Thinking about rebranding? Here’s what you need to know!
If you’ve recently acquired a practice, or have decided to give your practice a facelift, you’ve probably considered rebranding. The good news is, rebranding can help you start afresh and be in complete control of your practice. The bad news is, it will require a lot of work.
The work can't all be done immediately, either. Rebranding requires careful planning before you can start implementation. But you don’t have to work through all this alone! There are many others that have already gone through the rebranding process, and can help you avoid mistakes. To get you started, SmileMakers has teamed up with Dr. Gene Brabston, who recently rebranded his own practice. With his help, we've identified five key questions to ask yourself before rebranding your practice.
1. Why are you rebranding?
Rebranding is a lengthy process and not for the faint of heart. If you have a strong patient-base and good brand recognition in your city, it may not even be in your best interest. That being said, there are situations where rebranding is to your advantage. If you’re trying to establish a brand, being marketable is important, and rebranding can set you on the path to success. Other reasons to rebrand include:
- Acquiring an old practice.
- Expanding beyond your previous services or adding new associates.
- Merging with another practice.
For Dr. Brabston, rebranding was a chance to refresh and modernize the practice. His new practice name, Living Oaks Dental, has a more modern feel that patients have gravitated towards. “For our new and returning patients, it’s important to assure them that we’re staying up-to-date. Rebranding helped show how our practice is keeping up with the times.”
2. What’s in a name?
The name of your practice is the foundation for the rest of your rebranding process. In this modern era, your practice name will represent your brand, so it should not be a last minute or rash decision. The two most common options are to name your practice after yourself or try to create a completely unique brand. No matter what you choose, the goal is for the name to accurately represent you and be memorable to others. It’s also important to do a trademark check on the practice name. Even if you believe your name to be one-of-a-kind, someone may already have had the same idea.
When choosing a name, Dr. Brabston was drawn to the Live Oak trees native to his hometown. The trees are dependable and are known for their longevity. This connotation, along with how memorable ‘Living Oaks’ sounded, helped him decide on the practice name. “I had actually been sitting on the name for four years. My brother had trademarked Living Oaks Construction long ago, and it always stuck with me. When I started working with a new marketing team, it felt like the right time.” 3. How will your logo, colors, and slogan work together?
Images speak louder than words, and often your logo is more likely to be remembered than your practice name. As you’re rebranding your entire practice, this is the time to ensure that all the small details align. The colors, shape, and features of your logo all have meaning, so it’s worth hiring someone who can get it perfect. Research has shown that details like color increases brand recognition by 80%. It even is the main factor for some patients when choosing a new dental practice. If done correctly, your name, logo, and practice colors can all work together to attract new patients and grow your brand.
4. How will this affect my patients, new and returning?
Most people don’t like change, and some of your loyal patients will be uneasy with your rebranding if they are caught unaware. Even once you’ve transitioned into your new identity, it will still be critical to answer calls with your new and old practice name together. Many patients will have questions and need some assurance that the level of service they’re used to will not change.
Dr. Brabston still gets questions to this day about his rebranding. “I’ve had patients that have been coming to me for over twenty years… Most people were worried I was retiring or leaving!” The feedback isn't always bad, though. Dr. Brabston has received many compliments on the new practice name and many patients think the change is for the best. “One of my patients the other day said she liked the title, I think it’s because it’s more modern and shows we’re staying up-to-date at our practice.”
Proving your practice to be up-to-date is one of the best ways to attract new patients. That's why it's an important aspect of rebranding. Attracting new patients is one of the best aspects of creating a new brand. Your name, logo, and slogan all should be chosen with new patients in mind. For this reason, knowing the demographics of your area is a necessity. Baby Boomers and Generation X are often more interested in traditional names or simpler practice titles that feel safe to them. In contrast, Millennials are very interested in individuality and uniqueness. While both age groups can be very loyal, they are drawn to different elements. By knowing your target market, it will be easier to select a practice name and logo that suit their expectations.
5. How will you get the word out?
Once you’re decided on a new name and logo, it’s important to feature these prolifically around your office. Visibility creates familiarity, and incorporating the new brand will help your patients get comfortable with it. As you convert your branding to your new practice details, start to emphasize it outside the office, too. Your website should change, as should your business cards and other office supplies. You may even find it’s worth ordering new promotional products or giveaways to help spread the word. SmileMakers offers a range of promotional giveaways that can be customized with your practice name and logo. Items like fridge magnets, toothbrushes, and other dental accessories can all feature your rebranded image. These will help patients adjust to the new look and promote it at the same time. But stationary or other dental products shouldn’t be the only way you spread the word. It’s best to cover all your bases. Here are just a few ways we suggest promoting your rebranded practice:
- Appointment reminder cards
- Practice Brochures
- Email blasts
- Staff scrubs or practice attire
- Patient take-home bags
- Answering calls with the new practice title included
- A booth at a community event or health fair
Using a variety of different methods will help ensure that you reach all your patients. Every patient that is aware of the rebranding helps the transition happen more smoothly. During his rebranding, Dr. Brabston found that emails were the most effective way to spread the word. For him, the most important part was to start making the changes slowly, and help his patients through the process. “We sent out the email blast and started answering our phone calls with the new name included, but we still added the old practice name, too. People were worried that the practice was changing hands so we spent a lot of time reassuring them and answering their questions.”
Tip: Don’t try to rush it
While this isn’t a question you need to consider, it’s still a vital part of the process. The transition isn’t going to be easy, and rushing it will only make matters worse. Give your patients time to adjust and prepare to answer a lot of questions. Dr. Brabston is still rolling out his rebranded practice despite beginning the process last year. If you’re trying to retain your patients, it will require a certain amount of hand-holding and reassurance. Taking your time allows you to ensure it is done correctly. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Planning on changing the interior of your practice while rebranding? SmileMakers has you covered!
If you’re doing a major overhaul of your practice while rebranding, SmileMakers can help brighten up your office with festive decor. We offer child-friendly posters, canvas prints, and wall decals. Why not try a wall mural and coordinated decor to give your practice a whole new look! We also can help redesign your children’s play area with everything from play rugs, furniture, and fun activities.