“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks
Just what are a brand name and a brand promise, and how can we relate that to dental care?
Branding is part of marketing and is one of the most critical components. It includes developing a good relationship with the target market, or in this case, patients, essential to the success of dental business and establishes the recognizable “brand.” A brand is the total of expectations, memories, experiences, and relationships that, taken together, account for a patient’s decision to choose your dental practice over the dentist down the block. The goal of dental branding is to keep patients returning for care every year.
A friend was looking for a specific brand of cleanser for his bathtub. It was called “Soft Scrub,” and he didn’t want any other kind of soap—just that one. On the website, the brand promise states: “Cleans from the first wipe, more time for you and less time cleaning.”
My friend said it was the performance of the product, consistently good without a lot of time rinsing the residue off the tub and that is why he would buy nothing else even though there were dozens of similar cleaning products on the shelves.
Choosing a brand name has an emotional component and connects the past to the present in a unique way. It’s an experience that separates different products and services in a world where quality is often comparable or the same. The elements provide the company with its own unique identity in the marketplace. In today’s world, people buy the brand, not the product. There are many equivalent products to many famous brands today, but consumers look for their “trusted brand” and remain loyal.
There are many dentists in the marketplace today, so how will you brand your practice to stand out and be memorable?
The era of manufacturing and packaging arose in the 19th century. In 1886 the Coca-Cola Company was getting started; there were many soda producers. Before Coca-Cola could get a customer to reach for a Coke, it needed to be sure the customer knew the difference between their product and just any other cola-flavored product.
When loyal patients return for dental care month after month and year after year, do you suppose it is because of the “brand?” Every filling, crown or other prosthetic the dentist’s place is his or her brand and with it, the promise to be able to chew, have the proper balance of anatomy and aesthetics and be pain and infection-free.
Do you differentiate your brand of care so that the patient understands the value? What products or services do you offer that are unique, modern, and bring value to the total health of the patient?
The promise of brand performance is a valuable or a memorable experience a patient can anticipate receiving every time they come into the practice for dental care. The more the dental practice can deliver on that promise, the stronger the brand value in the mind of patients and employees.
What is your promise when a patient comes into your dental office? What can they expect in return for showing up? Your brand is the focus of all your marketing efforts to always create loyalty.
Here is an example of dental brand promises:
- We value your time. You will not have to wait to be seated for more than ten minutes.
- We value your health. We have created an environment that is clean, sterile, and safe.
- We value the positive outcome of your dental care. We use the latest technology, techniques, and best materials.
- We value your finances. We are fair in our fees and offer options for affordable payments.
- We value the relationship we have with you. We will always work with you to build the optimum dental health for your total well-being.
When your patient leaves the office after an appointment, what do you want them to remember about the experience? You want the patient to say, “I just had the most positive experience of my life in the dental office. I have found my forever home here and look forward to coming back.”
Consistency in meeting the patient’s expectations will build trust in your brand and ensure that patients will keep returning year after year.
James Anderson, DMD was an entrepreneur before becoming a dentist. His leadership and business presentations offer dentists the essentials needed to achieve the practice and life of their dreams. His speaking programs help dentists realize their full practice potential by combining dental clinical skills with excellent business skills to create a profitable and enjoyable dental practice career.