Branding is more than the logo at the bottom of your email or on the front of your office door. It’s a reflection of what you, your team, and office represent. Branding allows you to define your business and separate yourself from the pack. It changes the way patients feel about you for better or worse and ultimately decides whether or not your business thrives.
Branding is a necessity for every business, especially dental practices. Generally speaking, dentist office brands tend to be generic, bland, and missing the connection that patients seek in businesses when deciding where to spend their healthcare dollars.
To help you and your dental practice avoid these pitfalls, we’ll be discussing:
- The importance of branding
- How to build your brand
- Our discovery process
- Making your brand sticky
- How to market your dental brand
- Other necessary marketing steps to get your dental practice the recognition it deserves.
Importance of Branding a Dental Practice
Branding is often misunderstood. Many people think it’s the aesthetic appeal of a practice, such as the name, logo, packaging, and design, but branding encompasses so much more. It’s a process that identifies, manages, and creates an asset that shapes the perception of current and prospective clients.
So, how do we shape that perception, if not through aesthetic appeal alone?
Well, a myriad of factors goes into defining your brand, such as customer relations and experiences, content, products or services, advertising, and many other elements that help build the reputation of your practice.
Every successful dental practice has one thing in common: a strong, memorable brand.
You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but we all do it anyway, and unfortunately, your brand is no different.
Your brand tells patients what to expect before they visit your practice, and if they're not intrigued by what they see, they’ll move on to the next available option, and you’ll be forgotten.
There is a direct correlation between your practice’s brand and your ability to generate new customers. The stronger your brand, the more likely you will generate a consistent flow of new patients while retaining current ones. Once a brand has been well-established, word of mouth will be the practice’s best and most effective advertising technique.
Aside from patient satisfaction, branding is also crucial for employee satisfaction.
When an employee works for a strongly branded company and truly believes in the brand, they will develop a sense of pride in their work, leading to better interactions with patients and a more efficient work ethic.
Working for a brand that is reputable and held in high regard amongst the public makes working for that company more enjoyable and fulfilling. So as you can see, branding has a much deeper rooting in your practice than just the logo on the front of your office door.
Building Your Dental Brand
The logo for your practice is just one of the many components of building your brand. Brand building is creating awareness and promoting your services using strategies and campaigns with the intent to create a unique image of yourself in the public eye.
When building your brand, there are a couple of important details to remember. First, your list of achievements is not considered a brand.
Although you should be proud of your accomplishments within your field, they do not help define who YOU are.
A list of accolades doesn’t give your soon-to-be patients any insight into what you and your practice stand for.
Current and prospective patients want to know what makes you so special. Are you charitable? Family-friendly? Or even luxurious? Being able to define and differentiate these qualities for your practice is the cornerstone to building your brand.
Another driving force behind brand building is your vision and mission statements.
Vision and mission statements are a clear and succinct way of stating what your practice is most passionate about. It’s the reason why you get up every day and go to work.
Your mission statement defines your brand's goals, objectives, and approach, whereas your vision statement is the long-term impact you want your practice to have on your community. Simply put, your mission statement is an everyday commitment and roadmap to your vision statement.
Everything from your logo to interactions with patients should reflect your vision and mission statements. Remember, this is the heart of your brand and what patients have come to expect. Staying true to your brand gives you a unique identity in the marketplace and a sense of direction for your practice.
If you’ve already begun to develop a brand, you’re ahead of most other dental practices. Still, it is important to be aware of what dental marketing firms can offer when working alongside you to build your brand.
The Discovery Process
The Diamond Group's Momentum system incorporates a discovery process to examine your brand and systematize every single part of it from the moment a person first hears about you to the point they become your patient.
To start, we’ll utilize a SWOT analysis to gauge and develop an understanding of your office’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. SWOT analysis is a great jumping-off point when developing a personalized marketing plan for your dental practice. It will help us assess what is currently working with your practice and where room for improvement is needed.
Once we’ve gauged and developed a comprehensive understanding of your marketing needs, we can start to develop your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
Your USP is the one feature or benefit of your practice that makes you unique from other dental offices and their brands.
It’s what motivates current and prospective patients to receive their dental care from you, even if you are more expensive than other offices.
USP is an important concept to understand and develop because it attracts consumers to buy a product or seek out a service from you.
We want to highlight your USP prominently so we can attract as many potential clients for you as possible.
Aside from focusing on your USP, we also want to cultivate and properly promote your values, mission, and positioning statement.
These marketing terms can get thrown around a lot and are even used interchangeably, but they are not the same.
Each brings a particular element to your overall marketing plan. When these statements are properly crafted by your team and reflected every day in your work, they can become a powerful asset for your practice when striving for success.
Social Media & Website Presence
Your social media and website presence are one of the strongest ways to market your brand. Rather than explaining how they can help your dental practice, let’s hear a few words from our social media and web design experts Hanna and Jason and what they bring to the table when The Diamond Group helps with your marketing and branding needs.
