A Tale of Two Brands

Tech-savvy dental professionals today have plenty of products at their disposal, most of which will deliver great results. So, what makes a practice choose one product solution over another – and then stick with it? In a word: the brand. Creating a brand that customers identify with and trust can be a tricky business, however. Efficiency in Group Practice asked a couple of experts what branding means to their company, and how they build their customers’ trust.

A better experience
Villa Radiology Systems builds its brand by “always striving to give our clients a better experience,” according to company COO Paul Blocchi. That means maintaining a close relationship with dental clients, he notes. “Whether a product is sold through a distributor partner or directly, it’s very important that our clients contact us directly with any questions or concerns,” he explains. That said, Villa Radiology Systems doesn’t hesitate to involve its distributor partners when it’s in the best interest of their clients, he adds. “Our branding campaigns combine timeless values with leading-edge technology to consistently give both our clients and partners the best possible training and support experience throughout the product lifecycle.”

Villa Radiology System’s mission to deliver a value-added client experience has remained intact through the years. At the same time, the company has refined its approach to stay current in a changing industry. Particularly as the price of large equipment has dropped in recent years, it has become increasingly important for manufacturers to give clinicians the value they expect, and to do so more efficiently, notes Blocchi. “At Villa Radiology Systems, we’ve addressed this through mass commoditization,” he says. “For example, some dental imaging equipment is selling at a market price of 67 percent lower than just eight years ago,” he says. “We must provide a better client experience throughout the entire product lifecycle, and work very cost effectively to build our brand position in the Americas.” Villa Radiology has streamlined its operations in recent years, creating an open wall policy that enables it to share “the right knowledge at the right time with the right partners,” he adds.

This trend will continue in years to come, says Blocchi. “In spite of having fewer resources, dental manufacturers will have to provide a better experience to both the dental professionals and distribution partners in order to effectively build or maintain their brand position in the marketplace.”

A strong identity
Air Techniques believes it’s important to provide customers with a strong product identity – a strategy that’s largely tied to the company’s mission to educate and build trust among the public. “Branding encompasses every identifier we create, from our company logo to literature, packaging, signage, ads, trade show displays and more,” says Laura Walsh, marketing manager. “As a dental manufacturer, it’s important that we provide dental professionals with the products they need to create the most efficient and effective patient workflow; At the same time, we must provide them with educational seminars and webinars to ensure they stay up-to-date on the ever-changing technology.”

That said, Air Techniques appreciates the varied needs and interests of its customer base from one area to the next. So, whereas water consumption is an issue on the West Coast, for other customers, the larger issue may be designing an office within a small space. “Some of our customers depend on our eco-friendly Mojave dry vacuum system, which is designed to reduce water usage,” Walsh points out. “For other customers, the solution may be our Mojave LT vacuum system, which includes a compact footprint for dental offices with limited space.”

Digital marketing
As dental professionals have come to depend on social media to help them stay current on new products and technologies, companies like Air Techniques have expanded their branding strategies to remain industry leaders. “Digital marketing has definitely impacted our branding strategy over the last five years,” says Walsh. “Dental professionals are using social media more than ever to share ideas and successes, as well as to learn about new products or to earn continuing education credits.” As some clinicians have come to rely more on social media sites, they have felt less need to attend traditional trade shows, she adds. In turn, Air Techniques has significantly increased its digital communications to dental professionals, including posts via social media, blogs, email campaigns and website links.

There’s no doubt that Air Techniques’ digital marketing efforts have impacted the company’s branding campaigns, according to Walsh. “Our digital marketing campaigns today outnumber our traditional print marketing campaigns, two to one,” she points out, noting that the growth of larger group practices and DSOs likely will further impact this trend in the next several years. “We have initiated new branding efforts that target large group practices via specialty trade shows and digital marketing campaigns,” she says.