Branding 101: Stop!…Before You Brand
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle
When you think about branding, what images come to mind? Logos? Colors? Fonts? Yes, those things are essential in creating a brand that represents your practice and speaks to your ideal patients, but branding goes much deeper than that. Branding asks the important questions that help you figure out who you are as a doctor and a practice, and how you’re going to communicate those values to your patients. Creating a cohesive brand gives you a roadmap that makes all future conversations, marketing efforts, and big decisions a little easier, so you can spend more time taking great care of your patients.
Who are you?
For some, this question may be laughably simple. For others, it’s open-ended enough to make their head spin. In the case of branding your practice, the question applies to you as an individual and a doctor, and your practice as a whole. Let’s start with the basics.
- Why did you become a dentist? Do you come from a family of dentists? Do you love the combination of art and science? Did you have a noteworthy dental experience in the past? Do you just want to help people?
- What sets you apart from the competition? What makes your practice unique? Do you have any special training? What value can you provide that other practices can’t?
- What is the office culture and work environment? Are you a family oriented practice? Is your team more goofy and fun? Or more professional and clinical?
Who are your patients?
To answer this question, you should first look at your existing patient base. Who are they? But more importantly, are these the type of patients you want? If yes, that’s great! Your existing brand is speaking to your ideal demographic. If no, why do you think your current brand attracted these patients? What type of patients do you want to see more of?
Think about your ideal patient, who they are, what they do. Take the time to list what makes them unique. Note the following:
Here’s an example – you’re probably not going to have much luck attracting high-end cosmetic patients in rural areas. And you’re probably not going to attract the local hard-working families that live there with a name like “Couture Smiles”. Branding is all about finding that sweet spot between who you are and the community you serve.
Bringing Brands to Life
Once you’ve worked through some of the messy details in fleshing out your brand positioning, messaging and demographics, but how do you translate this information into a visual brand?
- Which color/s best represents your brand? Black, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, or white?
- What brands do you like? Pick your top five favorite brands and think about what it is you admire about them.
- If your brand were a person, who would it be? It can be a person you know, a celebrity, a fictional character, get creative. Think of their appearance, attitudes, and behaviors.
- What words best describe your brand? Energetic, outgoing, friendly, attentive, casual, formal, businesslike, serious, clinical, relaxed, funny, laid back, progressive, calm, authoritative, warm, capable, masterful, sophisticated, sincere, exciting, competent, rugged…you get the gist.
Vision, Mission, & Values
You’ve probably heard these terms thrown around a lot in the context of business development and marketing. So what do they really mean and what’s the difference between them?
Your vision describes where you are going, your mission explains why, and your values depict how you’re going to behave along the way. Asking yourself a few simple questions can help in creating a powerful mission statement that communicates your brand’s vision and values.
- What do you do for your patients? “Maintain a lifetime of oral health and wellness.”
- How do you do it? “By investing in continuing education and advanced technology.”
- Who do you do it for? “Busy moms and families.”
- What value do you bring? “Personalized care.”
“Our mission is to help local families maintain a lifetime of oral health and wellness. We invest in continuing education and advanced technology to provide personalized care catered to your needs.”
Your mission statement is an important part of your brand and can not only be used on a variety of internal and external marketing materials but can also be used as a guiding principle that drives your daily practice.
Your Branding Experts
At PDA | Marketing Group, we understand all it takes to build a successful brand – it’s not easy! So before you send that logo file to a designer and ask them to “build you a brand”, give us a call! We’ll walk you through the branding process step by step and help you build a brand that communicates your values and attracts the patients you want through in-depth market research, design, and messaging.
We’ll help guide you through the cultural discovery process to help you flesh out your vision, color theory with our nationally renowned Color Specialist, logo and stationery creation, and brand guidelines to ensure consistency in all your messaging. We’re here to help you find yourself and your place in the market through strategic branding that speaks to your ideal patient.
Contact us at PDA | Marketing Group today!