Building a Solid and Consistent Identity
Project business confidence and competence with branding
Getting off on the right foot with a prospective client is crucial to maintaining your laboratory's upward trajectory. Making sure a new clinician trusts your team and is open to potentially partnering with them could involve in-person meetings or phone calls, but that personal contact is not always possible. Having a secure brand identity that accurately portrays your laboratory's mission and values to the appropriate audience is the next best thing.
The Importance of Brand Identity
A carefully crafted and executed brand can do more than make you recognizable to clients in the dental industry. A logo, typography, colors, and more can significantly influence potential and current clinical partners into trusting your laboratory and viewing your team as the first stop in any restorative case. There is a reason why so many consumers judge a business by its cover. Low-quality or nonexistent branding may imply that a company does not have either the time or the money to invest in their business. This evaluation can decrease trust and disenchant prospective dentists who are deciding between your laboratory and a competitor. Rebranding your business with consistent design and messaging can further legitimize your standing as a trustworthy dental partner, increase the success of your marketing efforts, and establish long-lasting relationships with your preferred audience of clinicians.
The first step to any marketing endeavor is to figure out your target audience. The most basic investigation will uncover the general characteristics of your typical consumer and their business. Going deeper, ask what kind of dentists you want your laboratory to attract. Are you interested in being the go-to laboratory for DSOs? Maybe you are a robust digital laboratory interested in partnering solely with dentists who have intraoral scanners. Knowing your ideal client type will inform practically all of your branding efforts, from messaging to color to imagery.
Once you have pinpointed your target audience, you can move on to analyzing and optimizing your mission statement. This brief message, typically a single sentence or one or two paragraphs, should be for internal use only. The goal is not to inform your clients of what they can expect from your laboratory; instead, it is to ensure that you align every member of your team with the goals and expectations of your business. After the creation of this mission statement, you can easily translate it into a marketable mission statement or brief tagline.
Your target audience and mission will inform the essence of your laboratory's identity. This essence will go on to inform tangible assets, like your logo—the central focus of any brand. Through the design or redesign of this integral mark, you and your team can also determine the primary colors and typography that will be used throughout the entirety of your branding and marketing efforts.
A brand guide is the best way to ensure your entire team is on the same page regarding your brand standards. It can simply include the colors, typography, and logo of your brand. If you want to be extremely thorough, you can add backgrounds and patterns that are allowed or verbiage that should and should not be used. Whether you have an in-house marketer, an agency partner, or multiple different agencies handling the creation of print, digital, and website assets, the brand guide can make sure the portrayal of your business always sticks to a predetermined standard.
Before you begin your branding journey, the first step to take is recognizing and accepting that building a highly effective brand is not an overnight task. It is a process that requires dedication and thoroughness to produce the best possible outcome for your laboratory. Your next step should be deciding who will be in charge of branding. As previously stated, this can be an in-house employee or an agency. To make the best choice for your business, make sure the person has marketing experience and is fully capable of spending the necessary time to focus on your brand.
Whether you are starting from scratch or simply improving upon an already-established brand, a stable brand identity can greatly benefit your laboratory. Gaining the recognition and trust of your clients can directly lead to a steady increase in sales, more complex cases, client referrals, and advocacy for your products and services. You have always been told to put your best foot forward. With a new or revamped brand, you can do so with every potential dentist that comes into contact with your laboratory through any channel.
About the Author
Terry Fine is President of AMG Creative in Fort Collins, Colorado.