"Many of our clients come to us when they find themselves at a strategic crossroads or are launching a new venture and need support clarifying the path ahead in branding and marketing. They recognize their need to differentiate themselves from their competitors and that brands develop over time. A brand is more than just a logo. Every interaction a customer has with a business, either in person or online, shapes that customer’s perception of the brand. Each and every interaction needs to be meaningful and relevant, or else the customer will move on to a different brand that they do connect with."
Jason Hadfield, The Diamond Creative Director adds to this sentiment: "Our job is to build a recognizable, appealing brand for our clients that is true to themselves and meets the unique needs of their customers. Ultimately securing a place in the customer’s life. To achieve this end, we create a habit of listening to what our clients need to be successful and what their customers say they need. From there, we can create and implement a plan to move the brand forward. We create consistent visual branding, voice, tone and ensure clarity of purpose and processes as they interact with their customers.”
The most important remark to take away from Jason’s quote is The Diamond Group’s ability to create consistency and clarity in your branding, voice, and toning needs.
When developing an online presence, whether through social media or a website, it is imperative that your message is not only consistent but clear.
This allows you to hone in on your target audience and generate or drive the conversation towards them. In doing so, you can begin to direct referrals to your site, blog, and even your practice.
Let’s listen to another one of our talented team members and what they have to say about the benefits of maintaining a social media presence.
“My job is about turning a brand into a human element that the public can relate to." For most people, social media is the number one tool used to discover more about a company. When social media is executed properly, it can be more 3D than a company’s website. It intertwines a company’s values and beliefs into each photo, caption, and video. It displays informative and educational pieces that bring value to followers. It showcases content that dives into how the company operates. It brings out employees’ personalities through quirky videos.
Besides the actual content that is posted, social media provides an outlet to be “social” or interact with the public. We connect with current customers to create lasting relationships beyond the consumer & company relationship. We laugh, cry, celebrate, and encourage our followers right alongside their own family and friends.” - Hanna Pagliaro, Social Media Manager at The Diamond Group.
Hanna brings up some very valuable points when looking to use social media to extend your brand's reach. One of the most important points being that social media allows us to introduce a human aspect to your business, allowing prospective clients the ability to relate and find comfort in your brand. This is an excellent way to create loyal and sticky customers. By showcasing your values and beliefs in relatable ways, you can grab the attention of a much larger audience because that’s what people look for in brands these days.
Crafting Your Dental Brand
You’ve built your brand; now it’s time to craft it. By taking your practice's strengths and unique attributes, you can turn them into a secret recipe for success. Once your brand has been established, you can begin to ask yourself some fundamental marketing questions.
- Who is your ideal patient?
- Are they under the age of 18?
- Between the ages of 18 and 60?
- Or are they older?
It’s an important question to have the answer to since your brand is a reflection of your target audience. If all of your patients are over the age of 65, but you intend to be a family-friendly practice, you may need to re-evaluate your brand and make the necessary adjustments to compensate.
Another important question you should be able to answer is why did you get into dentistry?
Your patients want to know your motivation day in and day out when maintaining their oral health. It’s a defining factor when it comes to crafting your brand and making it unique. Simply saying you “do it for the paycheck” is not the brand or image you want the public or potential patients to have of you. This will negatively affect the flow of new patients coming into your office, office morale and ultimately end up with you having an unsuccessful practice.
Prospective patients want to hear you became a dentist because you strive to give everyone a smile they deserve in your community, to brighten the world with one smile at a time, something to that degree. People crave the reassurance that you genuinely enjoy maintaining their dental health, especially since it’s one of their most important assets.
Alternatively, another question that should be addressed when crafting your brand is, how are your styles and techniques different from others?
What separates you from the dental office five minutes down the street? Do you make use of the latest technologies, therefore allowing you a more in-depth look to develop a more comprehensive understanding of your patient's oral health?
Do you avoid using specific types of filaments because studies have proven they are a catalyst for oral health issues?
These are the types of questions you want to be able to address, which will set you apart from other offices. Any minute detail about the style or techniques you implore at your practice can change your practice for the better when properly branded.
Additionally, knowing why current patients come to your office can help zero in on the brand you want to create. The next time a current patient stops by your office, ask them what makes them want to keep coming back to you. This can help you develop an understanding of what you’re doing right and to build on top of the success you’ve already found. It can also help you address the areas of improvement for your practice.
Many questions need to be addressed when crafting your brand, as we’ve discussed above, but there are no questions that are more important to be able to answer than the following two: What can you do for me & why should I choose you? If you can answer these two questions with clarity and authenticity, your practice will thrive compared to the other practices in your community.
How to Make Your Brand Sticky
Brand stickiness is an informal measure of how well a brand resonates with consumers, making them want to keep coming back. Unlike a transactional customer, who only shops purely on cost and efficiency, a sticky customer finds value in your business and relates to your brand on a personal level. Because of this, sticky practices tend to be more memorable and receive more referrals.
