Building a trustworthy brand for your dental practice may be the single most important thing you can do to set yourself up for success in the long term.
In this guide we discuss the key components to building a recognizable dental brand - something all successful dentists & DSOs understand and implement.
If you follow along with the actionable instructions in this guide and put them into practice in your practice you will be setting yourself up for massive long-term success.
Branding is the process of creating meaning for a company's products & services.
Branding helps consumers, and potential consumers (aka leads), more quickly know, like and trust you - which helps them make more frequent purchasing decisions.
Emotions drive purchases, and people do business with organizations they trust. So, a primary objective of your brand should be to build trust and meaningful connections.
Your brand is your promise to your patients.
Branding is all the ways you establish an image of your dental practice in the eyes of your customers, vendors, team, etc.
Branding gives your patients a reason to choose your over another dentist, and a reason to continue to choose you over going to a different dental office.
Branding gives your patients a reason to choose your practice instead of a competitors; and a reason for them to continue to choose your practice for all subsequents dental needs.
The purpose of positing your brand is to help your customers clearly and easily understand how what you offer and how it's different from your competition.
Positioning is the combination of all the different ways you use to communicate what you stand for.
Understanding the fundamental components that make up a brand will help you create one that will resonate with consumers in your industry.
Your brand's mission statement defines your purpose for existing, and the effect you'd like your practice to have on the community, and possibly the world.
Typically, a mission statement is a clear statement that defines your organization's reason for existing.
Our goal is to provide patients with highest quality dental care in a comfortable, relaxed and friendly environment. - Aspen Creek Dental
At Booragoon Dental Clinic, our staff provide complete dental care with the highest standard of treatment, tailored specifically to each individual client. We will strive to understand your needs and exceed your expectations. - Booragoon Dental Clinic
To honour the Lord by treating patients and fellow workers the same way we would like to be treated. We will continually strive for excellence in the care we render, and comfort in the way it is rendered. In this way, we will help patients to realize how good oral health can improve their quality of life. - City Center Dental Care
Dove Dental Services strives to provide the best quality dental care to every patient that visits our office. It is our mission to ensure that each patient we treat feels as comfortable and at home as possible – establishing a family atmosphere conducive to an outstanding dental experience. - Dove Dental Services
Craft a mission statement for your dental practice that truthfully illustrates your brand's values and the impact you want to have on the community around you, and the world.
Your brand vision is the large goal you aim to achieve - it should be straightforward & clearly explained.
Your brand vision must be attainable & measurable so that you can track its progress and communicate it internally.
For a company like Tesla, this means: "to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy", and "to enable people to go anywhere on Earth in under one hour.”
Our vision is to provide our patients with a dental experience that will promote a lifelong relationship built on trust, confidence, quality of work, and exceptional patient care.
It is our vision to strive to remove barriers that seem to get in the way when it comes to a patient’s ability to maintain a healthy smile. The Hansen Dentistry Team is constantly working to discover new ways to break through these barriers so that each and every one of our patients can achieve the smile they deserve! - Hansen Dentistry
At Family Dental of Roscoe, we seek to become a leader in the dental industry by maintaining a consistent and systematized approach to dental care as well as a high level of customer service. Our brand identity is meant to embody confidence while also ensuring comfortable care.
Our dentists hope that our zest for dentistry inspires our patients to develop a commitment to their oral health.
All our doctors employ passionate team members who not only love what they do, but also love the patients they serve.
We value passion, consistency, and discipline at our dental practice in Chicago, Illinois.
We base our corporate culture on these values so employees feel appreciated and respected in an environment where they are able to grow and have fun.
Our goal is to eradicate the oral health diseases that chronically affect humanity. We do so by educating our community on oral health care and providing an approach to fight these diseases. - Family Dental of Roscoe
Brand guidelines (aka “brand book” or “style guide) are a set of rules explaining how your brand should be presented.
Brand guidelines help maintain a consistent 'look' for your brand across all touch-points with patients & potential patients.
Create a single document that could if given to anyone in your organization (from the practice owner, to hygienists and administrative staff, all the way across to your marketing team) that can be read and understood to the point where everyone in your dental organization understands how to properly represent your brand.
Good brand guidelines reflect & support the goals of your organization, as well as differentiate you from competition.
