“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
It’s time to brand your orthodontics practice. Where do you start? From discovering your unique reputation and identity to selecting the icons, fonts, and colors for your logo, we created this guide to walk you step-by-step through a proper branding process. Enjoy!
What Is a Brand?
Your brand is your visual identity. It communicates the essence of who you are and what you do in the form of a logo, colors, and fonts. When your patients look at these aspects of your brand, they should emotionally connect with what they know about you. A brand should run parallel to an orthodontics practice’s reputation. Done right, it informs that reputation. Done wrong, it detracts. Proper branding bears the following responsibilities:
- If you have a good reputation, your job is to capture it.
- If you don’t know what your reputation is, your job is to discover it.
- If you have a bad reputation, your job is to pivot it.
How do you do all of this using only the tools of form, font, and color?
We’re glad you asked!
The Discovery Process
At Beacon, we guide all of our orthodontics clients through a series of discovery questions to either capture, discover, or pivot their brand. Begin the branding process by gathering all of the key people into one room, sitting down, and giving due-diligence to self-discovery. You may be amazed by what comes together!
You need serious buy-in from your team if you are going to change your reputation. Do not attempt to pivot your brand until everything is in place. Rebranding is not for the faint of heart!
Here are just a few of the questions that we ask our clients:
- Describe your practice in two sentences or less. What is your “elevator pitch?”
- A brand is a promise. What is the promise of your brand?
- What is the current perception of your practice? What is the desired perception?
- How do you want to position yourself in the marketplace? Are you the “value” company? The expensive boutique? The innovator? The “tried and true?” The academics? The quick-fix? The thought leaders?
- What is your big-picture mission?
A big portion of our brand discovery meeting focuses on competition, differentiators, and target patients too! Don’t forget to talk about these aspects of your practice and market with your team.
Now that you have all of the data about your brand gathered, it is time to give your orthodontics practice a name and a tagline! Names can come as easy as pie or prove to be a real challenge depending on the day and the flow of ideas. Here are a few ways to get the creative juices flowing:
- Take a look at what your competitors and orthodontics practices out-of-state are naming themselves. Don’t copy but use these names as a starting place for your own, unique thoughts.
- Consider using the name(s) of your primary orthodontist(s), especially if they are family names that have a good reputation in your community.
- Decide if you want to use your location (city, region, state) in your name.
- Think about any nouns or adjectives that struck a chord with who you are when you had your discovery meeting.
It might sound funny, but one of the best ways to find words that resonate with your brand is to use a thesaurus! Perform searches on some of the top words that came out in your discovery meeting and see where they take you!
A tagline is an opportunity to communicate more about who you are than you get with a name and a logo alone. If during the naming process your team had trouble homing-in on just one idea, that’s great! Find a way to incorporate one of your “secondary” concepts in a tagline.
Not every brand needs a tagline, but it can be helpful to go through the process of creating a tagline to discover what the core of your brand’s messaging is going to be. For example, at Beacon we recently redesigned our website using the tagline, “Award-Winning Marketing, Data Driven Results.” This core message is a starting place for everything else we say or show about who we are on the new site, and it carries over into all of our marketing channels, whether that be Facebook or Google advertising, blogging, video marketing, etc.
Picking Icons, Colors, and Fonts
Selecting the icons, colors, and fonts that represent the reputation you have discovered may sound like an insurmountable task to some. “How do spoken words and visual concepts connect?” You may ask. The psychology surrounding colors and forms and how they are mentally and emotionally perceived by us is an interesting topic, but a little too deep for us to get into in this article. Suffice it to say that a lot can be communicated by what you decide to present visually with your brand, making the choice of a practice’s icons, colors, and fonts one of the most important parts of the branding process. Fortunately, there are a lot of easy-to-grasp tools available to help us overcome this challenge.
The icon part of your logo is the form that visually represents something about who you are. It could be related to your location, your name, your values, or even something you want your patients to feel when they participate in your services. For example, when we designed a logo for Juneau Youth Services, we chose mountains and an eagle to visually tie-in the facts that their location is Juneau and that JYS youth and families feel freedom when they get the treatment they need.
An icon is an extremely valuable part of a logo because of its versatility. Icons can become art for promotional products, watermarks on branded documents, and even a standalone logo for practices that have achieved brand recognition.
To come up with ideas for your practice’s icon, reflect back on your discovery meeting. Take a look at your name and the tagline you have developed and see if anything comes to mind. We also recommend browsing the iconography of other orthodontics practices on Pinterest, which is a great tool for creating boards of ideas. To search for specific icons that you are considering, we recommend using The Noun Project, which contains over a million curated icons created by artists globally.
The Color Wheel
The colors you choose will elicit emotions in your patients more than any other part of your brand. Make sure you pick colors that communicate what you want! We recently wrote an article on the emotions associated with different colors on the color wheel. Here are just a few of the color-emotion associations we discussed:
- Red – Depending on what shade it comes in, red can communicate temptation, warning to stop and pay attention, danger, celebration, love, or femininity.
- Orange – Often associated with food, oranges are appetite stimulating. They can communicate softer versions of red emotions, including light and life.
- Yellow – Yellow means light and warmth and catches attention too. It can reveal joy, optimism, comfort, and in its gold form, wealth, luxury, and rank.
- Brown – Earth and wholesomeness are two concepts we associate with brown. Brown is a popular color in outdoorsy, organic, and all-natural circles.
- Blue – Blue is often used in the health and wellness industry, reminding us of tranquility, mystery, depth, and strength.
- Green – The color green comes in the most diverse forms of any other color in the world, so it has a wide range of associations from new beginnings to relaxation.
- Purple – Purple can act either like a red or a blue! On the red side of the spectrum, it is energetic and intense. On the blue side, it is calmer and loftier.
A great tool for selecting the color palette of your brand is Adobe’s online color wheel. Using the color wheel, you can experiment with various colors and the tool will adjust all the colors in the palette so that they go well with the colors you have chosen. Try it out with your team and see what you think!
Typography is often an afterthought for practices working on their brand. This is unfortunate because, finding the perfect font to fit with your icon, colors, and feel is the finishing touch on a strong logo! Using just “any old font” can make a logo feel disjointed, especially if the font does not fit with the feel and messaging that you are going for.
Visit Google Fonts to take a look at what is available for free online! This tool is especially neat because it allows you to type the text that you want to see in each font, right in your browser.
Matching font and form is often a matter of the gut. As you are scrolling through fonts, think about what each font is making you feel. Now think about why you feel that way.
Maybe you think of one font as “editorial” because you have seen it on a popular news site. Maybe another is “creepy” to you because you have seen it on the cover of a horror film. Your patients probably feel the same way about these fonts, as certain industries gravitate toward certain font feels.
Pick a handful of fonts that elicit the right feels for you, and present them to your team. Depending on what they affirm or deny about your font/emotion choices, you have a font for your logo!
Once icon, font, and colors have come together, you have done it! You have branded your orthodontics practice. The next step is to protect the beautiful brand you have created!
Brand management can be as complex as a corporate policy or a simple as a style guide that tells your team what your icon, font, and colors are and the versions of the logo they have available to them to use. We produce a style guide for each of the clients that we work with. This step is important and not something to skip if you want your brand to work for you.
We hope this guide helps you on your journey to rebranding your practice! If you have any questions about any one of these steps, please feel free to email our Creative Director Adrienne Wilkerson. Adrienne has been branding practices and clinics in the health and wellness industry for over 20 years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in hiring Beacon to work with you through the branding process, please reach out to our VP of Marketing Jennifer Christensen. You can schedule a free consultation with Jenn directly!