Branding might just be my favorite thing right now. It is fun, it is intriguing and it is absolutely a necessity. A brand is who you are, it is the image and the feeling that is left when you are not in front of your audience. Do you have a brand? Is it clear, defined and relevant? Is it you?
Think of some of your favorite brands now. How about Starbucks? Did you just smell coffee? What brand do you think of when I say “Just Do It”? And what about if I sing “Chicken Parm you taste so good”? Our favorite brands evoke smell, sounds, touch and even feelings. A brand is not what we say it is; it is what our audience, our clients, and what our patients say it is. Now think of businesses you have had a bad experience with. What does seeing or hearing their brand bring to mind? What emotion does it create?
What makes a brand?
Your brand can be made up of all of the above or it can be several of them all at once. What is most important about your brand is that it matches your vision, your mission and your goals. All three of those elements walk hand in hand with your brand.
It is important to remember your brand in everything you do. Integration includes your logo, your colors, and your mission up to how you answer the phones, greet patients and perform dentistry. Integration also includes how you will use your brand.
Here are a few items you should be using in your dental practice:
Business Cards - every team member should have a business card with your practice name and logo. It is important to carry cards with you everywhere you go. You never know when or where someone will ask you what you do.
Stationary - This should be a no brainer. Make sure your digital stationary is reflective of your brand as well.
2 pocket folders - If you provide educational materials, treatment plans or any take home items to your patients, they should be in a professional 2 pocket folder with your name and logo. Are you a specialty practice that relies on the referral from dentists you’ve partnered with? Each of those offices should also have your professional pocket folders to hand to their patients.
Pens - Every pen in your practice should be your pen with your name, logo and in your colors. When a patient is at the business office to pay for services, they should have an abundance of your pens to pay you with. And let them take them! Consumers love pens, they carry them around. Now you have your brand advocates sharing your brand outside of your practice.
Lab jackets/uniforms-This is a big one. How your team looks and how they present themselves says something about you. Is this what you want your patients to see? The business team should be in business attire, or slacks a nice blouse and a jacket with your practice name. The clinical team should have matching, clean and ironed scrubs. Also, when you travel for CE’s with your team, it is a great reflection for the entire team to be dressed the same.
Your brand is who you are and it is who people believe you are. Be true and be consistent. In the end, your brand should fit your vision, your mission and your goals. You can’t be all things to all people, but you should be what you promise to yourself, to your team and to your patients. Now let your brand open the door to your entire marketing campaign.
Article submitted by Laci Phillips, founding partner of Practice Dynamics, specializing in coaching teams to reach their goals through balance driven success using systems, teams and technology.