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branding

How to Brand Your Uniqueness

What is brand power?

Apple iPhones sell like crazy. In fact, the Apple brand has created a community of users that is the envy of major companies around the world. Why is that? Their phones aren’t actually better than others.

Apple stands for something, a purpose that generates raving fans, while competitors just make cell phones. That’s brand power. Whatever dentists see and believe about you is your brand. It tells your market what you stand for, what you believe, and how you should be perceived. It also tells them what to expect from you. Your brand, just like Apple’s, should set you apart from others who do what you do. For the most part, your local competitors market themselves as being identical to you, a dental lab. Your brand should sell your uniqueness.

But I have a logo!
Many believe a brand is a logo, but a logo is only a graphic representation of your brand. In fact, some branding professionals believe logos are overrated. This is especially true when they don’t project an “image” expressing a story. When used properly, C. Whan Park, director of the global branding center at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, points out they can be effectively used by emboldening their name – IBM, presenting a friendly image – the duck from AFLAC, or simply provide a meaningful visual, such as used by Apple – a bite from the Apple (maybe that fell on Newton’s head to spawn ideas). However, Park cautions, “We also do not suggest that brand logos themselves automatically create meaningful positive associations between a brand and consumers.” Very often, the logo needs to be reinforced with a clever tagline and advertising to provide more meaning.

How do I create a great brand?
What would your customers say about you? Would it be a generic answer, or, would they be a raving fan? “Oh, my lab does decent work,” doesn’t describe a brand. A better response would be “My lab work always falls right in. That saves time and makes for happy patients. I always feel that they really care about my practice and prevent problems. I thoroughly trust them when they give advice.” After you identify your brand attributes, identify every dentist contact point, and make sure your strengths are creating customer experiences.

Another aspect of establishing a brand is having an area of expertise that targets a specific market. For example, if you want to attract implant cases, focus on disseminating new implant research and product information that solves problems. Theodore Levitt, a former Harvard marketing professor once wrote, “People don’t want a ¼” drill, what they really want is a ¼” hole.” Focus on being an expert in offering what your customers really want, and then package it in your branding message.

How important is branding online?
Neilson research indicates 61% of consumers will search online for services. According to branding expert, Debbie LaChusa, visitors to your website “…don’t have the opportunity to come into your place of business, meet you, and experience your business environment and personality in person.” Your website provides a first impression and should separate you from other labs. To make a good first impression and establish trust, graphic design, photos, and content need to immediately connect with a visitor’s concerns. The ability to quickly and effectively tell your story often requires the help of experts. They don’t make crowns, and most of us make lousy graphic artists.

Summary

Take the time to identify your strengths and target market. Then, create a brand message that resonates with the dentists you are trying to attract. Work with your team to incorporate outstanding brand experiences into every touch point. Your customers will trust you, become raving fans, and spread the word.

passing-the-baton

Become More Competitive

Understanding the Real Competition

Your customers are facing stark and increasing challenges. Understanding them and how to help will better prepare and position your lab for this new environment and the future.

 Dentists Compete with a Triad of Insurance Companies, Dental Chains and Unethical Offices

Three Challenges facing private practitioners and what to do about them.

Challenge #1

Insurance companies have lumped dentists together in nondescript lists for consumers to choose from. Consumers think all dentists are the same and should charge the same low price set by insurance. How will your customers convince patients to trust them, more, and their insurance company, less?

Challenge #2

Branded large dental chains are stealing about $150,000 in revenues from each private practice (and your lab), annually. How will your customers attract new patients to their practices instead of losing them to better branded competitors?

Challenge #3

It has been alleged that patients are being deliberately mislead, daily in the name of better deals. But nobody is telling patients what to look out for. How can your customers help consumers understand why their practices are different and trustworthy?

 Be Noticed for the Right Reasons

The Triad influences consumer attitudes on a large scale, tells consumers what they want to hear, and makes your customers (and you) pay for it. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. The Triad survives for two reasons: uneducated consumers and, unorganized dentists incapable of educating them.

OPT-in Dental Advantage is helping private practice dentists be noticed for the right reasons. We are educating consumers, daily, about the value of ethical private practices, the important role of the dental lab, and the potential risks of misplacing their trust.

We separate ourselves as being trustworthy because our members vow not to Break Laws:

  • Running sham practice ownership schemes.
  • Using non dentists to design treatment plans directly or indirectly.
  • Diagnosing conditions that don’t exist.
  • Performing unneeded treatments.

We also educate consumers about routine violation of:

  • State insurance codes and good faith statutes
  • Professional Ethics and to look out for sub standard care

 Because Nobody is Forcing the Issue,

The Public is at Risk, and not being Protected

If you want to win a battle fought in the desert,

Take away the enemy’s water supply.

