Dental branding mistakes: What to avoid when branding your dental practice
While dental branding isn’t really the sort of thing that many dentists pay close attention to, the reality is that those dentists who brand themselves correctly are typically 4 times more likely to double their profit projections after 5 years of being in business.
Many healthcare marketing experts consider dental branding the “x-factor” in marketing, where if all other factors are equal (experience, online reputation, services offered, and education), the dentist with the most attractive and recognized brand will psychologically sway a potential patient’s decision in its favor.
Research further finds a correlation between poorly branded dental practices and the quality of patients that those practices attract. Generic brands tend to attract one-time price shoppers who aren’t necessarily appreciative of quality, while a more sophisticated and unique brand attracts quality patients who seek a higher level of care — patients who don’t necessarily mind paying a higher price-point for quality care.
Generic and Inspired Brands. What’s the Problem?
It has now become commonplace for many dentists to go online and utilize one of many budget-friendly logo design websites to create their “brand.” You often pay a few hundred dollars, and within a few days, your inbox is inundated with logo options to pick from.
So how is this a problem? And how can this come back and haunt you, as it has haunted hundreds or even thousands of other dentists throughout the United States over the past several years?
1- A Logo is Not a Brand
Just because you have a logo, it doesn’t mean you have branded yourself. That’s because a brand isn’t just in the image, but a set of attributes and collateral that paints the perfect picture of you, your values, your mission, and the type of patients you wish to attract.
A correct branding campaign starts with competitive analysis and target market research. Once everything is discovered about your unique positioning and goals, work will begin on developing a logo that is uniquely yours. Colors, spacing attributes, and font types add layers of customization while fulfilling the brand-ability and marketability checklists of what a dental brand should be.
A brand must have a heart and soul, led by a team of branding experts who know who to scale the brand correctly, utilize it in a way that is congruent with your values and vision, and use language and tone that defines your practice as not just another dental office, but a destination. Having a logo is great, but having a brand is what actually propels dentists from being a struggling entity to a thriving enterprise.
2- You Get What You Pay For
That old adage that you get what you pay for is so true in every aspect of life. From real-estate to restaurants, and dentists to designers, quality is synonymous with higher fees. This is because as with everything else, a bigger price tag represents an investment in quality, workmanship, experience, and expertise.
Those online logo design companies are only after quantity and care nothing for quality. That is evident by their business model where they explicitly mention to their subcontracted designers not to invest too much time into any logo, as the client may never pick it, and instead, encourage recycling logos and repurposing them to fit the needs of new clients in an effort to make money.
From a business point of view, it makes sense. They are telling their “designers” not to create something custom because it requires too much work, which may or may not be purchased by the right suitor. Instead, they give the designers “inside tips” on creating something that is more generic so that it can be purchased and used by dozens of dentists by merely changing the name of it and sending it along as a completed logo.
3- Legal Issues Await You
From an ethical and legal perspective, those cheap online logo design “companies” are putting their customers in a bad position, where their lack of ethical due diligence and legal know-how is putting dentists like you in jeopardy of losing your life savings and your business.
Ethically, every logo and brand must be developed from scratch, by closely examining competitors, understanding target markets, and fully researching each unique dental practice’s expertise and goals to ensure the development of a successful brand for years to come.
Legally, buying a cheap logo that has most probably been repurposed or even “borrowed” from another source to save money, will certainly come up in due time to haunt you. We have seen this too many times, where the legal owner of that logo will pop up one day and ask for an immediate seise and desist, and demand penalties for copyright infringement, forcing an unknowing dentist into having to pay tens of thousands to quickly rectify the situation through replacing the practice signage, redesigning their website, redesigning their logo, redoing all printing, and dealing with legal headaches.
While these cheap online logo design “companies” start out with a big smile, big promises of satisfaction, and incredible customer services, once face with legal paperwork, they are quick to refer you to their legal department where they clearly mention they are based out of India or China, where copyright rules do not apply to them. If based in the United States, they put the burden on the shoulders of their subcontract designers, who are often starving artists that can not share in your legal expenses to cleanup this copyright mess.
In summary, there are way too many reasons to avoid cheap logos, cheap branding, and cheap websites. While you may think you’re getting your dental branding done quickly and at a fraction of cost, the nightmare of having to deal with the consequences must deter any smart dentist from taking such self-destructive shortcuts.