Dentists, have you asked yourself this question: Are logos really needed for my practice? Actually, no dental office needs a logo.
However, every business needs a brand.
Strategic dental branding helps the consumer make faster, more accurate decisions:
- Is this the dental office that I should consider?
- How should I think about the dentist's expertise and services?
- Are the dental office's fees commensurate with the service, and treatment value provided?
What about the dentist that lacks oodles of time, long community standing, and/or sales prowess?
- The Economy has hit the dentist hard, compared to other dentists
- Dentists who have built their practice with referrals, but referrals are dwindling.
- They change their dental treatment approach, and patients are not accepting this strategy.
- Revenues have slowed and the practice realizes this is real, not a fluke.
- The area has changed, and patients have different expectations, and other options (new dentist competitors).
- It is a startup dental practice, and many things have to go right to be successful.
- Finally, the area has some cruise control elements, but dental consumers are unaware of YOU!
How Can You Get Things To Move In Your Direction?
- Do some advertising in the local newspaper?
- Send direct mail dental postcards?
- Improve your dental team?
- Relocate or remodel your dental practice?
- Lower your fees? Offer half off smile whitening?
- Run PPC Online Advertising or SEO to your dental website?
- Add new advanced technology, cosmetic (botox) services and promote them?
- Develop a new dental logo?
The answer to these dental marketing questions are yes and maybe no. Here are some ideas to give you a way forward.
FIRST, Do Something Consistent And Unique
Doing something consistent is vital, but which ones and why do them? You figure this out by determining what your dental brand is. To many people and dentists, branding sounds like pure marketing consultant hokum.
Sadly, it often is. Not because there is no value in dental branding, but because few dentists develop their brand adequately, using rationale data and appropriate examination of their dental practice development goals.
Many companies disappear before most of us know who they are because of a weak idea. Other “great” marketing ideas have a short lifespan: the pet rock or petfood Dot Come, my pet examples. Then there are companies like Wells Fargo and Microsoft with brands that were built over time rather than through a "branding process".
Dental practices usually fall somewhere in the middle of the previous brand building examples. Waiting 5 years to build their dental brand is an eternity for some dentists. Most dentist brands also don’t outlive the first dentist who develops it.
Many dental practices start up much like a new family owned restaurant. They have good food (clinical skills), a nice interior presentation, and excited people ready to serve. They can thrive for a while on this energy and with a healthy referral base. "Come to my dentist - she just opened a practice and is looking for new patients. She is very friendly and gentle."
A few years later the schedule is full and “accepting” new patients are less of an issue. Maybe the dental practice is on cruise control on the wrong road and does not know it. Besides the economy hitting a wall, there also things like the community changing – younger competitors shake things up and newer suburbs pull people away.
Dental treatments, techniques, and strategies evolve. These complex concepts become a harder sell or just bewildering to present in a cohesive way. Financing and dental insurance add more issues and complexity to the relationship.
New dental patient referrals start diminishing. And face-to-face referrals often cannot provide the right mix of “education” to move consumers up the ladder to higher-level dentistry.
Patients still thinks the dentist is very nice, but $12,000 for a restorative or cosmetic case requires more than nice. Patients and other local consumers start seeing other dentists marketing and begin thinking the competitor has something their dentist does not have.
As dentists figure out how they will garner your portion of these dental patients, others are stumbling onto to these consumers by just doing something. These dentists slap together dental logos, ads, PPC advertising, SEO keyword content, DVDs, mailers and dental websites, Facebook, Twitter...
With shear force of doing something (and often being the first to do it), these doing something dentists find some success.
While dentists like you could jump into this fray with your own something here, something there dental marketing campaign (or possibly you already have) you stop short and say to yourself: "This is not for me. There should be a way I can have success, but still present the image I want." This is where dental branding is required!
Rather than "advertising" and hawking your dental wares, you want to communicate a different level of dental value and expertise. Your dental brand could be an upscale image or just an upgrade in expectations and results. An effective brand cannot be pulled from the shelf.
Make It Happen With Dynamic Dental Branding!
