5 Tips for Branding Your Dental Practice
By: Erik Nelson
For a lot of dental practice managers and accountants, simply getting through the months and ensuring the books all line up properly while providing quality care is more important than anything else. There comes a point for most successful dental practices, however, when marketing simply cannot be overlooked any longer. Whether you’re considering a print/radio ad campaign, a new website or anything in between, the most important thing you can do for your business before any of this is to focus on branding.
In the simplest of terms, branding is essentially the practice of creating an “ethos” for your business. Visual elements and language play heavily into the branding process, but creating a cohesive brand is about far more than making a logo. Not sure where to start? Here are five tips that can help take your brand to the next level, and yes—your practice is a brand!
1. Determine “Touchstones”
Much of the process of brand building comes down to identifying what are often referred to as “touchstones.” These are not the same as mission statements, but rather words or very short phrases that speak to the essence of the brand—“compassion,” for example. An exercise in identifying touchstones can be a great way to bring your team together while also moving brand identity in a forward direction, and you can use them to develop language for marketing materials as you move ahead in the process.
2. Identify Differentiating Factors
The most successful brands in the world are those which have been able to differentiate themselves from a crowd of competitors—no small feat for dental practices. You owe it to your practice to identify exactly what it is that sets you apart from others who work within the same space. For some, it may be sedation dentistry, or perhaps you offer payment plans that are highly patient-centric. By identifying differentiators, you’ll be one step close to being able to communicate why your practice is the best in the area.
3. Develop a Brand Identity Package
As you move through the process of building your practice’s brand, you’ll eventually find yourself needing stationary, ad copy, brochures and similar items. This is where developing a brand identity package comes in, which will take into consideration fonts, color schemes, logos and anything else that may influence the look and feel of a print or digital piece associated with your dental practice. While this can most certainly be performed in-house, many find success in working with an advertising agency on developing brand identity.
4. Consider Your Patient Demographic
Demographic matters, especially when it comes to targeting your audience in the early stages of a new patient relationship. Fortunately, you probably already have quite a bit of demographic information at your fingertips thanks to logs from patients who have been coming to your practice for years. This information will tell you about age, gender, location and many other factors that may influence the way you develop your practice’s brand. The more you can learn and understand about your patients, the more targeted your branding will be.
5. Develop a Tagline
It’s often assumed that only consumer-facing companies releasing products to mass market need taglines to succeed, but that’s simply not true. A tagline can elevate your dental practice’s branding to new heights, especially if you’re able to swiftly convey the ethos of your brand in a concise manner. Taglines don’t need to be complicated—”Physicians Who Care” would make a great tagline for a general practitioner’s office. Stay true to the core of the brand, and don’t hesitate to get creative.
Branding can certainly be a tricky process for any dental practice, but it’s more than worth your time and effort. With a little bit of thought and brainstorming, you can set your business apart from the competition in no time.
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