One of the first and most important steps to becoming a sticky brand is consistency.
Keeping your interactions with patients and marketing messages consistent in their language, style, and design is the foundation to making your brand sticky.
Consistency allows your target audience to be exposed repeatedly to your core message and visual branding, which helps establish and solidify brand recognition in the public's eye. When your brand is consistent, it allows you to have more control in shaping the perception of your brand in the mind of current and prospective patients.
Brand consistency also leads to building trust and loyalty amongst your patients and staff. Customers are naturally skeptical at times, and brand consistency is a simple solution to alleviating those concerns.
Having a consistently unique experience when engaging with your brand develops an assurance in people knowing they will receive the same experience each and every time. It also introduces a level of transparency in your services, allowing prospective patients to already know what they are getting before they even receive it.
Other ways to boost the stickiness of your brand are to be relevant and energetic. Sticky brands fit in with the times. It’s easy to fall short on this category, especially for dental offices. Dental offices tend to be boring, drab, bleak, and that's exactly what prevents a brand from being sticky.
Dental offices with sticky brands have personality, are interesting, and stick out from other practices because of it. People are attracted to their practice because they sense an energy and vibrancy about them.
As you can see, it’s a combination of efforts from several points to make your brand sticky, but let us not forget about one of the easiest and simple ways to create a sticky brand: relationships with customers.
As a dentist, forming relationships with customers is one of the most important aspects when creating a sticky brand. As you already know, most Americans experience some degree of fear or anxiety when visiting dentists. Being able to alleviate those anxieties when working with you is a great foot in the door to building a sticky brand. An element of personalization grabs the patient's attention, making them feel like your brand and practice genuinely care about them.
Marketing Your New Dental Brand
You’ve taken the time to develop and cultivate your brand; now it’s time to market it! Over the years, marketing has become much more lucrative than it once was, and a simple mailer or postcard won’t get you the attention you’re looking for.
It takes eight touches, minimum, to get potential patients to notice you.
An integrated marketing strategy, which can include, for example, a strong website with relevant copy, Facebook and Google ads, social media presence, and a blog is your best bet to get new patients in your chair.
Just as consistency is important when developing a sticky brand, so is it when marketing your brand.
Being consistent with your marketing strategies allows you to build brand recognition and reinforce your practice’s place in your community.
Having a consistent stream of ads, quality content, and a social media presence will dramatically improve the number of eyes taking a look at your brand.
Optimizing your website is key when marketing your brand.
In the world of online marketing, your website is the face of your brand and often the first place prospective patients go when deciding whether or not they want to seek treatment at your practice.
So, you want to ensure your website is of high quality.
Although simply focusing on search engine optimization is not enough, it is important, but you want to also make certain you are optimizing your content as well.
A good way to help optimize the content on your website is to include a blog.
Blogging is an essential way to capitalize on your brand in the digital marketing landscape. It gives your brand more visibility and increases the chances of success for your brand.
Maintaining a blog on your website can further improve your search engine ranking while establishing validity for your brand as your practice begins to expand its reach.
Additionally, blogs are a great way to develop relationships with current and prospective patients. They allow you the opportunity to convey personality and add value to your practice. Posts that help give tips or even solve minor oral health problems are far more interesting to current or prospective clients than any advertisement. People appreciate the time and energy you put into providing free, beneficial content, which in turn builds loyalty for your brand and makes people more likely to choose you over your competitors.
Having a social media presence working in tandem with your blog and website is absolutely crucial this day in-age when marketing your brand. Everyone makes use of social media, which makes it a no-brainer when trying to capitalize on marketing your brand.
Social media allows you to generate conversations about your brand, products, and services in a more personal way than you ever would be able to in the traditional setting of a dental office.
Aside from helping create brand recognition, which is one of your most important marketing goals, social media can help you become an authority figure and trusted source of information on dental topics. The more frequently you post relevant content on your social media platforms, the more search engines will pick up on your authority for that particular subject. In turn, this will lead to your website and social media outlets appearing on the first page of Google searches and increasing traffic.
The Diamond Group Helps Dentists
We’ve given you a lot of information today, and we hope it was helpful. There is so much more to discuss about branding and marketing strategies, but we hope that we could give you a glimpse as to the importance of branding and what The Diamond Group can do for your practice.
We’re internet marketing pros, and we love what we do. Helping other businesses, especially dental practices, find their voice & brand in their community is what we excel at. If you have been contemplating the idea of seeking out help or a second opinion with your branding and marketing strategies, look no further!
At The Diamond Group, we specialize in helping dental practices like yours find their place in their community, and we’ve been doing it for 25 years. Reach out to us, and we can give you a free consultation and SEO audit to show you exactly what we can do for your dental practice to increase the number of patients that walk through your door, increase brand awareness, and cultivate a recipe for success for years to come for your practice.