Roadside Live |17 min read

5 Branding Secrets You Didn’t Learn in Dental School [VIDEO]

✨ NEW Roadside Live ALERT! ✨

Before we dive into this new Roadside Live video transcript below, I’ll tell you that this one is bittersweet for our team.

Charlie Wells, who has been our Creative Director for nearly ten years, recently moved on to a new opportunity. While we are sad to no longer have her on our team, we’re thrilled for her and wish her all the best.

We recorded this video shortly before she left and in it, she shares FIVE branding secrets you didn’t learn in dental school – all of which will help you build a bulletproof brand that will stand out above your competitors! 💪

You’ll discover how to evaluate your overall existing brand (and why you should), what the heck a vector is and the difference between all those different file types, a resource where you can download free fonts (free!), and more!

This video is a must-watch for any dental professional looking to amplify their brand and increase their visibility online.

What are your top branding questions? Drop them in the comments below! 👇


Whitney: Hey, everybody. Welcome to Roadside Live!

I am so thrilled to be joined by one of my favorite people today, Charlie Wells.

Charlie is our Creative Director. She has more than 15 years of experience as a designer, and she holds a fine art degree. She has been here at Roadside since 2012. For any of you that have interacted with any of our marketing materials, what you see on social media, on our website, our eBooks, if you’ve ever attended any of our webinars – Charlie is the creative genius behind all of those beautiful visuals that are a part of our brand. So Charlie, welcome!

Charlie: Thank you so much for having me. We’ve been meaning to do this for so long, so I’m glad it’s finally time.

Whitney: I agree. Design holds such a special place in my heart.

We are so passionate here at roadside about representing our dentists and our practices in the best possible way. Really helping them build up their brands.

So today’s topic is a really, really good one: Five branding secrets they didn’t teach you in dental school.

So, Charlie, I would love to dive right in and find out from you:

What is branding secret number one?

Branding secret #1: Evaluate your overall brand messaging

Charlie: Yes. Okay. When I was trying to compile five things I want to share with you today, it was hard to narrow it down to five.

So, I’m going to move it through quickly, and hopefully, if you have any questions, you can reach out, and we are always happy to answer.

So branding secret. It’s just to evaluate your overall brand messaging.

And I know that sounds really obvious and easy, but the truth is with running a practice every day, you’re so busy just getting those things done that to actually slow down and look around and think.

You know, how can I make this entire experience better?

It may be something that’s a little bit radical because we don’t usually schedule a time to do stuff like that.

So I want to talk quickly about what a brand is altogether.

I think a lot of people think of your brand as a logo or your signage, and it is those things.

But truly, branding is the overall experience that someone has with your practice, from visiting your website to calling you to wait in the reception area, sitting in the chair, checking up all those things, and coming together to make your brand.

And it’s so funny because I talk to dentists and office managers and all sorts of people in the dental team all the time, and over and over, what happens is when we talk about the brands they admire, they love Nordstrom.

They always say, “I want us to come across as Nordstrom.”

And you know, let’s look at Nordstrom; their logo isn’t particularly special. You can see it right here.

And that’s because it’s not about the logo necessarily.

It’s about the experience with the brand. And so people come to Nordstrom, and they expect amazing customer service.

They expect a certain type of feeling when they’re shopping and checking out and just getting the best of the best.

I think that’s what dental offices do when they say they want to be like Nordstrom. That’s truly what they need, and evaluating, looking around, and saying, “How can I make, maybe this reception waiting room area more current?” Or, looking at your website and thinking, “Is the messaging on this website concurrent with the feeling that we give when we’re actually in the office?”

Just regularly looking around at your competitors and slowing down to think about those things is my branding tip number one.

Whitney: I love that. And I think you keyed in, on such an important point in talking about the overall experience, and when doctors say that they want to be like Nordstrom.

I mean, what a great example, because we all know of Nordstrom as being outstanding customer service.

So that was such a great example, Charlie, thank you for that.

Often when you’re starting on a project or when we’re gathering assets from a doctor, I know that one of the top things that you want is a vector or when you’re doing a branding project, one of the first things you’re recommending is making sure that they have a vector file.

So let’s talk about branding secret number two.

What are vectors and why do you love them so much?

Branding secret #2: File variations

Charlie: Yes, yes. This is so important because. You know, so many designers provide logos and maybe they’ll give you a JPEG or a painting or whatever, but really, and truly, you want to ask for a vector.

And that is because they are math-based and that means it can be blown up to the size of a bus or a billboard, and it can print so clean and crisply on something small, like lip gloss or a pen. And so not only do we have the legibility factor, but we have the size factor.

Vectors are slim graphics. And so when you use those on your website, they are small and they will load quickly and they will give your visitors a better user experience.

So nothing bugs me more and I’m sure it’s the same with you, Whitney, when you go to a site and you see a pixelated logo and ugh, and I just wish people knew that if they had used a vector, an SVG, it would not be pixelated.

It would be crisp, It would be clean at any size and that’s why we always when we do a logo package, give those vectors.

I just wanted to show an example of a logo package here, where you can see, we give a horizontal, a vertical, on a dark background on a light background, one color printing.

All these variations come together so that you’re ready to use your logo in every single situation. And so even on the bottom here, you can see that we listed even the fonts that you’re using.

And talking about scalability and size and all those sorts of things that I think that rolls really well into talking about fonts, is tip number three.

Did you have any, feedback on, or questions about vectors now, because I know, I kind of went over that pretty quickly, Whitney?

