When Mark Hill, Principal Dentist at Park Place Dental Practice in Cardiff, relocated his business he also took the opportunity to refresh and update his branding. We caught up with Mark to find out why he turned to Practice Plan for help, how he went about it and how he – and his patients – feel about the new look…
Why did you want to relocate your practice?
We had been at Churchill Way in Cardiff for 17 years. However, the building wasn’t well maintained, this was making it impossible for the practice to give a good first impression. We spent two years searching for a suitable property before finally finding Park Place.
Your previous practice name was linked to the street address, so moving clearly meant a change of name. You decided to go along a similar route, by renaming as Park Place – why was that?
This was a difficult decision as you assume your name is what attracts loyalty or brand awareness. However, the two biggest ways new patients find us is word of mouth from our loyal clients and online/social media searches – especially the reviews. Those patients decided to join us because of our location or based on our website/Facebook page. Therefore, as we were only going to move 100m, the location decision wouldn’t be affected and as we redirected from our old website to our new one so we didn’t lose anyone searching for us online.
We also realised that when patients recommend us they do so based on their experience of the practice – the customer care, quality of dentistry and the team as a whole, not because we were in a particular street! Therefore, we decided to rename the practice.
I had a big discussion with Les Jones, Creative Director at Practice Plan, about the importance of our new name and how it impacts the brand. Many people felt I should include my name – Mark Hill Dental etc. However, that didn’t fit comfortably with me, especially as I wanted the reputation of the practice to grow as a whole. It was also important to consider any future sale of the practice – having it named after me would not sit well with any future potential buyer.
Finally, we also realised that we were going to a street that has a high reputation in Cardiff – much like Harley Street does in London. As soon as we mentioned that we would be moving to ‘Park Place’ most people were instantly impressed. Hence naming the practice after its location instantly had a huge positive impact.
You changed name and location, why did you want to change your branding as well – why not just re-use the same branding from your old practice?
We felt that we needed a fresh start and it was a good opportunity to reinforce what we our brand stands for. The old marketing image was getting a little dated – it had served us well, but we wanted a fresh image to take us into the next 17 years!
It had been such a huge decision to relocate the practice and we wanted to try and keep all the loyalty and reputation we had built. We had worked very hard to create a new practice that was going to look amazing, so we wanted a new brand image that would be in keeping with that and equally impressive.
The brand of your practice is clearly very important to you, what are the key things you want to communicate through your brand?
As Les has always taught me, your brand starts with you and the team. The details such as logos, letterheads are just a small representation of our practice ethos of striving to provide high quality of care in a professional manner in a modern clinical environment. This is the message we wanted our brand to portray.
You worked with the design team at Practice Plan to develop your new corporate identity, how was that experience?
Les has helped us enormously over the years and has got to know me very well. We outlined the dream I have for the new practice, how I wanted it to look and he helped us to create a new logo and branding that would represent this image.
It was great to talk about some of the concerns we had, such as changing the name, and he helped me consider some important points that I would never have considered.
The design team were very effective in generating the main logo, font and colour scheme and they’re continuing to use this as we begin developing the range of marketing materials we need for the new practice. Overall it was a very supportive and easy process but, importantly, using a design team that has known our practice for many years made it so much more productive and successful than going to a new marketing company and starting from scratch.
What are your thoughts on the final design?
I absolutely love it and I think it successfully represents the image we want to portray – professional, modern, high quality and clean lines. It fits very well alongside the practice’s building and physical image and the colours are also a great success.
How have your patients taken to the new practice and new branding?
The existing patients have been overwhelmed, every single patients has said, ‘Wow, very professional, very posh, I love it’. However, it is not until something like this happens that you truly get to see the depth of the loyalty you hopefully build in your patients over the years. So many have said things like ‘well done, you deserve it, I’m so pleased for you!’ which has been very touching.
We are starting to see new patients, and it is clear that when they arrive that the branding, practice environment and the team are working together to give them all the messages we want within that first impression.
How important do you think branding is in the future development of your practice?
Branding is the first impression someone has of your business and is the starting point of your relationship. It helps makes future clients ‘feel’ positively towards the practice if they are looking for a new one.
Logos, colours etc are not going to make us successful, but they are an important reminder and representation of the brand our practice hopes to create through how our team interacts with patients and the quality of the dental service we provide. Les is right, the brand is us, but we can now build up the practice with the support of a wonderful new image – inside and out!