 

How should you respond?
The public is loath to have their trust violated. With OPT-In Dental Advantage and our national public relations campaign promoting private practice, your customers will be noticed for the right reasons, help educate consumers, and make breaking the law less profitable.

For more information about how OPT-in labs are changing the market and, how you can get involved, visit optincompanies.com, and, visit our consumer website, optindentaladvantage.com. While you’re there, look into joining OPT-In Dental Laboratory Cooperative. We are saving our members money each month, helping them grow their businesses, and helping their dentists save money and grow their practices.

There’s never been a better time to work together to make the world of dentistry a better place for everyone. Contact us at info@optindentallab.com, or call us at 855-321-OPTN (6786).

 

branding

The Truth about Building your Brand

Branding

What is brand power?

Apple iPhones sell like crazy. In fact, the Apple brand has created a community of users that is the envy of major companies around the world. Why is that? Their phones aren’t actually better than others. Apple operates from a belief system, they stand for something that generates raving fans, while competitors just make cell phones. That’s brand power. How do we translate what we know about Apple to our own brand?

Whatever consumers see and believe about you is your brand. It tells your market what you stand for, what you believe, and how you should be perceived. Your brand, just like Apple’s iPhone, should set you apart from others who do what you do.

Establishing a brand is more important for a dentist than for big corporations. Large companies can spend a lot of money marketing unique products. In contrast, services offered by dentists are largely indistinguishable, and would require a large advertising budget to attract attention. For the most part, your local competitors market themselves as being identical to you, a Family & Cosmetic Dentist. Your brand should sell your uniqueness.

But I have a logo!
Many believe a brand is a logo, but a logo is only a graphic representation of your brand. In fact, some branding professionals believe logos are overrated. This is especially true when they don’t project an “image” expressing a story. When used properly, C. Whan Park, director of the global branding center at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, points out they can be effectively used by emboldening their name, e.g. IBM, presenting a friendly image, the duck from AFLAC, or simply provide a meaningful visual, such as used by Apple, a bite from the Apple (maybe that fell on Newton’s head to spawn ideas). However, Park cautions, “We also do not suggest that brand logos themselves automatically create meaningful positive associations between a brand and consumers.” Very often, the logo needs to be reinforced with a clever tagline and advertising.

How do I create a great brand?
What would your patients say about you? Would it be a generic answer, or, would they be a raving fan? “Oh, Dr. X is a good dentist,” doesn’t describe a brand. A better response would be “Dr. X is the most thorough dentist I have ever had, always devoting time to explain everything. I always feel that they really care about me. That’s a dentist you can trust.” After you identify your brand attributes, identify every patient contact point, and make sure they are creating aligned patient experiences.

Another aspect of establishing a brand is having an area of expertise that targets a specific market. For example, if you want to attract denture patients, focus on comfort and chewing. Theodore Levitt, a former Harvard marketing professor once wrote, “People don’t want a ¼” drill, what they really want is a ¼” hole.” Focus on being an expert in offering what people really want, and then package it in your branding message.

How important is branding online?
Neilson research indicates 61% of consumers will search online for services. According to branding expert, Debbie LaChusa, visitors to your website “…don’t have the opportunity to come into your place of business, meet you, and experience your business environment and personality in person.” Your website should separate you from other dentists in your area. To make a good first impression and establish trust, graphic design and content need to immediately connect with a visitor’s concerns. You must quickly, and effectively tell your story

Summary

Take the time to identify your strengths and target market. Then, create a brand message that resonates with the consumers you are trying to attract. Work with your team to incorporate outstanding brand experiences into every patient touch point. Your patients will trust you, become raving fans, and spread the word.

 

Zr polishing charts

Zirconia, Eliminating Abrasiveness

Zirconia: Polishing and aging, does it destroy enamel?

We know zirconia crowns and bridges are nearly indestructible. But, what is the best way to polish this very hard material so it won’t be highly destructive?

As it turns out, a highly polished zirconia surface, over time, is less abrasive than emax, empress, and feldspathic porcelain. According to research by Grumser, et al, the other materials degrade over time and cause enamel wear, as well as wear to their own surfaces: “Polished zirconia surfaces showed lowest wear for material and antagonist. Wear mechanism of common ceramics was characterized by abrasive wear.”

Burgess also looked into aging of zirconia. In his paper, Enamel Wear Opposing Polished and Aged Zirconia, he explained using artificial aging of zirconia and simulated mastication to determine age related breakdown. They reported: “All zirconia specimens showed less material and opposing enamel wear than the enamel to enamel control or veneering porcelain specimens. The micrographs of the veneering ceramic showed sharp fractured edges and fragments of wear debris. Zirconia may be considered a wear-friendly material for restorations opposing enamel, even after simulated aging.”

