Commentary: Why dental practice branding matters
Competition is ever increasing in this world of ours and dentistry is not immune from this trend. So, how do you set yourself and your dental practice apart from the competition and elevate yourself from being merely a commodity service? The key is to establish your practice’s brand.
Your brand is what comes to mind when your patients and prospective patients think of your practice. This is not your logo. Your logo is one piece that fits into what comprises a brand, but your brand is an emotional response that stems from the sum of all experiences your patients have while interacting with your practice. This starts from the first point of contact all the way through to check-up and any treatment follow-up that takes place.
The key to establishing your brand is to make a conscious decision on what you want this emotional response to be for your practice and designing each point of patient interaction to work together and reinforce this response.
Take for example one of the best examples of a distinctively crafted brand—Starbucks. For me, it is a warm, comfortable place where I’m always greeted by smiling, friendly staff, and a consistent, quality product. Yes, Starbucks is a coffee shop and sells coffee, but they can command a premium in the marketplace for a cup of coffee because of the quality of the overall experience that they provide, from the colours, smells, lighting, sounds, to service.
Now, think of your own dental practice. What does it sound like, smell like, and look like when you first walk up to the front door? Once inside the door, how do these factors change? Does the staff greet each new person with a warm smile and a friendly greeting? Does the front desk staff sit behind glass or are they out front and approachable? What is the lighting like and what is the colour of the walls? Are they warm and inviting or cold and institutional? When you sit down on the reception area furniture, is it comfortable? Does it express quality and success, or is it tired and worn?
In designing the brand for your dental practice, each of these factors is important and each of them contributes to how people remember you and what comes to mind when they think of you and the dental treatment you provide.
“But none of these things has anything to do with the expert care I provide as a dentist,” you say. No kidding! But, none of these factors has anything to do with brewing a cup of coffee, either. All these factors working together generate the experience you are creating for your patients, which along with your logo, signage and website, is the true essence of your brand. None of it comes about by accident. Each component must be thought about and choices made on how well the components fit together to create a cohesive whole.