Why is branding important?
Branding is something that impacts your decisions every day, from what you buy at the grocery store to what airline you book for a trip. Certain products and services hold your trust, and you know they are reliable. Future dental patients choose which office they will use with the same criteria that you do, by recommendation, how much they trust the office, and how well it fits into their busy lives. The way your office is perceived and branded can play an essential role in all three of these factors.
Consistency is key to having a strong brand identity. Using the same font family for all of the emails and mailers coming from your office, the same color palette in your logo, letterheads, and website, are all simple ways to show your patients that you pay attention to detail. A consistent brand identity reminds them that their care is thought out with nothing overlooked.
Asking for referrals from a current customer can be the most successful way for you to bring in new patients. When a new face walks into your office, it's likely that someone told them about your practice or they read a review. Perhaps they heard how friendly the staff is or how you have a unique waiting room, and now they want to have the same experience.
Making sure the experience of each patient is similar stretches into your branding as well. Consider having an internal style guide for any communication you have with patients. An example of this would be to outline your search engine strategy practices for social media and your website, the tone of your office’s communication, specific keywords that you would like to use, and even the way your staff interacts with patients. An easy way to start this is by picking a mission statement or a key feeling that you want to be associated with your office. The combination of all of this shows that you not only are cohesive in your service, but you truly practice what you preach.
Fitting in with your patient’s lives
It might seem odd to connect branding with how your patient’s daily lives flow outside of their visits, but the core of branding is understanding your target audience. If you are aiming to serve families, your logo is going to look radically different than one directed at young urban professionals. The ability to connect with and see your primary clientele will guide you in your initial brand or rebranding efforts.
To rebrand or not to rebrand?
The decision to rebrand can seem daunting, but it can be a way to revamp your entire practice with less work thank you might think. Initially, you will want to assess your market research and the brand strategy of your competitors. Think about what you want your brand to stand for and what you hope to convey to future patients. Do some research on how your current patients found your office and what keeps them there. These exercises will help shape the direction you want to take your new branding.
Before approaching a designer to make a new logo, consider your visual goals, timeline, and how you and the designer will work together. Also, make sure that the hygienists and dentist in your office have up-to-date headshots. New patients may find it misleading if online photos look drastically different than what they see upon arrival. Once you have your new visuals, take some time to amp up your social media and digital presence to show the new face of your practice. With a new look, it’s time to reach out to your community. If you are focused on bringing in families with young children, perhaps sponsoring a local event or youth sports team will be an excellent way to show your commitment to holistic health.
Branding requires one main thing from you — take a step back and look at your office and the experience of it with fresh eyes. If you need a checklist to get you started with marketing your practice, we have a few ideas that might help. Don’t be afraid of change; it could be a turning point for your practice.