Is your practice delivering on the brand identity you want, Jo Phillpot questions.
The perfect symbiosis between function and artistry is the ultimate goal for dentists. Successful dentistry – by design – should last for many years, provide comfort and function and improve aesthetic appearance. Smiles all round then!
Similarly, a business brand needs to achieve the same goals as your clinical skills – effectively, the end result needs to look good, have longevity and please existing patients as well as entice new ones through the door.
Any dental practice owner looking for continued success should therefore be mindful of how best to promote its strengths and maintain long-lasting appeal – so unless you believe in serendipity, branding should never be left to chance.
Much like dentistry, a brand needs a hands-on approach and requires careful planning and continued input over time. So, how does a practice brand develop?
Firstly, a practice needs to develop a reputation based on solid principles – and this will form the foundation of a brand. Invite your team to contribute their thoughts about the practice’s identity – select a few trusted colleagues for input regarding the look, typography, colour palette and overall brand messages.
A business brand is as much to do with team identity and the way they appeal to patients, as it is the creative images and marketing messages.
How do your team look together? Can you tell at a glance who’s who in the team? Is there uniformity in the way the team communicates with patients as well as the way they are dressed? In other words, does their appearance dovetail nicely with their behaviour and do they both amplify and reinforce your brand?
What is your primary demographic? What are the most requested treatments? Does your brand reflect these?
You may wish to consider investing in the opinions of happy patients, too. Request feedback from the most loyal – online as well as at your reception desk – and compile a list of key questions. Whatever comes back, be sure to accept the negative as well as the positive and build on both. Ask what they would want to see in your practice as well as what they don’t.
Your branding checklist
The following are six more considerations to use as a checklist to help you to make your brand more of a hit than a miss.
1. Tell a story
A brand should meet the expectations of those who use your business. The best measure of success is found in the interactions between your practice and your patients – and the final results. Use their stories to build your brand.
Treatment information, for example, can be supported by real-life case studies and patient testimonials. People like to read about people so don’t forget to include your own story – in your branding as well as on your ‘about us’ page on your practice website.
2. Be visible
You may know why your business is so great, but do others? Is your brand a beacon of dental care in your locality as well as in the virtual world?
Share information, educate and interact regularly to ensure potential customers know you exist and care. Find a voice and use it daily. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of social media ‘noise’ so raise the bar with your online activity.
3. Be accessible
And be interactive, too. If you have a social media presence, then do respond quickly to any enquiries from potential patients – whatever the platform. Potential leads grow cold quickly if you fail to react immediately to interested parties.
Make sure your website is easy to navigate and is designed to answer any FAQs. Similarly, ensure your front desk team efficiently handles any enquiries by phone or face-to-face – whether it is about the treatments you offer or the dental plan that supports them. In essence, the more visible and accessible you make yourself, the stronger the brand.
4. Be consistent in your branding
Take time out to review your marketing – online, in your signage and your literature, at the front desk and in your dental plan. Does your brand look and ‘feel’ the same throughout?
5. Be honest
Does your brand translate well from face-to-face interactions across to social media and vice versa? What is the reputation of your practice with patients – and is this reflected honestly in the branding you employ?
If you are looking to become a trusted source, your business needs to uphold and deliver on all that your brand promises.
6. Be the architect of your brand
And engineer it into a dynamic powerhouse that drives your practice towards a profitable and successful ‘patient-happy’ future.
DPAS is a specialist provider of practice-branded dental plans for your practice and patients, offering everything the team needs to implement and promote plans effectively. For further information, visit www.dpas.co.uk, email [email protected] or call 01747 870910.