There’s a popular misconception out there that a brand is nothing more than a name, slogan, and look. True, these are important components of branding, but they’re also hugely impersonal. The personal aspects of your brand, which stem from your energy, commitment, and talent, are equally important and significantly more potent in an industry where relationship-building is key.
A Strong Personal Brand Has Visual Impact
Start with an amped-up physical presence, which extends to anything that a would-be patient can see. Examples would include everything from your personal attire to your office’s marketing collateral. Think business cards, brochures, blogs, and your website. I recently read about a dentist who was one of a select few in the state to provide a certain cosmetic treatment. His chief complaint was that another dentist, whose office was more than an hour away from his, was gobbling up the biggest portion of the local market. He was absolutely baffled and unable to understand why his superior training and experience counted for naught in the eyes of his target market.
The problem? His website. Was. Awful. The information was dated and lacked any sort of personality, and his social media presence was non-existent. When asked why he hadn’t invested more in creating an online presence, he haughtily responded that he had been practicing dentistry for more than 30 years, and never had his patients expressed a desire to see a better website, or any website at all for that matter. Think about that timeline.
This is one of the most common shortcomings in dental websites, the idea that the only things patients expect and require of a website is contact information and a smattering of stock photos. Mind you, both of those things are necessary, although prospective patients often award bonus points for using real-life patients’ images instead of generic images. Your website and blog should be imbued with the distinctive qualities and personal appeal that you value so highly in building patient relationships.
Add Intellectual Appeal and Clear Messaging
Raise your hand if you’ve ever found yourself wowed by a drug rep who used an elevator pitch to sell you on the latest overpriced antibiotic. Oh, it’s great and it tastes yummy? That’s nice, but what benefits does it offer your patients? Is it safe? How well is it tolerated in special populations? Your patients might not necessarily want a full-blown clinical discussion of root canal therapy outcomes in lab rats, but that doesn’t mean they want vague non-answers to important questions about the procedure.
What’s more, they don’t want the exact same responses that they’ll find on other dentists’ websites. A few things to consider when developing website content:
- Do you offer any proprietary procedures or services that set your dental practice apart from others?
- Do you have a unique branding proposition that explains how you do what you do, rather than just what you do?
- Do you take a certain view or apply your own vision to dentistry? For example, are you a proponent of holistic or functional dentistry? Do you use “green” products and technology?
Create Lasting Impact
This is easily the most commonly overlooked component of a strong personal brand. It’s a distillation of all those positive patient reviews and the reason why you do what you do. Think about how your patients have described you and your team. Have they used specific phrases and words that stand out from the generic nice? Even friendly is an improvement. Focus on the steps you can take to benefit patients in ways that aren’t necessarily oral health-specific. How have you enriched their lives and the lives of those whom they cherish most?
About the author: Jill Nastasia, CEO and Director of Business Development at MDPM Consulting, is a mother, dental junkie, and firm believer in the value of vision in marketing. To learn more about our services, or to speak with Jill, call her at 972-781-8861. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.