Unless your practice is the only one in the community, you're competing with other dentists for new patients. You could settle for just "getting your share" of them, but in today's more challenging market for dental services, that approach will prevent you from reaching your full potential. Like it or not, practice success now depends on effective marketing, and the cornerstone of an effective marketing program is a strong brand identity.
More than just a logo, color scheme, and signage for your office (all of which are important, of course), branding is how you define your practice in the minds of prospective patients. It answers the question, "Why should I rely on this dentist, this practice, for my oral healthcare?"
Base branding on your vision and on patient benefits. The right brand will help your practice become what you want it to be -- as expressed in your vision statement -- by shaping your patient base along those lines. It should also attract the kind of patients you need by clearly communicating how they'll benefit from joining your practice.
Don't fall into the "me-too" marketing trap. Many dentists still think it's enough to tout basics such as quality dentistry, friendly, caring staff, convenient location, etc. All may be valid, but if other practices in your area are saying the same things, you need to dig deeper to create branding that will make your practice stand out.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Levin Group, the leading dental practice consulting firm in North America. For the complete list of dates and locations where you can attend his latest seminar, visit www.levingroup.com/gpseminars.
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