Hmaidouch’s research comparing polished zirconia to polished porcelain was the most definitive when considering the method of polishing, as seen in the charts, above:

Methodology

“Polishing of the specimens: the ground surfaces were polished with a handpiece for 15 s and with 2 N pressure. Polishing was performed using an NTI polishing kit (HP 802104; P341, P3401, P34001): coarse at 15 000 r·min−1, medium at 10 000 r·min−1 and fine at 5 000 r·min−1

No statistically significant differences were found between the roughness of coarse-polished specimens and roughness of fine-ground specimens for both non-veneered (P=0.54) and veneered zirconia (P=0.99), but through medium and fine polishing, the roughness was significantly reduced in both groups.

The ground surfaces of FZ using the coarse red diamond instrument showed grooves that were reduced after using the following two grinding instruments (medium and fine) and after using the coarse polisher.

Porcelain surfaces ground with coarse diamond burs show ridges and grooves; moreover, many voids appear due to incomplete condensation. After polishing, the condensation defects remain but have been smoothed and slightly rounded; the voids from the porosities appear shallower. Traces of ridges and grooves did not disappear after polishing was completed; however, the polished side contained pitted areas with numerous surface irregularities.

Lower roughness of non-veneered zirconia specimens than that of veneered zirconia (VFZ) specimens was observed after each treatment procedure. This difference can be explained by the different compositions. SEM investigation of the treated surfaces showed that defects on the veneered surfaces caused by grinding were deeper than those on the zirconia surfaces, which led to the higher roughness values.

The roughness of the VFZ surfaces was not significantly reduced after either fine grinding or coarse polishing, which can be explained by the deep defects (grooves) caused by coarse grinding. These defects could not be completely flattened or removed, thereby explaining the higher roughness of VFZ specimens compared with the fine-ground and coarse-polished FZ specimens, which did not acquire deep defects after coarse grinding because of their higher strength.”

The key to long-term, safe use of FCZ is, a highly polished surface. This can be obtained with a course polishing wheel. In this case, the NTI polishing kit was used successfully.

megaphone

Building Competitiveness, Meeting the Challenges

Be Noticed

Even though consumer attention is in short supply, we need to be noticed to be more competitive. With the competitive landscape stacked against private practitioners, awakening consumers to the advantages they might offer is a tall order. For many dentists today, being noticed for the right reasons is the challenge.

Your Competition is a Triad of Insurance Companies, Dental Chains and Unethical Offices

Three Challenges Facing Private Practitioners and,

What to do about them.

Challenge #1

Insurance companies have lumped dentists together in nondescript lists for consumers to choose from. Consumers think all dentists are the same and should charge the same low price set by insurance. How do you convince patients to trust you and your fees more, and the insurance company less?

Challenge #2

Large Dental Chains are stealing about $150,000 in revenues from each private practice, annually, How do you attract new patients to your practice instead of losing them to better branded competitors?

Challenge #3

It has been alleged that patients are being deliberately mislead, daily in the name of better deals. But nobody is telling patients what to look out for.   How do you help consumers understand why your practice is different and trustworthy?

How to Get Noticed

The Triad survives for two reasons: uneducated consumers, and, unorganized dentists incapable of educating them. The Triad influences consumer attitudes on a large scale, tells consumers what they want to hear, and makes you pay for it. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

OPT-in Dental Advantage is helping dentists like you be noticed for the right reasons. We are educating consumers daily about the value of ethical private practices, and the potential risks of misplacing their trust.

We separate ourselves as being trustworthy because our members vow not to Break Laws:

  • Running sham practice ownership schemes.
  • Using non dentists to design treatment plans directly or indirectly.
  • Diagnosing conditions that don’t exist.
  • Performing unneeded treatments.

We also educate consumers about routine violation of:

  • State insurance codes and good faith statutes
  • Professional Ethics and to look out for sub standard care

 Laws are being Broken

Because Nobody is Forcing the Issues,

The Public is at Risk,

And not being Protected

 

If you want to win a battle fought in the desert,

Take away the enemy’s water supply.

 

How should you respond?
The public is loath to be defrauded and assaulted. With OPT-In Dental Advantage and, our national public relations campaign promoting private practice, you will be noticed for the right reasons, help educate consumers, and make breaking the law less profitable.

For more information, visit optindentists.com, and, visit our consumer website, optindentaladvantage.com, or call 855-321-OPTN (6786)