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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Your Brand Is A Valuable Asset. Manage It Well. (Part 2)

Your brand is an important asset. When you buy a new dental chair, the day after this hard asset is installed into your office it begins to depreciate. When you invest in a professional approach to branding and nurture the brand with good marketing, you have an asset that will appreciate and play a very significant part in the overall success of your practice during its lifetime. Getting your practice started. With many doctors that I meet, there are infinite ideas for how they want to launch their new practice. While it’s great to have ideas, investing time and money on ideas that establish your brand to make a good first impression and immediate emotional response to connect with potential new customers is the first order of business. After all, when starting a new practice your business goals are very simple: Attract the right kind of new patients. To do this you need to understand what type of practice you want to be and the type of clients that you want to have in your practice. Think of your brand, and the marketing that follows, as a bridge that connects your practice to this clientele. The clearer your vision, the stronger your brand will be.

Your brand needs to flow throughout the practice. The colours on the walls and style of uniforms must reflect that personality. The look needs to be consistent from the sign out front to the furniture in the waiting room and treatment rooms. Growing your practice. With a strong brand in place, you have a head start with your marketing. Your marketing will be more effective if people can immediately associate your brand with something. If we placed the Apple logo on a coffee cup, people would automatically expect great quality and be prepared to pay a little bit more for it. Leverage the equity that you have established with your brand to move your practice forward. Be bold. Along with direct marketing, look for opportunities to team your brand with other like-minded brands in the community.

Branding is also a great motivator for your staff. When a team is on board with a common goal, they will represent and reinforce the values of your brand from the greeting on the phone to their interaction with patients in the office.

Office staff may change, hygienists may come and go, and you may want to bring on associates, but the look and feel of the practice will stay the same and that goes a long way to ensuring the loyalty of your clientele.

Also, customer loyalty comes from consistently delivering on the promise of your brand as well as keeping current. Styles change, but with an established brand you don’t have to reinvent yourself all the time. Starbucks recently freshened up their logo, but it was just a tweak. The logo is still instantly recognizable. Over time you can choose to update your logo or refresh the office interior while still keeping your brand association intact. Realizing your optimal practice sale price. When the time comes to sell Cobblestone Family Dentistry, having that brand is like staging a home for sale. It makes it easier for a potential buyers to see themselves owning the practice because they see the practice’s personality, not yours. It’s not only an easier transition for the new dentist, but for the patients and staff as well. It will still be the familiar Cobblestone Family Dentistry.

Brand recognition doesn’t happen overnight though. It’s best to be planning the sale of your practice in advance. An investment of $10,000.00 for a complete professional branding package, as well as some good marketing to build this brand in your office and out in the community, at least three years before listing the practice will deliver a strong return. I’ve discussed this thinking with some of Canada’s leading practice brokers and they agree that well branded practices are better positioned to sell more easily and for more money than a poorly branded or unbranded practice. Your brand is your lifeblood. Your practice is a business with a life and your brand is the blood that pumps through it, keeping it strong. In order to keep that business healthy, you have to manage your marketing well -- and that starts with your brand.

Bottom Line: The article outlines the importance of marketing and your brand name to the health of your practice.

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