Simple. True. Devastating
Simple. True. Devastating
The first rule in advertising is get noticed.

By Luc Wade, Management Consultant at Hive Business

I’m getting fed up with telling people to differentiate their dental practices. They’re all more or less the same, and they’re aiming, more or less, for the same people. But, if that’s the case, to feed the machine with new patients you still need to be distinctive.

If that sounds like a contradiction, think about Nike, Reebok and Adidas. They’re all basically the same product. Their ‘crepes’, as I believe the kids call them, offer little substantive variation, yet these three brands do have distinctive styles that encourage customers to feel they’re making a meaningful choice.

It’s a bit different with fast food restaurants, but not that different. McDonald’s, KFC and Domino’s serve different types of fast food, but someone who’s in the market for one is interested in the others because they are all cheap, convenient (especially when you’re on the road) and a bit filthy. Even though fast food brands specialise in different styles of food, they’re catering to the same market with different products that, in the final analysis, also lack substantive variation.

Nike’s swoosh is the most recognised logo in the world alongside Apple’s apple. In dental practices you can make brands distinctive too, but a lot of practices go with a tooth. It’s the easy way out, and it’s bland. It reminds me of whenever I see a handwritten sign in a car saying “For Sale £XYZ” (I’ve never seen a sign in a car window suggesting anything other than a sale price). Why not excise the dross and be more distinctive with your branding, then let it revitalise your messaging and tone of voice?

The first rule in advertising is get noticed. If you have a clear and unique brand style and you get the benefit of your product or service across clearly your ad will get noticed and will work across any medium. Yet dentists tend to be generic in their marketing. They use templates that all look the same. Even though dental practices are more or less the same this doesn’t need to be the case.

You can stand out. It’s about more than having a USP that says your practice has been established since 1955 and your team has trained abroad. That’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not enough to really stand out is it?

It’s funny, when we suggest killer headlines on advertisements, dentists usually say: “I don’t know what the GDC would say about that.” Of course, you shouldn’t bring the profession into disrepute — you can’t slag off competitors — but you can be clever with it. A wry, pithy line cuts through the morass of anodyne messaging that abounds in dentistry.

Recall is everything for your consumer. If you make a deep enough impression you get noticed. The best headline we came up with at the last place I worked was: “Dentists pay too much tax”. Simple. True. Devastating to read for dentists.

Usually when someone sees your ad they’re not motivated to act on it at the time because they’re not searching for your service. So the ad is useless unless it punches through to their emotional, unconscious world. We can help you create a brand that does that. Get in touch on 01872 300232 or email

Luc Wade
By Luc Wade Management Consultant
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