The rebranding of Denplan to Simplyhealth Professionals could be a positive move for everyone involved, Michael Watson says.

Last week I attended to a news presentation at the Museum of Brands in west London.

The venue was not accidental as the news we were given was the rebranding of Denplan to become Simplyhealth Professionals.

Since then social media has been alive with protests from dentists deploring this change, saying how much they value the Denplan brand.

But Caroline Coleman, the new managing director of Simplyhealth Professionals, said: ‘Our member dentists will continue to benefit from having access to the same great products and services from our teams that they value, but will also benefit from having access to all of Simplyhealth’s portfolio of products and the combined resources now available to us.’

Denplan dentist

I have to declare an interest as some 30 years ago, I too was a ‘Denplan dentist’, so I have always had a somewhat sentimental attachment to the brand.

Since I left clinical dentistry, I have also enjoyed my contacts with the company and had many discussions with both the former MD, Steve Gates and former chief dental officer, Roger Matthews.

The Denplan stand was always a ‘must visit’ place at dental exhibitions, to say nothing of my wife’s appreciation of their shopping bags.

Denplan was always about dentists and, as important, patients; I hope that this will continue under the new brand.

But sentiment does not build a successful brand or a successful company and its focus will be on continuing ‘to provide the highest levels of service to dentists, and remain the leader in the healthcare marketplace.’

The company also said that it will continue to provide ‘the full range of leading Denplan dental payment plans under the Denplan product name.’

It does look therefore as if, from the patients’ point of view, the brand will still exist.

Brands within a brand

Another non-dental story that hit the headlines last week was the proposed take-over (now abandoned) by Kraft of Unilever.

The former owns Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Dove soap, and Hellmann’s mayonnaise, while Kraft’s range includes Philadelphia cheese and Heinz baked beans.

These ‘brands within a brand’ are far better known than their parent company; perhaps this will happen with Denplan and Simplyhealth.

As a postscript, I also enjoyed a blog by Les Jones of the rival provider, Practice Plan.

He shared his insight into what a brand is and why it’s so important for a dentist’s business.

He wrote: ‘Your brand is your reputation.

‘It is how people perceive you in your marketplace, and that means that your brand is not what you think it is but what your customers think it is.’

An interesting observation in the light of Denplan’s rebranding.