2 Kinds Of Branding For Dentists

May 29, 2013

Trent Wehrhahn


2 Kinds Of Brand-Building For Dentists: One Kind Burns Cash While The Other Delivers A Steady Stream Of New Patients.

Which do you prefer?

The topic of brand-building comes up in almost every conversation we have with prospects and clients. How to do it, how much to spend, and what kind of results to expect. Today’s feature shares our  perspective on branding for dentists and other healthcare businesses. Thanks for reading, and let us know what you think.

Brand Building That Burns Cash

Nothing gets us more frustrated than to sit and listen to an “expert” brand-builder spout off about how to build a dentist’s brand with a unique logo, tagline, eye-catching graphic design, and even a cute little jingle. “Give me your tired brochures, your website, your ads, and we’ll be more creative; We’ll build you an effective BRAND. Your practice will grow and thrive, like MAGIC. See, look here at our portfolio of beautiful logos and website home pages. Look at all the raving reviews from our 1 million clients. That can be YOU. Just open your arms for a comforting embrace, empty your wallet, and 6-12 months later SHAZAM, you’ll be rich!”

I know that’s a bit over the top, but I’ve heard many very polished marketing and advertising consultants recommend strategic “branding campaigns” just like that for dentists. These “Mad Men” rely on creativity and repetition. This type of strategic philosophy is a really bad idea, and that’s why most dental practice managers draw the conclusion that marketing is not for them.

Since most of what we all see and recognize as marketing and advertising is the product of creative brand-builder campaigns like the Aflac Duck, Budweiser Frogs, the Geico Gekko, and the E-Trade Baby, we all draw the conclusion that this must be the best way to build an effective brand. But there is a more effective and MUCH cheaper way to go…

Brand Building For Dentists That Produces
A Steady Stream Of Patients

Effective and affordable dentist marketing is very different from creative brand-building. Dental marketing should build your brand by educating people about diagnosis, treatment, and how to choose the best provider. While your prospects are being educated, they also get to know your brand.

For example, if you are a dentist who has invested $200,000 for a new CEREC 4 machine, would you do better “brand building” by placing a bunch of ads sporting a logo, tagline, and contact information OR help consumers understand what CEREC can do and how it could improve results, speed up the process, and lower costs? Which type of “strategic” campaign would do a better job spurring action from highly qualified prospective patients, the one that focused on the slick logo or the educational piece on CEREC?
Good dentist marketing looks very different from what we all recognize as ad agency brand-building. There is only one strategy for good dentist marketing that is affordable and efficient, and we like to call it the “Cliffs Notes” strategy.

In the Cliffs Notes strategy, you take your specialized knowledge and create content that summarizes how you do what you do to provide an expected result, like restoring teeth and eliminating pain. Then offer ways to learn more without actually booking an appointment.

If you’re good at what you do, the Cliffs Notes strategy will build your brand systematically, within your budget. Instead of throwing cash at a “creative” branding problem, you’ll do better to develop engaging educational content which includes a variety of ways to learn more or take the next step in your sales process.

Want to see a complete “Cliffs Notes” strategic marketing system ready to use in your clinic? Sign up for a 60 minute live demo here.

Trent Wehrhahn


Trent Wehrhahn is the founder and President of Dental Growth Strategies. With his years of multinational sales and marketing experience with dental offices, he has focused his strengths on marketing solutions for local dental offices just like yours.

At DGS we help you assess where you are at and implement a custom marketing plan that gets results.