Connie Hopper discusses why your team is a vital component of your brand and how you can ensure they understand their part in making it a success.
In today’s media-rich world, most people understand the importance of brand to a business. What they don’t always understand is the significance of people in delivering that brand.
Many people still believe a clever logo or slogan is what makes a good brand, and whilst these are important, they are simply the manifestations of your brand. Your brand itself is the promise you make to your patients, and who better to fulfil that promise than your team?
No matter what your product or service, your employees are the most powerful representation of your brand and you need to be able to rely on them to execute it on a daily basis. In a dental practice, your staff are executing that promise every time they schedule an appointment, post on social media or pick up the phone.
Therefore, your staff need to be on board and fully immersed in your brand, otherwise how can you be sure that your promise is being delivered? In my experience, there are three key ways you can ensure your people connect to your brand.
1. Engage with your staff
Work together with everyone in the team and ask the right questions that will enable your staff to bring your brand to life. For instance, you can ask each other, what kind of patients you want to attract into the practice, and how do you want them to see you? If you’d describe your brand as offering ‘unparalleled customer service’, then what would your staff expect this to be?
If your employees feel involved in the process of developing the brand strategy, they will feel valued and be more personally invested in endorsing it. It may also offer the opportunity for your staff’s personal values to be aligned with the practice’s, which will only make it easier for them to deliver on. Engaged employees are going to be your best advocates for acquiring and retaining patients in the long run, by building confident and prosperous relationships through one united brand.
2. Share your brand promise
Now that your brand strategy has been created from the inside out, it’s important to share it internally, particularly as your team grows. After all, it would be a shame to create your strategy only for it to just fall by the wayside. It can be worthwhile writing down the strategy as part of your practice handbook.
For instance, if you use the example above of being a ‘cheerful, down-to-earth’ practice, you might want to write down your expectations of how the team should answer the phone or address patients.
If you have a written statement it makes it easy to refer back to and review your strategy as your practice evolves. It can also be used during inductions for new staff so they can easily understand what you stand for from the beginning. A well-defined brand will help to maintain your core values and keep your culture and brand strong.
Create the right environment
Don’t underestimate the importance of the physical environment of your practice. Is there anything that is keeping your staff from fulfilling the brand promise? They may find it hard to fully engage with and project your brand image to patients with confidence if their surroundings don’t match up, not to mention how confusing that will be to patients. If you’re promoting yourself as a high-end boutique, then the waiting room, treatment rooms, signage, etc, should reflect this.
By building a team of empowered and inspired employees, you will create authentic brand ambassadors that will help to build trust and loyalty among your patients.