Don’t make any of these branding mistakes in your dental practice that could turn your millennial customers away and to your competition:
1. Not understanding what branding is and how it can help or cripple your practice.
The first of these branding mistakes is not understanding the concept of branding. There are countless books about it. This fact alone makes it seem like branding must be a deep, complex, and difficult-to-understand subject. It’s actually not. Branding can be pared down to this: What does your target market think of you? How do they feel about you? What kind of emotion does your marketing conjure up in people’s minds?
You might ask, “How can someone feel anything positive about a dental practice?” Good question. If you were to ask a random group of people how they feel about dentistry you would probably get responses like; “I HATE going to the dentist.” Or, “That’s the last place on earth I want to be.”
2. Not knowing where your brand really lives.
A fundamental misunderstanding about branding is that you think your brand is yours. It isn’t. Your brand doesn’t reside in your mind; it really lives in the minds of the consumer. It doesn’t matter what you think about yourself or your practice. What matters is what your potential new patients think about it.
What do they think of when they consider you? Do you know what sort of feeling do they get when they see your logo or your sign or receive something in the mail from you or see you online? Whatever that feeling or thought might be, it becomes your brand (to them).
Once you understand this you can begin the process of creating awareness, feeling, or thought in the minds of your potential audience. Maybe the consumer has NO feeling or thought about you. To these people, you have NO place or position in their heads.
3. It’s not just about the logo. Branding is literally everything you do.
Yes, you do need a logo. So, let’s first create a memorable one. Ask your professional designer (yes, you must have a professional do this)to conjure up something calming. Or something that says you’re the best choice for high-quality dental care performed gently in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.
Let’s say she comes up with an idyllic-looking scene of a lazy, meandering brook or stream. Maybe with a little paper boat floating down the stream. OK, that’s your logo. That’s a fine logo for a dental practice. Good start! You are well on your way to creating feelings of comfort and positivity in the consumer’s mind.
Logos are of course important but they are only the beginning. If you want to evoke a positive feeling about your practice (and you do)you of course don’t want to remind people of anything that might trigger them. Specifically, don’t remind them of needles and drills. Remove any pictures of your operatories from your website and other marketing materials. Why do this? Well, what do you think goes through the mind of an already skittish patient when they see what to YOU is a beautiful, expensive dental chair? They don’t know or care how much you spent on it or what brand it is or how cool it looks to you.
4. Something could go wrong. No, something WILL go wrong.
Another of the branding mistakes on the list is thinking everything is good and will sty that way. OK, so far so good. But, then something happens…
A prospective new patient calls in response to your marketing. She is put on hold for 5 minutes and when the receptionist finally does come back it’s obvious to the caller that she’s hurried, rushed, and doesn’t really want to talk to the caller. In fact, the caller feels like she’s interrupting the receptionist’s busy day.
Whoops! There goes your branding out the window.
Remember: Branding is everything you do, but it’s also everything your team does!
Now, things like this are inevitable. After all, we’re dealing with humans here – not robots. But you can recover from them. Maybe the receptionist IS overloaded. Perhaps you need to get her some help. Or, she could be untrained in phone protocol (very often the case). Get her some call management training. Actually, the person answering the phone is the most important person in the practice!
You might say, “Well, hold on. What about the dentist? No dentistry happens without the dentist!” OK, fair point. But just remember this: Nothing of a revenue consequence ever happens in a dental practice until or unless the phone rings. And how those calls are handled can make or break a practice!
5. Forgetting that branding is an ongoing process; it’s not something you set and forget.
The last of the branding mistakes is not looking at branding as an ongoing process. Since your brand lives in the minds of the public and we know you will encounter thousands and thousands of people during your career, you will absolutely need to be in a continuous create mode when it comes to presenting your brand. These efforts will be part of your life for as long as you practice dentistry. Don’t forget!
Sachin Bathla manages content & SEO clients at New Patients INC, a dental marketing company that helps dentists and dental clinics find new patients and enhance their online reputation. You can follow his company on Facebook and Linkedin.