the recent recession changed all that. Today’s patients are looking for more than just dental care; they want a good experience, excellent results and value for money, all delivered in a relaxing environment. An effective brand image should help communicate all these qualities as well as continually reinforcing them to patients.
Build patient loyalty
Nowadays there is a lot more to developing a successful practice then just providing dentistry. Principals must consider their business development strategy and look for ideas that will attract new patients and build loyalty.
Introducing a practice-branded dental plan is one approach that can provide considerable benefits to both practice and patients, and help strengthen your brand values. A dental plan allows patients to budget for their routine dental care and most practices find that patients committed to a plan are much more inclined to return for regular treatment. This ultimately benefits the practice by improving cash flow, increasing appointment bookings and providing greater financial stability, which gives them the confidence to plan future investments.
The impending NHS contract has caused increasing uncertainty amongst dentists in the past few years, resulting in an environment not necessarily conducive to stimulating business growth or investment. In fact, many practitioners are currently awaiting firmer details of the new contract before they once again consider their allegiance to the NHS.
Converting to private practice can be a stressful experience, but taking control of your practice affairs, free from the vagaries of government and the DoH, can be an attractive proposition. Introducing a well-presented practice-branded dental plan can be an ideal way to help maintain a regular income after moving to the private sector and can help you to recruit more patients. Working with providers that recognise the significance of your brand and understand its importance in relation to the value of your practice is vital when making these key decisions.
Your brand should be unique to you. With increasing competition across the country, the need for a strong brand identity to make your practice stand out from the crowd is now more important than ever. Don’t get left behind – develop your brand, start living it and you’ll never look back.
For more information on DPAS’ flexible, comprehensive and effective dental plans, call 01747 870910 or visit www.dpas.co.uk.