Connie Hopper discusses how defining and expressing your practice’s personality can help you attract and retain patients…
Dentistry is a crowded market place, where – at least from the patients’ perspective – everyone is offering basically the same service. This means it is even more important to make sure you are standing out and carving a niche among your competitors. Your brand is the simplest way to do this.
Having a strong brand that reflects your practice’s personality will help to attract new patients and inspire loyalty as people recognise it as a good fit for themselves. The easier you make it for patients to understand what kind of practice you are, the easier it will be for them to choose to join you. You can help your patients, new and existing, to grasp this message by relaying it consistently via your branding, i.e. the colours, font, images, etc. that you use in your literature, on your website and in your building.
However, if you are unclear what your personality is, that will filter through and confuse those who interact with you. So, before you even begin to think about the physical creation of your brand you need to make sure you, and your team, completely understand who you are and what you stand for.
To crystallise that vision, it’s worthwhile spending time as a team thinking about and deciding on how you want to convey yourself to the wider world. To facilitate this you can ask everyone to share their ideas on who you are, what you do and how you do it, i.e. are you, as a practice, fun, warm, caring, professional, calm, modern, traditional, etc?
You will probably end up with more traits than you need, but then you can select the ones which best reflect your practice to create a ‘personality profile’ and develop your brand. The traits that you choose are what patients should experience the moment they see one of your adverts, view your website or walk into your practice.
Some things worth considering when it comes to conveying these traits are:
Practice name – choose something that is in keeping with your brand personality, whether that be your location (Park Lane Practice), your name (The Jones Practice), your traits (Calm and Caring Dental) or even a physical aspect (The Dentist with the Blue Front Door)! Just make sure it has no negative connotations.
Practice logo – be it a lower-case blue ‘f’ or golden arches, you need something simple, distinctive and easily reproducible across all marketing materials. Don’t forget those all-important personality traits too – if you’re going for young, fun and funky, make sure your logo is consistent with that.
Colours and fonts – don’t use more than two or three colours or fonts to avoid being overwhelming. And make sure your font is legible! Think about the ways you can tie the colours in throughout your practice; you might not be able to change your dentist chair colour, but think about your wall colours, soft furnishings and wall art. Do they reflect your brand personality? If you’re calm and caring you might want to consider pastel blues, greens and greys, or for young and funky you might want to spice things up with bold oranges, purples or even blacks.
Taglines – classic taglines say all they need to in just a few words, for example ‘Just do it!’. So, consider what yours says about you and what you can put on your brochures, your treatment plans, your letterheads, e.g. ‘Keeping you smiling since 1997’.
Staff behaviour and culture – take time to involve your team in the development of your brand and hold training for new and existing employees about their role in embodying that brand. Set clear expectations and guidelines that spell out how your team can incorporate your brand personality into their day-to-day activities, e.g. by the way they answer the phone, how they address patients, etc.
It is key to make sure that you are consistent in your approach to each of the above elements, to avoid confusing those who interact with it.
By creating a unique brand personality that is reflected at every touchpoint with your patients, you will be able to trigger an instant, visceral reaction and recognition. This will elevate your brand and help you to stand out from the crowd.