The idea of an inspiring dental business brand may seem foreign to we dentists.
After all, professional training and practice primes us to shy away from the spotlight.
But what if I told you being front and centre is essential to creating a great dental business brand?
Creating a great brand is not just the domain of big companies and flashy start-ups.
More than ever, it belongs to any business that aims for authority, leadership and success – in any industry.
As dentists, we’re trained to be methodical, careful, precise. Perfect for patient care.
However, building a great brand requires another skill set.
Let’s dive in and see what that looks like.
Make It Personal
While it might feel challenging, creating a great business brand needs a big dose of personality. Yours.
This kind of ‘getting out there’ is uncomfortable for most humans. We’re not all naturally Kardashian in our approach to branding.
For many dentists, who resist the ‘entrepreneur’ tag, it can even feel like it’s just not how dentistry is done.
We’re more likely to hide behind our practice brand, rather than stand out front of it.
While difficult to appreciate and to do, that is what’s needed.
How do we go about it? Badly, at first.
In my book Retention, I share the story of how I first started to create better connections with my patients. Specifically, when I first started asking for referrals.
Initially, it was hard. Like most dentists, I was averse to the idea of actually asking patients to refer their family and friends.
My first attempts were horrible. I felt like I was acting (although I was being completely genuine).
But gradually, over time, my confidence improved. I got better at it. Then it was natural for me. Through practice, I’d mastered the art of asking.
Feedback from patients helped and it quickly became clear we both benefitted from my more personal approach.
I even found patients were happy to share their relationship with our business among people they cared about.
What’s the moral here?
Your initial attempts at personalising your brand – and being more personal – may not be gold class.
That doesn’t matter. What does matter is you have a go. And then keep going.
Over time, your patients, who eventually become your tribe, will associate that personality with your business brand.
People love to do business with people they’re inspired by. And that includes dentists too.
Inspiration is key to creating a great business brand.
Powerful in ways that marketing can never be, inspiration can be learned and created.
This goes against the commonly held belief that inspiration is something done by other people. Think mega sports stars and high profile business people.
As the owner of your business, you’re perfectly positioned to inspire your patients, team and community.
You can do this with real stories and creative content designed to help and serve your audience.
In the world of dentistry, we’re pretty much in uncharted territory here.
The flip side? It’s opportunity – to make your business, your brand, your practice different and stand out.
There is ample scope within the boundaries of good dental practice for bringing personality, fun and the wow factor to your audience.
Yes, you’re a dentist, but you can inspire too.
Find authentic stories about your practice, patients, team, community or anything that inspires you personally. Then share widely.
Before long, you’ll be more than a dentist. You’ll be an inspiration too.
We can all relate to the negative customer experience. Why?
Because we’ve all had at least one. Maybe we’ve had a few.
The benefit of these less than ideal experiences is we learn how great ones stick with us.
Imagine your business creating a dental experience that was happily and surprisingly unforgettable?
Doing dentistry this way requires an element of performance.
Much like the entertainer who ‘puts on a show’, a great dental business brand requires you do this too.
Delivered genuinely, bringing performance to your practice will make your business brand stand out.
Rather than only doing dentistry, you shift gears to deliver exceptional patient experiences.
Getting good at this requires practice. Mastering it takes patience and persistence.
I wouldn’t be the only person who’d made a wish on ‘silver bullet’ solution only to find no such thing existed.
To create a great dental business brand, we need to be patient – with ourselves mostly, but with the journey too.
Hone Communication Skills
I’ve already shared how my early attempts are better communication lacked finesse.
Fortunately, my stubbornness and persistence got me through any roadblock to doing better.
Even though my style was clunky at first, I worked at it.
Focused on artful communication, I realised honing my communication skills needed more from me.
Yes, it required using the right words, telling good stories and making the experience fun.
It also meant working on the unseen aspects of communication – my tone, pitch and feeling. It even meant getting comfortable with ‘the pause’.
Dentists are uniquely positioned in the lives of their patients. Seeing them regularly, often over many years, we build trust and relationships.
In the midst of building a practice, it’s vital to remember our patients are people too. Just like us, they have hopes, fears and aspirations.
As such, the connections made are important. And it’s upon us to learn and understand the human condition. Through understanding, connections are made.
Connections build followers. Followers build great brands.
Do it Anyway
Our natural tendency for perfection when it comes to patient care can sometimes stop us from acting.
We wait until everything is just so – and then we do it.
The problem is ‘just so’ hardly ever happens.
And that’s why I recommend doing it (whatever it is) before you’re ready.
My ‘prolific beats perfect’ mantra applies here.
Creating a great dental business brand is about you as the business owner doing your best work in all areas. Getting to that ‘best work’ level requires practice, persistence and patience.
In the process of getting to mastery, we evolve and change. So does our business brand – it shifts from good to great too.
To be truly successful in practice, it’s no longer enough just to do dentistry.
It now requires so much more. It requires that we think of our business and ourselves as a brand.
Although uncomfortable at first, it’s a small price to pay for the dividend yield – a great dental business brand we can profitably grow and scale.
Want to make 2018 your most inspired year yet?
Why not join me and other dentists who are growing and scaling their successful practices at my next event, Masterplan 2018: Preparing to Win in Brisbane on 23-24 November 2017. We’d love to see you there.