What Ireland’s Most Improved Practice did right

by Branding, Business growth, Communications, Online marketing, Video

Our client Shields Dental & Implant Clinic won Most Improved Practice at the 2018 Irish Dentistry Awards and Practice of the Month in Irish Dentistry magazine. It’s obviously been doing something right.

The big one (and the whole point of running any business) is the bottom line. However much you enjoy your clinical work (and you can see from their videos how passionate the Shields brothers are), you need to make the numbers work. Shields has seen an uplift in revenue and profit over the past 18 months — but how?

Firstly, it created a brand. This reflects its chosen market position, that of a high end private practice. In our analysis of local competitors and target market demographics we established that the brand had to be serious, modern, quiet and formal.

These qualities explain the understated Shields logo and a brand rule saying imagery must be black and white. When you look at the outside of the practice and the homepage, you see essentially the same shop window. Consistency across platforms amplifies the clarity of your brand values.

Shields uses these rules at other touchpoints along the patient journey such as posters. Note the message “we are open 7 days a week” is always prominent.

It’s top of the pile in the hierarchy of messaging, but website visitors get more granular USP messages on each treatment webpage. For example, the sidebar on the single implants webpage says:

  • Free consultation worth €150
  • Experienced dentist with over 24 years experience in dentistry
  • Over 1,000 cases treated
  • Appointments available 7 days a week
  • 0% finance available up to 18 months
  • Complimentary teeth whitening treatment available to implant patients

A budget was allocated for blog content, PPC and SEO. Shields also invested in video content. To give you an idea, there are five unscripted patient testimonial videos on the single implants webpage. The website also hosts plenty of unscripted video interviews with clinicians. Both types of video make it easy for a potential patient to develop trust and familiarity with the Shields brand. Videos are brilliant at turning website visitors into paying customers, particularly in dentistry.

Why unscripted? It’s the only way to produce an authentic feel. A potential patient inevitably looks for reasons not to trust your brand, so don’t give them any. Authenticity is one of Shields’ strong suits. Here are some snippets from Our Story, a page in the About Us section of the website:

“Conor and Cormac Shields are brothers — identical twins, in fact — who improve lives every day with care that ranges from oral surgery to family check-ups. Their grandfather Frank qualified as one of the first dental surgeons in Tyrone in 1917, and their father Frank was a pioneer in oral surgery and sedation in Dungannon…

“Their great grandmother, Norrie, was the daughter of Stephen O’Mara, the Mayor of Limerick. Stephen was at Charles Parnell’s deathbed and lived in Strand House, where Éamon de Valera stayed on the night the Treaty was signed.”

Obviously you can’t make this stuff up, but you don’t need to. There is an authentic human story behind every single business and people genuinely want to hear it. Make it easy for them to connect emotionally with your brand by giving them something real. In the words of Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, don’t sell what you do, sell why you do it.

Shields’ branding and communications make the potential patient feel safe. Its story and videos create familiarity. Familiarity breeds a sense of safety. Shields repeatedly answers the four big areas of doubt in the potential patient’s mind: What level of service can I expect? Are these people professional? Can I trust them? Are they safe? Removing that moment of hesitation has paid dividends, and it’s now plain to see in the bottom line.

JJF 10

“Obviously you can’t make this stuff up, but you don’t need to”

Jonathan Fine, MD
Author: Jonathan Fine