Building A Successful Dental Practice Brand
If you don’t think branding your dental practice is important, think again.
A strong brand strategy can help you differentiate your practice and become the foundation for long-term growth and profitability. The brand will become an asset on your balance sheet and will greatly improve the value of your practice should you decide to sell it. An estimated 60% of the value of Wall Street traded companies is derived from the intangibles created by strong brands.
Here are a few things you need to understand for successful brand development.
Branding is more than a logo and ad campaign. Advertising and promotions may help you build awareness of your practice, but does not necessarily translate into brand differentiation and equity creation. Your message must establish a relevant and meaningful difference between your practice and others in the market. No differentiation, no value creation, no profit improvement.
Achieving meaningful brand differentiation is rooted in understanding consumer emotions. Consumers have many practices from which to choose, but will be attracted to the one that appeals to both their physical and emotional needs. It is common for dental practices to focus on certain specialized clinical areas such as sedation dentistry, endodontics, crown and bridge, etc. Specialization will help prospective patients narrow down the field of possible options, but you must still create a meaningful difference between your practice and other practices that have focused on similar areas. The strongest foundation for brand differentiation is rooted in understanding the emotional needs of your prospective patient. How can your firm address fears, anxieties, or ensure greater joy or satisfaction from the work you perform? Approximately 90% of consumer purchase behavior is based on emotional fulfillment. Creating an emotionally engaging story is the key to meaningful brand differentiation.
Design your office to deliver a differentiated brand experience. First impressions have lasting effects. In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell cites it only takes a few seconds for the subconscious to draw a positive or negative conclusion. There really can be “love at first sight.” The exterior and interior of your office is no different. Hiring a good designer to help you with landscaping, selecting furniture and appropriate décor will send a strong message to the patient that they are in the right place.
Consistently meet or exceed patient expectations. The role of advertising and your website is to create expectations or anticipation of the brand experience. If the experience consistently exceeds expectations, your practice will not only earn the trust and loyalty of the patient, but will begin to reap the benefits of patient referral. The key to consistency is getting everyone on your staff to understand their role in delivering the brand promise. You must evangelize the values of the brand and make sure everyone understands just how important their role is. Savvy marketers hire based on personality types to deliver the desired brand experience naturally.
Diligently work to improve brand performance and relevance. Continual improvement is important as long as the improvements you make are highly relevant. Always keep the brand point-of-difference in mind when making changes. Survey patients on their experience and make adjustments in the experience where necessary to garner greater loyalty and advocacy.
Branding is ultimately a financial business strategy. The brand strategy will have an influence on every part of your practice. Even one of the most successful marketers in the world, Proctor and Gamble, recently announced a reorganization of its marketing function. Marketers are now taking on the role of brand management and assuming a more holistic, business level point-of-view. “These changes will help us unify brand-building resources to focus on delivering better brand and business results, clarify roles and responsibilities to make faster decisions, and simplify our structure to free up time for creativity and better execution,” according to a P&G spokeswomen.
Branding is an important key to your success. Take time to develop a brand development plan for your practice today.
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Last modified: September 23, 2014