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dental branding

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The Top 2 Branding Mistakes Many Dentists Make & Steps You Can Take to Avoid Them

by Naomi Cooper November 1, 2016

Do you remember the 1980’s Eddie Murphy comedy Coming to America?

In a classic scene, one of the supporting characters is a businessman who owns a restaurant named McDowell’s, NOT McDonald’s. He explains it best:

“Look…me and the McDonald’s people got this little misunderstanding. See, they’re McDonald’s…I’m McDowell’s. They got the Golden Arches, mine is the Golden Arcs. They got the Big Mac, I got the Big Mick.”

And in fact, the owner of a local McDonald’s near the filming location approached the set design team and threatened to sue for trademark infringement, completely unaware that this “new competitor” was actually part of a movie set.

So how does this apply to dentists?

dental brandingWhile this scene provides plenty of laughter, there are also important real-life lessons that could be learned from this fictional scenario, especially when it comes to branding and trademarks.

There are two very common mistakes many dentists make when it comes to dental practice branding:

  1. Failing to brand the practice
  2. Failing to protect the brand

Failing to brand the practice

Many dentists don’t realize the power of branding. It’s the reason you immediately picture the golden arches when you read “McDonald’s”, but it’s not just for large corporations. A dentist’s brand is what differentiates one dentist from the next. It’s his/her practice identity within the community, both online and in person. Simply put, without a brand, it’s difficult to effectively promote your practice.

Failing to protect the brand

At the core of any dentist’s brand is the practice name. Whether it’s in the name of the doctor, or something more representative of the services, philosophy or local community, the practice name is incredibly important – and valuable. And when working with my Pride clients to develop a new practice name, I always advise them to hire a business attorney to trademark the new practice name.

Why?

– First, when you’re developing a new brand and name for your practice, you want to ensure there’s not already a dentist in the local area using the same name. Not only would that cause mass confusion among local patients and waste your marketing dollars, but if another dentist has filed a trademark on your potential new name, it could cause you significant legal hassles.

– Once you’ve conducted a search and verified there isn’t another practice using the same name in the local area, have your attorney file a trademark on the new name (both the words and the logo). This will protect you in the event a new dentist wants to use the same name in the future.

Is this rare? Yes. Do trademark issues actually affect dentists? YES. Taking the necessary steps to properly brand your practice from the start will minimize any future legal headaches, patient confusion and wasted marketing dollars later. It’s well worth the time and energy to create a practice name that is all your own – and protect it!

*Please note: I am a marketing expert. I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV. Consult your business attorney for a more complete discussion on trademarking your dental practice.

video

What Dentists Need to Know About Branding the Dental Practice

by Naomi Cooper April 4, 2016

What Dentists Need to Know About Branding the Dental Practice What’s in a name? A lot, actually!

Watch this video to learn why choosing the right name for your dental practice is incredibly important, and discover top tips to consider when you are opening a new practice or going through the rebranding process.

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6 Steps to Dental Marketing Success

by Naomi Cooper May 15, 2015

dental marketing strategyAs the old adage goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” and no truer words have ever been spoken…at least when it comes to dental marketing. Marketing can be fun (patient appreciation activities). It’s trendy (social media engagement). And it’s certainly enticing (“Don’t miss out!”). But it can also be frustrating, time consuming and costly, especially if you don’t have a plan in place. 

Instead of having a scattershot approach to dental marketing, it can pay off big time to take the time to put a plan in place. Here are 5 steps to get you headed towards marketing success:

  1. Plan for the long term: When developing a strategy, keep in mind that it should be regularly monitored and needs to have the ability to change depending on factors like time of year, the economy, and your budget.
  2. Brand yourself: Work with a professional logo designer to develop a branding strategy that will be used throughout out all marketing materials, online and in print. 
  3. Build/update your website: A great website serves as the foundation for the marketing plan, so it’s an incredibly important component. Hire a skilled web designer with experience in the dental field to create a site that attracts new patients and meets the needs of your existing base. 
  4. Train the front desk: The team answering the phones plays a crucial role in the marketing plan. They need to have the communication skills to not only convert new patient calls into appointments, but to also extract the important information from every caller in order to track the results of the marketing efforts.
  5. Create buzz online and off: Social media is a hot buzzword today, and it’s not just for fun. The reason it’s so popular is because it’s grounded in something we all know – good old-fashioned word of mouth marketing. Word of mouth remains a powerful driver of new patient flow. Encourage your existing patients to become brand ambassadors for your practice and ask them to share their positive experiences online at social networking sites like Facebook and consumer review sites such as Yelp, Google My Business and Healthgrades.
  6. Just say no!: It’s easy to overspend on marketing when there isn’t a plan in place. Believe it or not, it’s not uncommon for a dental practice to receive 20-30 sales calls a week from people selling various marketing packages. Stop the kneejerk reactions and wasteful spending. With a proper marketing plan in place, you can regain control of your practice promotions and feel confident that your hard-earned marketing dollars are being well spent.
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Dental Practice Branding: Top Tips for Naming Your Dental Practice

by Naomi Cooper March 19, 2014

Dental Practice Branding: Top Tips for Naming Your Dental PracticeWhat’s in a name? Actually, a great deal. Whether as a result of the sale of a practice, or a rebranding initiative, choosing a name for the dental practice is a major decision that should not be taken lightly.

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The name is central to the overall branding strategy. It helps patients identify and relate to your practice, and is often the community’s very first impression of the practice, so it deserves thoughtful consideration.

It might seem easiest to name the practice after the dentist; however it is also important to think long-term. For instance, are there any children that will one day take over the practice? If so, keeping the family name would be appropriate. For example, a father/son practice such as Dillehay Orthodontics or McMahon Family Dental .

Alternatively, if there is there a plan to bring in new associates later on, it may pay off in the long term to go in another direction. One option is to include the city, town, street or neighborhood in the name so patients immediately know where the practice is located, such as University Avenue Dental . Or, choose a more descriptive name that tells something about your community such as Alta Vista Dental Care for a dental practice in a mountain community.

Consider also what sets your practice apart from the competition. What is your practice philosophy? Brainstorm non-generic words that demonstrate what is unique about your practice. An office that offers a spa-like environment — and where the dentist also happens to be a concert pianist — evokes a peaceful experience with a name like Harmony Dental Care. If the practice specializes in the latest technology and cosmetic procedures, communicate a high-end message with a name like Smallville Advanced Dental Arts or Smallville Center for Cosmetic Dentistry.

These are just a few ideas when considering a name change for your dental practice. A strategic name can be a first step in establishing a successful dental practice brand. For more insight, check out these 10 Naming Commandments from the branding all-stars at MarketingProfs.