What is Branding?
When we think of branding, we think of logos – the bitten apple for the technology giant of the same name or the little tick for Nike that is a movement in itself. But is that all branding is about? Creating an attractive logo using the right colors and fonts? Experts would beg to disagree. Branding is a lot more than just the visual representation of your practice. It is a voice that talks about your values, a reinforcement of your beliefs and a story about your journey. Branding is neither the sole responsibility of the creative writer nor the graphic designer of your team; it is a collective effort that starts with understanding your vision for your practice.
Where Do You Start?
The first step to creating an impactful brand identity is positioning. It is one of the most essential components of running a business successfully. Your positioning is basically where you sit in the marketplace. For a dental practice, the core target market is the community. Hence, you need to position yourself according to their beliefs and values. Where do they spend their time? What are their challenges? Their pain points? What is your ideal customer’s avatar? We have spoken about the importance of an ideal patient persona multiple times. Understanding your brand message is just as important in establishing and successfully running your practice as understanding your patient avatar and other aspects of business. You cannot be catering to everyone with a set of teeth in your community. You need to narrow down your ideal patient base and then position yourself accordingly. And with time, that would just become your identity, your brand.
If there is one thing that social media marketing has taught us, it is that paid advertisements aren’t half as effective as having an influencer endorse and refer your services. You need to find these influencers in your community. Who influences your target market? They could be entrepreneurs, coaches, media sources and other people that you can align your message with who have similar values as you.
Your Brand Architecture
Your brand architecture consists of your company purpose, its core values and your brand driver. You need to figure out what moves your brand forward and what are your strategic pillars. You need to know the driving force that is unique to your business that nobody else does in their practice. Your brand architecture will also focus on your greatest strengths and talents. Your goal should be to look for ways to maximise that. Say, for example you are great with kids. You could use this as your strength and align your marketing efforts accordingly. Again, this is not something that you need to develop. For most people starting their own business or practice already know what their values are, they just need to identify them and align that message with that of their business.
Biggest Pitfall that Restrict your Growth
Do your business values change over time? Likely not. Does that mean you need the same message and same tactics to brand your business month after month and year after year? Most definitely not! One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make is to think that what worked for them in the past, and whatever is working for them now, will always be enough! The saying ‘change is the only constant’ cannot be truer for marketing. You need to be adaptive of new marketing and branding innovations and offerings in order to remain relevant. To retain patients you must always remain relevant.
Identifying Trends and Movements
There is a major difference between trends and movements. Trends can change on a daily basis, perhaps even faster. Movements on the other hand steer the world in a certain direction. You don’t necessarily need to jump on the bandwagon of every trending topic. If it aligns with your practice’s message, then you should use those trending topics to further convey your message. But you don’t necessarily need to address every trending topic under the sun.
For instance, the current Covid-19 situation will have a great impact on how we do business moving forward. It will influence all our decisions from here on. The sooner you acknowledge this movement and align it with your marketing strategies the stronger the impact of your connection with your target market.
Getting the Message Right
Every little marketing strategy needs to send the right message. Without proper planning you will leave your target market confused. Once you have your values defined, you need to direct all your messages to help build your practice as a brand. This message needs to be easily visible on your website, in your practice premises, in your blog, on your social media pages and all other online and offline portals where you are present.
Personal Branding vs. Business Branding
In service based businesses like dental practices, oftentimes dentists are confused whether they should opt for business branding or personal branding. The answer lies mainly in your long term goals. Having a personal brand can be very successful, but it will likely not have the longevity of a business brand. If you’d like your business to be a separate entity than you, and have it grow whether or not you are part of the equation, then you’d want to consider branding it as a separate entity.
Quick Word on the Future of Marketing
We live in ever-evolving times. It could almost be impossible to say where the world of marketing is headed. Businesses have moved from dedicating only a fraction of their budget to online marketing a few years back to mainly focusing on the digital offering. The key takeaway from the current global crisis is that we all need to be willing to adapt to any changing business environment and realign our messaging accordingly in order to remain relevant and at the top of our game.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready …. here are 4 ways I can help you grow your dental practice:
1. Grab a free chapter from my book “Retention – How to Plug the #1 Profit Leak in Your Dental Practice”
The book is the definitive guide to patient retention and how to use internal marketing to grow your practice – Click Here
2. Join the Savvy Dentist community and connect with dentists who are scaling their practice too
It’s our Facebook group where clever dentists learn to become commercially smart so that they have more patients, more profit and less stress. – Click Here
3. Attend a Practice Max Intensive live event
Our 2 day immersive events provide access to the latest entrepreneurial thinking and actionable strategies to drive your practice forward. You’ll leave with a game plan to take your results to the next level. If you’d like to join us, just send me a message with the word “Event and I’ll get you all the details! – Click here
4. Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your profit from 6 figures to 7 figures …. just send me a message with the word “Private”… tell me a little about your practice and what you would like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details! – Click here