For some commercial dental practices, brand building is not a priority. This is simply because they are first and foremost a practice, and this governs how they think and portray themselves.
However, this is a mistake. In fact, all dental practices have a brand, whether they realise it or not. In the case of commercial practices offering specialist treatments such as cosmetic dentistry, understanding your brand and how it can work for you is a business essential.
Because a dentist treats patients they may feel less like they are in the business of dentistry, but they must still compete, and branding is a big part of this.
What Does Branding Mean for Dentists?
The brand is much, much more than a logo.
It is the whole package. It is what the customer feels and experiences when they encounter any and all aspects of a dental practice.
Therefore, the brand must be consistent.
This goes beyond logos and typefaces, or even corporate colours. It is a mood, or a personality.
Now this might sound a bit too vague, but certain concrete things establish a mood, including how professional staff interact with patients, how they look, and the physical environment of the dental practice and surgery.
Or look at it another way: a dentist might have a terrific manner when it comes to interacting with patients, but if the surgery fit out itself does not back this up, then the dental brand is not performing as it should.
The brand is the physical and public display of everything that the practice stands for.
The Place of Dental Equipment in Branding
Obviously, for commercial dentists, their equipment, including dental chairs and digital imaging, does not carry their own brand, but the brands they choose will, ultimately say something about their practice’s brand values.
One of the reasons for this is that commercial dentistry is not simply grounded in the necessities and essentials of oral health. It can involve treatments and procedures that are elective, rather than prescriptive.
Also, it comes at a price, and to justify its price a brand must be able to demonstrate it has some inherent value, beyond the benefits of the treatments offered.
Building Trust in a Brand
The key objective of a dental practice’s brand is to communicate trust. Trust has the greatest value.
Trust comes from how the patient interacts with the service, from the receptionists and other staff to the layout and feel of the waiting and treatment areas. It comes from the level of attentiveness and communication they experience, whether remotely via email or phone, or in person.
The total patient experience is the foundation of the dental practice’s brand. The brand values should define what this is.
In this, the physical aspects of the surgery, and the human aspects should harmonise.
Brand Development for Dentists
A brand cannot afford to stand still. The world of commercial dentistry does not stand still. Treatments and equipment continue to improve, and as a result, patients’ expectations change.
The responsible, dynamic dental brand should be several steps ahead of its customers’ expectations.
It should be prepared to refine its equipment and its procedures and treatments to keep pace with change.
Successful, thriving businesses are proactive rather than just reactive. Commercial dentists should be the same.
“If you’ve invested in building and promoting your brand, don’t assume the job is complete. Dentistry is always changing and evolving, and your brand, including the equipment it uses, must change along with it to keep serving and attracting customers in a competitive marketplace.”
Pete Higson, RPA Dental