Dreaming of Practice Ownership: Consider your ‘personal brand’ in your overall marketing mix

Editor’s note: This is the seventh article in a series of New Dentist Now blog posts on practice ownership from Wells Fargo Practice Finance, the practice lender endorsed by ADA Member Advantage.

When you develop your marketing plan, keep in mind that your “personal brand” is an important element in the overall “marketing mix.” This final blog in our series sheds light on how to identify and leverage your personal brand.

Quite simply: A personal brand is comprised of all the elements that make you unique as a dentist. It’s your care, leadership, business management, and community engagement philosophies all rolled up in one. And once crystalized and clear, a personal brand:

  • Can set you apart from the competition.
  • Resonates most strongly when your repeated behaviors (and those of your dental team) positively reinforce it in your practice.
  • Is yours to continually hone and uphold.
  • Is easily diluted and damaged if not properly maintained, especially if your office culture or marketing is out of sync with it.

Personal brand as your “dream” Yelp review

According to Gavin Shea, senior vice president, Healthcare, Wells Fargo Practice Finance, “A winning ‘personal brand’ could be your ‘dream’ Yelp review, including every single descriptor you aspire to through your practice. Conversely, an unmanaged personal brand could be your worst nightmare of a Yelp review, and that’s why it’s so important to get it right … and keep it right.”

Your personal brand is your “living legacy,” and everyone who depends on your practice’s success — you, your team, your loved ones, and your team’s loved ones — are relying on your personal brand’s resonance with your patients. It can be that mission critical.

Articulating your personal brand

Your personal brand starts with you at your core as a human, dentist, and business owner. Whatever it is should feel natural, sincere, and comfortable to you as the leader most accountable for maintaining it authentically. But you might be wondering: How do I figure out what my personal brand even is? “My advice to you is to start by first drafting your ideal Yelp review to glean insights,” says Mr. Shea.

It could be something like the following:

“Doctor [Your Name Here] is an incredibly caring, prompt, and expert professional in all ways. She takes time to really listen to my concerns, asking probing questions to fully understand my needs and worries. She then offers me a variety of sound treatment options and helps me understand the differences between each, enabling me to make informed choices about my care. With her, I know it’s not about the money I spend at her dental office and all about my overall well-being and health.”

In this example, the dentist clearly exhibits a few “brand traits”:

  • Being the best at what she does while showing that she’s caring, prompt, and considerate.
  • Listening to the needs of the patient and probing to understand concerns and worries more fully.
  • Offering alternatives to give the patient a choice whenever possible, making it clear it’s not about the money spent at the clinic but the best care and outcome for the patient.

But that’s just one example in a world of infinite possibilities, unique to each individual dentist. Mr. Shea notes, “My advice to you is to start creating what your dream Yelp review might be and then highlight the words that make you most proud if you were to receive them from a patient. Chances are those highlighted descriptors are your ‘brand attributes.’ And once you are clear on your brand attributes, the next step is to line up the actions and behaviors that bring those attributes into being — and then relentlessly live them out with your dental team.”

A tool that can help prepare you:

Other helpful resources:

Wells Fargo Practice Finance is the only practice and commercial real estate lender recommended for members of the American Dental Association.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

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