Your logo is a graphic, symbol, emblem or stylized text used to identify your dental practice. Many times your logo will be the most widely recognizable aspect of your brand, only second to your name.
Your logo should be clear or abstract, but have some kind of inherent purpose, meaning and personality of your company.
Your website is a digital representation of your practice.
In many cases your website will be the first impression that potential patients will have with your practice, and crucial to your online success.
Check out our dental websites, and get a plan for a new site for your practice by clicking the button below:
Media assets help you tell the story of your brand in a way that can create emotional connections with your patients.
Typically this will include images, videos, commercials, product explainers, team photos, etc.
Having high-quality visual assets like unique photography, videos, graphic, etc. will help build trust much more quickly in consumers eyes and significantly improve the perceived credibility of your practice.
Conversely, not having unique images (and trying to fully rely on stock photos) will have a negative impact on all of your marketing activities.
We have seen first hand how stock photos can significantly increase ad costs, reduce leads volume, lower sales conversion rates, and have a negative impact on your bottom line.
For dentists, there are a few types of media that you absolutely need to have.
Unique images are an amazing brand asset that you should not overlook. Try and get as many high-quality unique images for your brand that you can.
Not only will these help increase the trust of your practice, but they will significantly improve the success of your advertising, marketing, lead generation and sales efforts - HUGELY.
Office exterior photography serves many different purposes, and is a staple of any good brand media package for dentists.
Office interior photography is arguably even more important than exterior - simply because this is where your patients are going to be when they are coming in for their dental appointments!
If you have professionally done photography you can create a feeling of comfort, assurance, peace of mind and even excitement in your patients minds before they ever even speak to you.
Team photos are a hugely beneficial way to build your brand. After all, dentistry is a very personal service, and your patients want to get to know YOU.
The doctor & the team are a big part of your UVP (discussed later in this article) and a great opportunity to represent your practice professionally and in a positive light - after all, a picture is worth a thousands words and you're the one with the control over what those 1000 words say.
Types of team photos worth getting:
The more photos you get of life at your practice the less you will have to rely on stock imagery - which translates to huge gains in advertising, marketing & sales efforts. To the tune of $35+ per lead from our personal tests.
Happy patients, and even a Smile Gallery, are great photographs that you should have.
These fall in the category of social proof - Social proof is a phenomenon where we, humans, essentially will trust a person, place or thing (ie: your practice) even if we have never experienced it first hand if we see other people having a positive experience with it.
The more happy people your prospective patients see, the more they will inherently trust you and take the next step in their buying journey.
Since you can't always have a professional photographer lurking around your practice, the best thing to do is learn the basics of taking the best photos you can (ask our team for help) and try to take them yourselves.
Honestly, higher production photography here is actually not the best strategy - social proof works better when the production value is lower (not photo quality, but production value), because it seems more real, which it is!
Even more important for your branding than images, are videos.
You really cannot have too many videos, but since budgets are not infinite (wouldn't that be nice?) we recommend you start with these at a minimum, and continue to accumulate more videos each quarter based on your budgetary capacity.
Videos that showcase the Doctor's personality and warmth are an excellent way to build trust with potential patients before they even come.
A good “Welcome to PRACTICE” video should give the 30,000ft. bird’s eye view of the entire patient experience with your dental practice – the goal is to build as much emotional connection as fast as possible.
They usually show a little bit of everything - from shots of the practice, to interviews with the doctor, the team, and maybe some happy patients as well.
Your “Welcome to PRACTICE” videos are like a combination of all the other videos you will get made for your practice.
Obviously you will replace "PRACTICE" with the name of your dental practice 🙂
A "Hello from the owner" video helps personify your practice by putting a face to a name.
It allows people to make a connection with the owner of the practice, and feel more at ease knowing a little about who is behind the business.
Speak from the heart, focus on the reason why you got into dentistry, and talk to your potential patients with passion & enthusiasm for helping improve their lives through dentistry.
Office tour videos are a great way for patients to get a feel for your office environment.
The 2 main types of Office Tour videos you will want to have produced are: interior & exterior
Many people are nervous to go to the dentist, so taking away one more thing for them to 'imagine' is a great way to build trust and peace of mind.
