Stand by Your Brand
Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last. If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand. Howard Schultz
The word “branding” may sound like something in the arsenal of a marketing professional who is trying to sell you on a package deal to promote your dental practice. It is part of a comprehensive marketing strategy and one of the most powerful.
People today are swayed to buy recognized brands because they are familiar with the marketing or “brand promise” and will buy based on consistency and expectations that the product will perform.
When you buy for the brand, you know what to expect from the product and what you want to experience. If you like chicken sandwiches, you probably have a favorite brand. Why is it your favorite? We all have our reasons for choosing brands.
Many dentists perform implant surgeries and prosthetic restorations, but how many are “branded” as the reputable, reliable source of implant/restorative dental care?
A prominent example of branding in the implant marketplace is ClearChoice, Dental Implant Centers. For more than ten years, the company has been working on establishing the brand with heavy marketing on television, radio, print advertising in targeted marketing campaigns. Their promise is on their website as “New teeth in Just One Day.”
Implants are their specialty, and they believe in the philosophy of one team working face to face through each phase of treatment. They offer one cost with no surprise or hidden fees. All the providers are on-site and in one location so the patient can expect to have started to finish without having to go to a separate lab location with multiple visits. Because of the marketing/branding efforts, Clear Choice now has 54 centers in their network and have treated more than 50,000 people.
Can your dental practice promise a great experience consistently for your patients?
People don’t return to healthcare facilities for the same reasons they don’t go back to restaurants. People take note of the physical appeal of the entrance, the reception area, restroom facilities, the décor, the smell, the music, the cleanliness, the evidence of quality before they ever sample the product or service.
All of these are components of marketing and don’t cost a lot to improve. Patients may not comprehend the value of the treatment they receive, but they always remember how the experience made them feel.
In developing your brand, you want your identity to be part of the recognition, but let’s not forget why we are branding, and that is to attract and keep patients. Establish a “touchstone” or a simple word that sets the value or authenticity of your brand. For instance, “fine service is one touchstone of a first-class restaurant.” What one word or simple phrase would describe your brand?
Develop your mission statement so that it shares the values of your patients and deliver it consistently, and it becomes part of your brand. Let’s say your practice is in a suburban area, and most of your demographic are young families. Your mission statement would have to appeal to this group. It is understood that people develop relationships with brands based on shared values and standards, and patients choose providers of healthcare based on these same reasons.
Ask, “What does my dental practice value? What do we do to make a difference in the lives of our patients?”
Identify what your patients want and need from a provider. Moreover, delivering the requests will do more to build your brand than having a fancy coffee pot and bottled water in the reception room.
Branding is also about consistency in color schemes, logo, appointment cards, business cards, and all other printed material that encounters the public and the patients. All the attractive features of a well-appointed dental office will not create a brand the same as friendly and helpful customer service and reliable, dependable professional care.
The visual brand, such as a logo is essential to establish your brand identity. A consistent design aesthetic that connects your website, social media pages, and offline marketing materials make for recognition of who you are. However, the total package of how the patient is welcomed treated and dismissed create the memorable part of your branding that is the most important.
When patients know what to expect, you keep your promise of quality service and great patient care your patients will continue to return year after year.
Dental Billing Tips and News for Pros; Edition #143