One of the biggest challenges facing laboratory owners is how to set themselves apart from the competition. Every laboratory has or has access to the same materials and digital technology. To make matters worse, digital technology has made most restorations “good enough” to the point they are often difficult to discern. This has dentists, under consistent fee pressures, asking, “Why pay more when ‘good enough’ costs less, and that is all insurance companies and patients are paying for?” Today, labs can either raise the bar on service & knowledge, or compete on lowest price and turnaround times. In either case, there is so much competition, that no matter the decision, the lab astute lab owner will go one step further and “identify” a business Purpose and its message.
Identify Your Purpose
Purpose statements aren’t Mission Statements explaining an area of focus. Mission explains what we do and for whom, our Vision is about us, and our Principles speak to how we will conduct ourselves. In contrast, our Purpose Statement explains Why we exist, our personal motivation, not our goals. Without an articulated Purpose, marketing lacks a distinct message.
An example of a purpose statement comes from Greg Ellis, former CEO and managing director of REA Group, a leading online ad agency for real estate: “…to make the property process simple, efficient, and stress free for people buying and selling a property.” His outward focus connects with the heart and the head and emphasizes serving customers and their needs by putting employees in customers’ shoes. Other examples come from giant companies such as the financial company ING: “Empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and in business”, the insurance company, IAG: “To help people manage risk and recover from the hardship of unexpected loss”, and General Electric: “GE people worldwide are dedicated to turning imaginative ideas into leading products and services that help solve some of the world’s toughest problems.”
An Extraordinary Business
Starts with Extraordinary People
Extraordinary People Start with PurposeJesper Lowgren, business author
The philosophy is simple: continuously share your Why (motivation) with interested, like-minded dentists. Doing so, “Solidifies your brand with whom you share your values. When you share the core beliefs of your business with like-minded people, a natural connection is made. People whose beliefs are in line with your own automatically retain your business as part of their community. More importantly, because your business feels right, these clients will become walking advocates, sharing your business with other like-minded people in their network. The result is a natural, self-sustaining growth of business. No matter how much technology has entered the marketing world, the most powerful form of advertising will forever be word-of-mouth,” writes Sinek.
Putting your Why into Practice
Identifying a purpose that dentists are looking for is the first step. Having it felt by and extending through your employees is next. For that to happen, we need employees who not only share our purpose, but execute on it daily: “We offer X to help our customers take better care of their patients more profitably,” In considering that the job of a technician is to help their customers restore and maintain health, the Purpose Statement offered above is on target, but can be modified for your lab.
- Make sure you have the right employees
- Have meetings to craft a statement about why your lab is important to dentists and patients
- Collaborate on the best ways to create what your target market wants
- Jointly set performance standards on how well your Purpose is being executed and experienced
- Meet regularly to objectively assess performance measurements and that of your employees
Once your lab is clear on what your Purpose is and how to fulfill it, it is time to tell the world who you are and why they need to know. This is the kind of branding that resonates with those looking for what you offer, and your differential. Make it stick.
A Great Video on “Why”
Visit Simon Sinek’s exceptional You Tube video on the topic of “Why” we do what we do, which applies not only to business marketing, but also internally to employees.