The Italian touch
Shaz Memon reveals how ‘talking Italian’ can ensure la dolce vita for your business brand
It’s hard to beat the Italian people when it comes to style. A nation of iconic brands, nothing cuts it quite like Italy – from its sleek cars and sharp suits to its seductive scents and chic catwalk fashion, branding is everything.
The Italian way of life is synonymous with effortless glamour, thanks largely to a long history of fine craftsmanship and an inherent desire by its people to show it off and wear it well.
Indeed, there is much to be learnt from the marketing of the ‘Made in Italy’ label that continues to maintain a reputation for quality and prestige, a signature of fine living. The country’s designer labels have ensured their longevity by remaining true to their core standards, without compromise.
Meticulous and focused on their vision, the culture of the Italian fashion houses is one that finds its roots in honesty – an ethos all business should emulate.
Whilst the products might come at a price, sustained quality is the very essence of their success. When it was revealed that the Louis Vuitton luxury label broke the Italian promise by seeking cheap labour elsewhere – all but the soles of the luxury brand’s footwear are made in Transylvania before being ‘finished’ in Italy and France – the fashion house came, quite rightly, under fire, risking its reputation.
In a competitive and consumer-driven market, some dentists too have struggled to keep their heads above water and, on occasion, sought cheaper options in dental products, equipment and even outsourcing lab work abroad.
Not so long ago the industry was facing a crisis in the proliferation of fake and dangerous equipment.
In a healthcare arena already rife with risk and litigation opportunities, Dental Protection offered an easy solution to those unsure – use the three Ps to assess if it was the genuine article: price, packaging and place:
- If the price looks too good to be true, the product is probably fake
- If the product is being sold without its packaging, or the packaging appears to be of low quality, or includes printing errors, it is probably counterfeit
- If the product is in-store, ask yourself if you would normally expect to find the product sold in this type of environment. If online, be wary that counterfeiters often steal pictures and formatting from the real websites to make their websites look legit.
Italy also gave us the 80-20 Pareto principle, the basis of which provides an excellent rule when it comes to marketing any given business. In essence, 80% of outcomes or revenues can be attributed to 20% of the causes or customers.
Translated to dental marketing, this means that 80% of your activity should add value to your audience’s experience, with just 20% dedicated to promotional material.
Use email to engage, not promote, and aim to build long-term and meaningful relationships in order to retain customers. It’s a well-known fact that it is more effective (and profitable) to sell to existing customers than it is to potential new ones, so focus on your existing customers, gain their loyalty and ensure they buy more from you.
So, do think like an Italian, and factor quality and longevity into your dental marketing game plan.
It is far easier to ruin a reputation than to rebuild one, so steer clear of cheap promotional messages, special offers and using websites such as Groupon, too – such a move can tarnish a reputation for those who signed up to your practice expecting quality.
Whilst it is important to acknowledge that dental marketing trends do change, authenticity and accountability should always lie at the heart of your brand. Cheap short-term promotional ploys rarely reap benefits or curry favour with loyal patients, so be mindful of what is and isn’t beneficial to you – and them – in the long term.
Most people like to get value for money, but not to the detriment of quality. Worth noting here are the expectations of you as a clinician and you risk being struck off should you go cheap with your promotional strategy as well as the products you use in the surgery.
The GDC’s Standards for the Dental Team advises that: ‘You must make sure that any advertising, promotional material or other information that you produce is accurate and not misleading, and complies with the GDC’s guidance on ethical advertising.’
Over promising and under delivering will compromise your integrity and reputation, too. A common ground for complaints is often found in the communication between dentist and patient – particularly risky when the dentist tries to meet the high expectations of any given patient.
People generally like consistency so any fluctuating of service or care only serves to undermine a business’s hard-earned reputation so do ensure the real-life experience lives up to your marketing messages.
Quality is king
It may sound obvious but give careful consideration to the wording on your website as well as in any social media posts. A smile makeover is not going to secure a partner or a promotion – and nobody wishes to have hopes raised only to see them dashed. How does what you say online portray your practice? Are you honest, open and realistic in your wording? Could your messages be misinterpreted and mislead?
Don’t compare your business favourably to others either. Remember, dental marketing is not about persuading your audience your business is the best, rather it’s about being memorable – and sustainability lies in your authentic approach to delivering on these messages. Nurture customer trust and build on it.
The essence of Italy’s reputation for fine brands lies in the honest passion its people have for excellent craftsmanship and delivering what is expected every time. Quality is king, and even during a downturn in its economy, its globally famous brands remain (on the whole) steadfastly true to their ethos.
The demand for quality rarely disappears in stormy economies. So, whatever the ‘financial’ weather, dental practices would be wise to follow suit – Italian cut or otherwise – and stay true to their ethos and strong brand reputation in order to enjoy a long and profitable success.
Shaz Memon is the creative director of Digimax and Digimax Dental. Digimax Dental uses non-dental industries to infuse creative expertise into dental marketing. Shaz specialises in offering bespoke, creative, high-end design solutions that encompass branding, website design, top Google rankings, e-marketing and more – just for dentists. Learn more at digimax.dental
This article was originally published in the April 2018 issue of Aesthetic Dentistry Today. Read more articles like this in Aesthetic Dentistry Today and gain three hours’ verifiable CPD with every issue. Click here to subscribe or call 01923 851 777. Get in touch via Twitter @AesDenToday or facebook.com/AesDenToday.