A vehicle requires a regular service to help it run smoothly. Similarly, a systematic look ‘under the bonnet’ of your practice brand will keep any business in pole position. Louise Bone explains.

The ‘car’ analogy is one that is often applied to the service industry. Metaphors provide an easily illustrative vehicle for explaining lengthy processes and profitable ideas – whatever the industry.

In terms of dentistry, a clinician understands the ‘engineering’ side of a practice but what of its aesthetic appeal? Is it cutting edge or family friendly? With a skillset fine-tuned to clinical care, the focus on the ‘bodywork’ can get forgotten.

A failure on your part to drive your brand forward risks a breakdown in identity, and key marketing messages getting left by the wayside. To ensure a profitable road to success, it’s important to ‘polish up the paintwork’ from time to time and critically assess how a practice looks and feels.

Below are some areas that may require some due care and attention.

1. Is your brand ‘family saloon’ or ‘coupé sport’?

Who do you appeal to? Does your branding highlight the services to match? It’s no good having a brand that has literature with friendly fonts, offers baby-changing facilities, with a website offering advice on children’s oral health if yours is a city practice serving high-flying young professionals with stress-related bruxism and a desire for straighter, whiter teeth.

Fit your brand to suit your patients. Be the master (or mistress) of reinvention if your brand doesn’t quite encapsulate what you offer. Think Madonna – she has re-invented her image numerous times during her career. Your long-established practice may require you to do the same if your brand is looking a little tired and off kilter.

2. Are you having (search) engine trouble?

What’s your online profile like? Have you ever ‘Googled’ your practice name along with the treatments you offer and your location? Did you appear on the search engine’s first page? If not, it may suggest you need to optimise your presence by auditing your website and seeking the guidance of an SEO expert who understands current trends. And support your brand online with social media activity on all platforms (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are the most popular). By doing so, you will amplify your brand and what it stands for. Connect with an audience and meet their needs.

3. Are you in the driving seat?

Brand value is a core component of any business. A practice brand should be reflected in your signage, your colour palette, the words you use in print and online as well as those in conversation with existing and new patients. It is also something that should be reflected in and supported by your patient payment plan.

Any patient communication should strengthen your brand and promote patient loyalty. Seek a provider that offers a comprehensive understanding and flexible approach to creating effective dental plans that are tailored to boost your brand, your practice and suit your patients.

4. Is your brand the perfect vehicle for your business?

A brand should drive your business profile, carrying key messages and practice values into the pathways of potential patients. High-quality branding fuels practice performance. Find a plan provider that offers extensive assistance in this area. If you are considering refreshing your brand, it may be worth asking what your branded plan provider can do to help.

The role of a brand to drive a loyal and profitable customer base has never been so important. Keep your hands on the wheel – and your eye on the road!

DPAS is a specialist provider of practice-branded dental plans for your practice and patients, offering everything the team needs to implement and promote plans effectively. For further information, visit www.dpas.co.uk, email enquiries@dpas.co.uk or call 01747 870910.