Like it or not, your business reputation will come to mind when anyone says (or sees) the name of your practice. This concept of association between a name, logo, and reputation is known as branding. The name of your dental practice will determine how potential patients find you, how people perceive your business, and what you represent. A poorly chosen business name could easily be forgotten and lost in the crowd. Even worse, the wrong name could impute a negative perception or cause skepticism about your dental practice and you, as a professional.
Whether you’re looking to rebrand your current office or start a new practice, there are several points that you need to consider prior to choosing a dental practice name.
Think about the things you buy on a normal basis. People gravitate to brands that give them good feelings or represent a certain philosophy. Coca-Cola, Mercedes Benz, and Tiffany & Co. represent examples of excellent branding. Chances are, you have an immediate emotional reaction to those names. Good or bad, branding creates a powerful image – use it to your advantage.
What do you want your practice to represent? Start with your mission statement. Your practice name should convey an image to your patients that aligns with your philosophy. What’s most important: patient comfort, holistic treatment, optimal esthetics? Consider what you want your practice to focus on before selecting a name.
Branding is more than a logo or name; it’s the feelings, thoughts, and ideas that your practice evokes in the minds of the community.
Does your office’s location, architecture, or decor say something about your practice? Consider colors, for instance. Pastels in a lobby can create a feeling of femininity and gentleness, which is great for a family dentist or a dentist who caters to women. Dark woods and jewel tones present a rich, powerful persona that works well for cosmetic dentists. Earth tones and natural decor feel homey and safe, which can benefit any dental patient. Some dentists use the walls of their office to display photos of their patients’ smile makeovers, while others dress their office walls with symbols of their personal hobbies, like sailboats, travel photos, or local artists’ paintings. Is your office homey, holistic, whimsical, or high-end?
Trendy words come and go. Do not age your dental practice by choosing a name that plays off the latest technology, terms, or brands. Likewise, it is best to avoid making up a name that it so unique that it is unrecognizable and unmemorable. Naturally, you will to want to stand out among the competition, but make sure that your practice name is easy to read and pronounce. Your receptionist will thank you later.
While tempting, keeping the practice name simple by using your own name tends to be a little passé. Also, dentists with surnames that are difficult to pronounce or imply alternate meanings could be a very bad idea. Hugo Payne, DDS, anyone?
Selecting a name that includes a geographical reference is generally a good choice, unless it restricts you from eventual growth. Your practice name should carry with you wherever your future may take you. Think about what may happen if you add more dental associates. What will happen if you decide to expand or move? Adding a location tag line to your practice name frees you from being tied to a specific region. For example, a dental practice with the name XYZ Dentistry of Green Valley tells customers the location of the practice. Upon expansion,you would simply change “Green Valley” to the new location.
Your dental practice name should also be easily searchable online. The internet age has produced savvy consumers who search for services and products with just a few key words. Use a name that prospective patients can easily recall and spell.
Check out your competition to avoid any similar sounding names that may cause confusion or bad feelings with your new peers. Also, once you have a few names selected, check their availability with the county clerk. The county clerk’s office can provide you with an assumed name certificate or DBA (Doing Business As). You’ll also need to apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) with the IRS, which can be done online.
As the ancient proverb states, “Good men must die, but death cannot kill their names,” the same could easily apply to business names. There may be no greater foundational decision than what to name your business. Take time to brainstorm several different ideas, write them all down, and let them marinate a while. Don’t rush into choosing a name just for the sake of printing business cards. Make sure your dental practice name is a good fit for you and the philosophy you want to represent.
The information in this blog, in addition to my Dental Marketing Checklist, will help your dental practice create, execute, and maintain a solid content marketing strategy. If you need help or would like Identiwrite Creative to handle content marketing and/or video production for you, give me a call at 940-395-5115.
About Shauna Duty: As a copywriter, copy director, and owner of dental marketing companies, Shauna has worked with hundreds of copywriters. Today, she hires only those with high standards for excellence and quality. With her husband, Shauna owns and manages Identiwrite Creative, a content marketing agency that caters to dentists, physicians, and lawyers. Email [email protected] or call 940-395-5115.