No one is walking out of COVID-19 unchanged. We’ve all been pushed emotionally, financially, and have hopefully learned more about yourself in the process. Your business, also, has undergone the same level of testing. Processes you thought were working fine have overturned the mess underneath and exposed areas that need to be addressed before jumping back into a busy treatment schedule.
May I suggest giving the brand identity of your practice the same level of attention to be sure it reflects your vision and character?
Take time to define your brand while you still have time to spare, to make it clear to new and existing patients alike who you are and what you stand for. Our team has put together 3 exercises that will create a clearly defined brand for your practice that you can implement into your marketing right away.
Exercise 1: Purpose
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
- Simon Sinek
Our first exercise is inspired by Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why. In his book, he lays out that the why behind your brand is what makes it "you". Many people practice dentistry, but why you practice the way you do sets you apart. Your why becomes the purpose behind your practice and that gives it momentum.
Take some time to think through the following questions, and write your answers in the PDF or on a seperate sheet of paper.
Why did you choose dentistry as a profession?
Why do you love coming to work every day?
Why do you continue seeking the education that you do?
Why does your practice have the technology that it does?
Why did you set up the atmosphere of your practice the way that you did?
As you study your answers do you sense a theme? Do your answers indicate an underlying mission statement? For example, “I want 'going to the dentist' to be fun” or “I believe patients deserve the best care available.”
Try to find a core theme if there isn’t one that sticks out right away. If needed, perhaps there’s one question on this list that gets you most excited. Likely the answer to this question holds the strongest weight when determining what the purpose of your practice is.
The more focused your purpose becomes, the easier it will be to communicate, and the more it will stick in someone else’s mind.
Exercise 2: Personality
While a purpose is great, your brand needs personality to feel human. No one describes their friend by saying something like, “have you met my friend John? He’s determined to cure cancer.” What’s your natural response to reading that? For me, it’s inauthenticity.
It’s much more natural for me to learn about John’s sense of humor. We both watch the same TV show, and he also loves to hike. I like John. It was later, over a cup of coffee, that John told me about his life-long dream of curing cancer.
What’s the personality of your practice? How would your favorite patients describe you? What’s the combined energy of all your team members?
Make a list of as many adjectives you can think of. The following are some examples to get you started:
Identify the 3 adjectives that most represent your practice or most represent what you WANT the practice to be. Again, by limiting your list to the top 3 will make it easier for patients to latch on, and for you to create an intentional effort to exude those characteristics.
Exercise 3: Promise
Your promise is the reason patients will choose your practice over any other. Traditionally this can be called a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), but we believe that’s much too corporate to be helpful.
You are a real person making a real promise to a real patient.
Have you ever had the chance to ask a patient why they came to your office? Sometimes the answer is simple, “you had the best patient reviews,” sometimes it’s more involved, “I looked into your training and believed you were the most qualified choice,” and sometimes it’s downright bizarre, “your logo is blue- I like the color blue.”
While some of this is out of your control, you do have the power to shape your brand perception by making a clear promise, “if what tips the scale in your mind is the most qualified choice, we’re it.”
Use the guided steps below to discover the brand promise most applicable to your practice:
Who is your ideal patient? Describe what they are like.
“My ideal patient is a busy mom with multiple kids trying to juggle a busy schedule.”
What goes into them choosing a practice? Try to identify one or two factors that carry the most significance.
“She wants to find a practice that can be a quick in-and-out for her kids. If they can give her a second to catch her breath… even better.”
Do you have what they are looking for? Take time to create a single-sentence statement that offers what they are looking for.
“We promise an effortless dental appointment in which your kids enjoy the time spent with our team.”
Once you’ve created a promise that speaks to the core desire of your ideal patient, now you’ve positioned your brand as an answer to the problem they’ve REALLY been seeking all along.
You’ve taken the time to discover your brand, but do your patients see it? Take an audit of your existing marketing material to make sure they all reflect your purpose, your personality, and your promise.
- Does your website communicate your purpose in a clear way?
- Does your social media embrace the personality of your practice?
- Do your digital ads hinge on the promise you’ve made to patients?
We know this is a lot, and we know you’re going to want to make it perfect. If by this point you find yourself a little lost, or a bit overwhelmed, we’re here to help! Let’s find a time to chat - we’d love to learn more about your brand, and help you work through a marketing strategy to help your practice grow.