No matter what industry you’re in, in order to ensure your business stands out, brand is everything.
There are probably many dental offices that offer services similar to yours. So, what makes a potential patient choose one practice over another? What drives patient loyalty? To engage on social media, to wait weeks for an appointment when schedules are full, or choose to pay more for care from a specific provider? A big part of the answer is brand identity. Your brand is what connects patients to your practice on a more personal level.
Chad Rea, a well-known creative director, and artist shares just how crucial this piece of your business is:
“Branding is probably the single-most important asset a company has. In many cases, it trumps the product or service itself. Companies who invest in the often-lengthy process, as well as the ongoing brand guardianship, don’t have to keep introducing themselves every time they enter the room.”
While developing a strong, effective brand identity requires purpose and takes time, it’s very attainable for – even without a big marketing budget or an art degree. In this two-step article, we’ll share everything you need to know to create a brand identity, including:
- What brand identity is and why it’s important.
- 8 steps to build a brand identity (and when to invest money in your brand identity)
- How to keep your brand identity consistent across all your marketing.
Let’s start with what brand identity is and why it matters.
Brand identity encompasses all the aspects of your practice that you want to communicate to patients, and how it’s communicated to them. This includes the core information about your practice, including your mission station and who your providers are, what services you offer, and your brand personality. This information should be represented in your brand materials, such as your practice name, logo, website, and marketing materials.
Wondering how to communicate your brand effectively?
Here are 8 steps to build your brand identity:
Step 1: Create your mission statement
While each aspect is not technically difficult, every facet of your brand identity should be developed very purposefully. Your mission, company name, logo, colors, tone, and sound all need to be created for a specific reason. To do this, you must first identify who you are and what you want to do. What is your mission?
A great TED Talk by Simon Sinek, called “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” can help you begin to explore and define your “why”. When developing your mission statement, think past your services to the core reasons you started your practice. Your mission statement concisely communicates the following:
- Your goal
- How you plan to do it
- Who you’re impacting
- How you’re impacting them
- The end result for your patients
Step 2: Create a business logo
Once your mission statement has been finalized, you’ll need to create a consistent visual representation of your brand as well.
A logo can be one of the most difficult design projects you come across. It’s not that logos are incredibly complicated. In fact, the issue is the opposite. Logos are not visually interesting, impressive illustrations. They are simple, two-dimensional marks that are recognizable in one color, at a small size. They do not need to win an award at an art show. What makes a logo impactful is the experiences a person has that they associate with that logo. It’s about what happens while they interact with your office.
The biggest challenge when developing a logo is eliminating emotion from the process. To do this, you must focus on what makes a great logo. We call it the t-shirt test. If your logo can be clearly recognized, embroidered on a t-shirt at the size of the Lacoste Alligator on a polo, you’ve got yourself a workable logo.
It is important that along with your logo, you request a brand guide to share with partners and/or vendors, which outlines how your brand identity should accurately be represented. A brand guide can be simple and include logos, colors, and fonts, or more specific with examples of dos and don’ts. Make sure the brand guide is provided in .ai formats for designers and .pdf and .jpg formats, so it can be easily shared with a wide-range of vendors.
While there are many low-cost logo design options online, if it’s within your budget, a great designer is worth every penny. It is important to recognize when you need to hire an expert and when you can design assets yourself while staying on-brand. The interest in your product or services will be greatly affected by how consistently your brand is presented.
Step 3: Determine your brand voice
Next, you will need to determine what the tone of your brand will be. Take some time to identify some aspects of your brand identity. These aspects help you craft content, determine how to speak to your audience, and provide the flexibility to switch it up now and then. For example:
When speaking to the media, you may use a more authoritative tone to convey your expertise. This means more confident, definitive statements, fewer questions, and avoiding unnecessarily big words – staying calm, clear and concise.
On social media on the otherhand, you may use a more relaxed tone, coming off more playful, empathetic and compassionate. I
Here’s an example of how Dr. X on Social outlines its brand voice.
Here are the brand identity aspects:
Each aspect is strategically based on how you’ve experienced your patient base engaging with your current content, how you can effectively communicate your value, and simply what you enjoy doing.
If you’re looking for help building (or strengthening) your practice’s brand voice. Our partner, LocaliQ can help! Click here to learn more about their comprehensive services and exclusive IDS member benefits.