Rebranding your practice is a big decision. Your brand creates your first impression, and builds your lasting reputation – so if you think that yours is not doing a good job of either, it’s time for a change.
But how do you begin? The prospect of such a big change can be daunting, and unless you’re in the unusual position of having a marketing function within your practice, it can be hard to know where to start. Josie Hutchings, Regional Support Manager at Practice Plan, caught up with Clare Ison, Practice Manager of Beaufort Dental Health Centre, to discuss how they transformed their brand – and the impact this had on their business.
Josie: Why did you decide to rebrand?
Clare: When the practice was first set up over 20 years ago, we had a blue and gold castle logo that was supposed to represent family, as we were a family practice. But two decades later we felt it was old fashioned and didn’t reflect the practice we are today.
We knew we wanted to make a change but we weren’t sure exactly what we wanted to change to, so we just started using different stock images in our adverts and brochures, etc. There was no consistency to the look or message we were sending out. We were moving away from the old brand but we weren’t really moving towards a new one, and we knew we had to do something else to look more unique and professional to existing and new patients.
Josie: I remember we spoke about your plan to rebrand and the need for a more strategic approach, so I asked our Creative Director Les Jones to visit the practice to help. What happened next?
Clare: Les came along and he brought a new perspective on the whole brand. He helped us to look at every element, from the exterior signage, to the colours and the uniforms, with a fresh pair of eyes.
I will never forget that he took the entire team up the road, and we looked at the practice as someone who is driving or walking past would see it. We then walked into reception and looked at it from the view of a new patient. It was very eye-opening.
We discussed what we saw as a team and told Les who we were trying to target, and the message we wanted to convey, which is that we are a contemporary, welcoming, professional practice. He took all that information away to come up with some concepts for our new brand. One thing we really appreciated was that we felt that we were in control, that our ideas would be taken seriously and that we hadn’t had any ideas forced on us – it was still our brand.
Josie: How did you find the process of working with Les and the rest of the design team?
Clare: The team came up with three different concepts which they presented to us, and we were so excited as they were even better than what we had expected. We felt like they had really understood the direction we wanted to take the practice in and had created something that reflected our personality.
They also showed us how the different concepts could work across our various marketing literature, which was really helpful. We selected something that was a massive change for us but we felt it would help us to stand out from the crowd and represented the modern, friendly message we were trying to get across. It’s very simple but effective – people understand who we are as a practice and recognise our brand now.
Josie: How much did you change within the practice?
Clare: Everything! We had new brochures created, we repainted the practice in the new colours and displayed the new logo behind reception, we got uniforms in our new purple branding and we invested in new signage – including an exterior sign that lights up in the evening.
We now truly look like the practice that we are, and we’re confident in the impression we’re creating from the moment someone walks through the door.
Josie: How important do you think branding is when it comes to developing and growing your dental practice?
Clare: It is really important because if you don’t keep your branding up-to-date, you’re going to become stagnant. Patients will notice that, and who wants to go to a practice that doesn’t look like they’re trying to achieve something or make improvements for their patients?
Josie: What advice do you have for anyone else thinking of rebranding or updating their brand?
Clare: Firstly, have a team discussion and find out what your colleagues’ ideas are. Secondly, talk to an external expert, like Les, who has the knowledge and experience of doing this before, and can really add that creative flair as well as make the whole process run so smoothly.
Sometimes people are afraid to make changes, especially big ones like rebranding, but you need to take that leap because otherwise the market will move on but you’ll be left behind.
Adding a project like this to your workload can be daunting, but it is so worthwhile. Our practice has grown a lot since we transformed our brand – both the team and patient list has expanded, the team are more confident in what we stand for, and we have a great reputation.
Josie: Thanks for sharing your experience Clare, it sounds like just the change the practice was looking for.
If you are thinking about improving your brand but aren’t sure where to start, we have created a free workbook that shows you how. For more information, click here.