Table of Contents

Continuing Education
Cover Story

Inside Dental Technology

April 2014, Volume 5, Issue 4
Published by AEGIS Communications

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Dental laboratory branding distinguishes your business and promises value

By Nick Azar

As a laboratory, successfully attracting clients depends on presenting yourself as trustworthy and competent in your area of expertise. As such, many laboratory owners will emphasize their business’s specialties in any marketing materials and client communications. However, the unfortunate reality is that promoting personal trustworthiness and competence is not a unique marketing strategy in the dental laboratory arena. Most dental laboratories, whether registered or unregistered, have technicians on staff who will make similar claims as their competitors.

Branding a dental laboratory’s services allows laboratory owners to enhance their marketing message, thus allowing their business to stand apart from the crowd. Beyond creating a brand, it is how the laboratory positions this brand that helps it to occupy a distinctive place in the market and value in clients’ minds. Brand position shapes how potential clients identify a laboratory’s distinctive qualities and helps them to recognize how a particular business can help them achieve their goals.

Developing Your Brand

A dental laboratory’s brand is a unique combination of attributes that distinguishes the laboratory from the competition. It also allows laboratory owners to attract prospects and deliver value to clients. Just as each person on this planet is unique, each dental laboratory’s products and services are distinctive. It is important to note that just as technicians can lose their individuality by modeling their practices on others, laboratories may lose their distinctiveness by copying the business practices of other laboratories. Without distinctiveness, your products and services are little more than a mere commodity.

Cultivating the Right Personal Image

An individual’s personal image includes elements such as physical appearance, personal grooming, wardrobe choices, and how that person carries him/herself overall. In a dental laboratory business, other factors also contribute to personal image. A laboratory has a paper wardrobe—everything from business cards to thank you cards and newsletters have an impact on personal image. A company website creates an Internet presence, which also influences how other people see you. Product packaging, updated laboratory equipment, general laboratory appearance, and technician uniforms also all have an impact on personal image. Make sure that every element that bears your laboratory’s name is consistent with its personal image.

Establishing Uniqueness

What are the attributes that separate your laboratory from all others, especially the ones that provide similar services in the same exact market area? Defining your laboratory’s uniqueness involves addressing questions such as:

• What can your laboratory do better than any other laboratory?

• What is distinct about your laboratory services and your brand?

• What value do you deliver to your clients?

• How is that value better than what other laboratories offer?

• What are the benefits clients receive from buying from your brand?

Branding can help the laboratory owner set his or her business apart from the competition and clarify their mission to potential clients. It is an important step for any laboratory looking to carve out a place in the dental laboratory industry.

Nick Azar is a consultant, business strategist, executive coach, and founder of Azar & Associates in Santa Clarita, CA.

Branding Myths

The following describes 3 myths that may discourage laboratory owners from branding their business. Read on to discover why these myths are untrue.

Myth No. 1

Branding Is A Hot New Trend.

Branding is hardly new. The first recorded use of branding dates back to lamp makers in ancient Greece and craft guilds of the 14th century. These artisans all added distinctive marks to their products that not only promised a high level of quality, but also set them apart from their competitors. Artisans—whether from the 14th century or today—can capitalize on delivering quality, which is extremely valuable. Developing and promoting their individual brands helped those artisans succeed and the same applies to you.

Myth No. 2

Branding Only Applies To Large Multinational Corporations

Certainly, branding helps distinguish Coca Cola® and Nike® from other cola drinks and sports shoes products, and their brand name reassures the customer that they receiving a product with a certain level of quality. However, one must also consider branding on a smaller scale. Consider the local convenience store owner who not only knows your name, but also remembers your favorite snack. Apply the same principle to a small, family-owned dental manufacturer that produces superb equipment, tools, and accessories. Do their names not promise quality? As a dental laboratory owner, you are just as distinctive in your laboratory prosthesis as a multinational company. Your personal brand is what distinguishes you from other dental laboratories with comparable product line.

Myth No. 3

It Is A Very Specialized And Technical Business Topic

Branding is intended to achieve 2 basic results:

It proclaims your uniqueness

It promises client satisfaction

What is so specialized and technical about that? The principles of branding help drive your marketing plan. Not only can you successfully apply the principles of branding, you should.