An example of an Office Tour video from our client, Bright Healthy Smiles:
The Meet the Team video is your chance to really lean into that X-factor that makes your dental practice special & unique – the team.
Showcase your team’s dynamic, personality and unique characteristics that make the experience of coming to your practice different than another competitor in the area.
Your patients don't just deal with 1 person - it takes a team to power a successful dental office. You know that, and your patients know it too.
Let them get to know the team before they even come in!
Your "Why Us" video can be many different things - but this is your chance to show why a potential customer should choose your practice over another competitor.
What makes you different or special?
Focus on your "why". What makes you tick. If you are authentic about you "why" people will recognize that truth and you'll have a chance to make an emotional connection - and possibly a new patient, for life.
Patient Education (aka “product explainer”) can be anything from educational videos about the products & services you provide, like how Invisalign works, to the experience a patient might have when they come to your office.
Remember, the idea is to give potential patients more information about the services they need and help them feel comfortable checking out your practice – instead of someone else's.
Here are a few examples:
Testimonials are huge. Written ones are good, images are better, but videos are the best.
Here is an example patient testimonial video from one of our clients, Supremia Dentistry.
Note: Your testimonials videos don't need to be produced like this with animations and backgrounds - they can be as simple as your patients taking a selfie video on their iPhone.
What's important is that you start getting these videos to add to your brand assets.
Level-up your dental practice with unique, high-quality media.
What makes your practice unique?
Why should someone buy from you, instead of the hundreds or thousands of other options they have to buy from?
This is your brands USP (unique selling proposition), sometimes called a UVP (unique value proposition).
A USP (unique selling proposition) is the one thing that makes your practice different, and more specifically better, than your competition.
Your USP should emphasize & highlight the specific aspects of your practice that can convince someone to buy from you rather than the alternatives. It should make it clear to potential patients how you can improve their current situation and add value to their lives.
Your UVP is a form of brand messaging that makes your customers fall in love with your brand.
Here's a great (non Dental) example - Nerd Fitness.
In the health industry where fitness tips is already very saturated, they stand out.
Why? Their unique value proposition:
This UVP emphasizes the idea of community - that other nerds should get their fitness ideas from them (aka other nerds), instead of from the jocks that have been picking on them up their entire lives (at least according to the movies).
Think about how you can find a unique angle for your dental practice that you can turn in to UVP
Sharing your values means being transparent with your why.
The better you illustrate your values the more your patient leads will have an opportunity to connect with you.
Some of the most successful brands are incredibly polarizing - but instead of worrying about the people they will alienate with their beliefs, they double down on them and get full commitment from people who share their views.
Example: Fox News vs. CNN
Consumers do not buy products or services from brands they don’t trust.
Building trust in your practice takes effort, but here are some proven steps to getting there:
The brands who do a great job of building loyalty & trust follow these principles religiously.
Transparent branding is becoming increasingly more important for consumers - and increasingly more difficult to hide with the prevalence social media.
A transparent brand is one that says one thing, and sticks to it.
Play your cards face up - no hidden fees, no fine print, no surprises - only smiles 🙂
Have pride in your practice, image & reputation - and create brand assets that reflect it.
Creating high quality content will build positive awareness of your practice and distinguish you as a trusted source of information.
Building quality media assets is a huge leg up on your competitors - don't underestimate this.
Consistency of your values, visual media, and messaging will help consumers have trust in your brand that when they finally come in to your practice they will receive a consistent experience there as well.
Consistency builds massive trust with your patients & will keep them coming back over time, and referring their friends & family.
Practicing meaningful engagement means having real conversations with people.
People have options.
If they choose to buy from you – use this an opportunity to build a true connection.
Everyday there are multiple opportunities for you to go above & beyond with customer experience that most businesses totally miss out on.
For an incredible example of meaningful connections, check out this story from the Ritz Carlton.
Your reputation is everything - you should create systems to actively work on growing it.
Giving back is beneficial for your business because people enjoy buying from brands who are socially responsible.
It's nice to know that your money is going to not only purchasing a product but also something more beneficial, but it is also the right thing to do.
Branding is the way you bridge the gap between name and meaning.
Branding is everything that you represent as a dental practice, and allows your patients to really feel those values.