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
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.