- It’s an approach with more depth than artwork alone (a dental logo)
- Determines who you should be (moving beyond the generic dentist concept)
- Refines your image so you speak directly and efficiently to your target patients
- Provides an effective background story to build memorable and genuine rapport
Communicating relevant aspects of who you are (your dental brand) helps consumers make quicker decisions about "what to do" as your patient. It prompts or cues dental patients to more easily accept what you emphasize.
Example of A Common Consumer Experience
Coffee is an intrinsic part of the consumer culture. Service stations give it away with a fill up. Some restaurants give free coffee refills. It can be sold as a loss leader to get you to buy a meal. Now with one word, I will get many of you to pay $3.99 for one cup a joe: Starbucks! What does coffee have to do with dentistry or dental marketing?
Well, too many consumers think of dentistry healthcare’s loss leader. If the patient gets it with a fill up (it's covered by their dental insurance) they will consider it. When done properly, dental branding changes this dynamic and puts dentistry higher up on the priority ladder.
Yes, not every consumer will reprioritize his/her dentistry budget because of marketing. No matter what Starbucks does to their coffee, I won’t pay $3.99--because I do not like coffee. But Starbucks is focused more on the “coffee group” than me. They have defined their audience and are mining that vein. Targeting me is a waste of their time.
Furthermore, brands cue consumers on what to do, believe in, and ask for. Rather than a restaurant that sells generic coffee you become a coffee spa. Dentists like you need to refine who you are.
Otherwise it will be difficult to make "your latte´" seem more valuable than people currently perceive it (and possibly have a higher price) if you are promoting a large menu of other choices.
This is more than becoming a cosmetic dentist, which is still a generic concept and misunderstood at the same time. Good dental branding is about the dentist, their passion and how the dentist wants to serve patients.
When targeted dental consumers (desired patients) are presented the dentist's brand, they will relate to it. If a dentist's audience sees another dentist doing the same thing, they will be grounded to the branded dentist because they will have self-selected the brand, not just stumbled into any dental office.
How does brand loyalty play out in the real world? Example: Few Starbucks' clientele are ever seen at McDonalds (or any other less refined competitor) getting their coffee.
While no dentist has the funds of a marketing behemoth like Starbucks, there are many strategies to develop and build your dental brand to make it standout. Most established practices only need 5 to 10 new "targeted" patients each month to be successful and new dental practices can develop a stronger following by going this route. A correctly positioned brand is able to "find" those new dental patients and draw them in.
So, do dentists like you NEED a dental logo or a dentistry brand? Not every dental practice does. Some dentists just plow ahead and get it done on their own terms.
However if I ask, "What is Nike's logo and what do you think when you see it?" Then you understand how a logo can change the dynamic of your dental marketing.
Dental logos makes communication visual, adding another dimension. Humans experience many things visually. It makes learning simpler. It gives us quick cues about our world. Colors, shapes, and the like speak to us emotionally, which is very powerful.
CONCLUSION: Still Don't Want A Dental Logo?
Still thinking dentists don’t need logos? First, it is your prerogative. Of course, many dentists tell me a person's smile can say a lot about them. My response, "And no one NEEDS a 'beautiful' smile! Do they?" So is visual experience important or not?
The logo is the "beautiful" on a dentist's marketing. Like bright, confident smiles, dental logos might not be "needed" but can be very persuasive at speaking in a way nothing else can. The dental logo also helps to integrate a dentist's marketing materials and message.
If the dentist's logo is designed to fit their dental brand, then it will be distinct enough to separate the dentist from the smiling teeth logos, generic toothbrush dentistry brands and other wannabes.
A dentistry brand is many things: the dentist, their dental team, and the practice environment. It is the patients wanted by the dentist. It is the community. It is people centered, not dental focused. And, it should have a complementary dental logo.
Don't get a wannabee dental logo, get a dental brand.
For the depth and experience in dental branding,
Contact Niche Dental - Email or
CALL Oli 1-888.380.0020
Have him set up a consultation with me
Dental Marketing Commentary by Dick Chwalek
Dental Communication Integration Consultant
And Member, co-founder Northern Dental Alliance
Dental Logos or Branding Article
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