Whitney: Well, you know, I really appreciate what you mentioned about size and scale and that not only can it be slimmed down into a really small file that’ll load, very clean and quick on your website.

We also often design other marketing materials for our practices for print. And so that may include a letterhead or a magazine ad, even a billboard.

So let me ask you this. Could a vector be sized big enough for a billboard?

Charlie: Yes. Yes. It’s infinite because it’s math-based. It could be bigger than a house.

It could be like this because it’s based on math and not pixels. So let’s talk quickly about file types actually.

Cause I think that is a valuable branding tip as well, and to think about the size on the website.

So if you’re putting a photograph that is pixel-based, and so that would be a JPEG, or if you have the need for transparency or text in it, a PNG would be a good choice.

But if it’s flat colors or basically anything that’s not photographic on a vector is going to be your best.

Whitney: So that would include like your logo or maybe any icons or symbols that are used.

Charlie: Absolutely. Yep, totally.

Whitney: Okay. That’s a great tip. I’m glad that you threw those file types in there because I think a lot of people are confused when we say, “Hey, these are the file types we need.”

They may not know what that means.

We’re the experts and we’re happy to help you out. So if you’re just not sure you can always send us what you have and we can let you know if it works or not.

Charlie: Yeah. That’s why I say send me everything and I’ll dig through it.

And just to recap: A vector file will be a [.ai], [.eps], and in some cases, a [.pdf].

So that is what you’re looking for when you’re trying to find your backup.

Whitney: Oh, perfect. Thank you for clarifying that. Cause I think that’s something people need to recognize too. So you mentioned fonts and I think that leads to branding secret number three?

Branding secret #3: Consistency is key (plus… free fonts!)

Charlie: Yes. Yes. Yes, I am. As you know, obviously as a designer, I am in love with fonts and I want to collect them all and hoard them all and use them all.

And the truth is that Google offers them for free.

And if you just go to Google fonts online, you will find a huge collection of some of the best fonts in the world, and they are free to use on your website and free to download and use in your office.

I don’t think people really know that that tool is there for them.

Branding tip number three is that to have a nice tight, consistent brand, you want to use the same fonts online in your marketing materials, even on signage around the office. When we make that package for you, we tell you what fonts they are so that you can go download them for free and use them in your office.

I think that’s a great resource to know that is available to you.

Whitney: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more.

Charlie: There’s not really much more to say about that. It’s just, it’s an awesome tool. Please check it out. In fact, I could show you right now.

Let me just take over the screen for a second. And so if we type in Google fonts, you can see that it loads right up, and let’s see some of the fonts you can choose different weights, different levels of fanciness.

If you want serif, sans serif, all these choices, and then you just click on it and up in that upper right corner, you’ll see “download family” and you just click that, and it goes right to your desktop. You can just click on it and it installs and it’s ready for you to use.

And so super easy. Again, if you have any questions, please reach out.

We are always happy to help.

Whitney: You know, what I love about that tip is that a lot of practices may create their own fun marketing materials to use within the practice.

Like maybe they’ll print out a flyer for a contest that they’re running that month, and these fonts are free.

They can download it right from Google and then they can use those same consistent elements, even in flyers that they might do themselves for inside the office.

I think that’s an awesome tip.

Okay. So we’ve talked a couple of times about page speed and how long it takes to load your website. And I know that there are a lot of things that we can do to help make sure that the website loads as quickly as possible.

So I think your next tip has something to do with that.

What’s branding secret number four?

Branding secret #4: Speed, usability, user experience

Charlie: So speed, usability, and user experience. All those things come together where I want to talk about mobile websites.

So when I was preparing for this meeting, I googled some quick stats and I wasn’t really surprised to learn that about half of the internet traffic comes from mobile devices.

And so that is huge, right? Like that is a lot of opportunities there for your dental office to connect with patients while they’re on the go.

This is my tip, and that is to physically take out your phone and visit your website on your phone.

Because I think that a lot of times, you know, when you’re in the office, you’re just using your desktop and you may not know the holes that you have in your mobile site.

And so come to it with fresh eyes, like a patient. Okay. Am I able to book an appointment easily? Can I find the contact info easily or, you know, whatever the page’s goals are. So every page should have a goal.

So even if it’s just a service page where you’re educating your patients about veneers or Invisalign or whatever it may be, the goal is legibility in that instance.

So you want to make sure that your fonts are easy to read, that any calls to action you have are right there and easy to click on a mobile phone, the same goes maybe it’s a download page and your goal on that page is to collect information and get people to download this offer you have.

Make sure it’s right there. It’s clear.

The buttons are easy to click on mobile and then, and so on.

So each page has a goal and makes sure that you can meet that goal with your mobile phone. And if not, that means that some changes need to be made because you’re going to lose out on 50% of the people visiting your site.

If you don’t have it ready to go on mobile.

Whitney: Yeah, that’s such a key point.

And I think another point that goes along with that too, is often our marketing efforts are going to be from emails and many practices are now implementing text messaging into their marketing efforts too.

And so a lot of emails are opened on mobile devices and so whatever action you’re having them take, whether it’s from email or from texting, wherever they’re going, you want to make sure that it’s crisp, clean easy user experience across the board.

Charlie: Yes. Actually, I will show a few examples if I can get some slides, and obviously, we’ve been making dental websites for over 20 years.

We have tons of examples, but particularly I want to focus on mobile sites.

So we can just look here and just see a couple of examples of mobile sites that we have that making that goal known it downloads this, or we can see here, you know, you want to contact the office, here’s a form ready to use, or on this example, maybe you want to see the impact that you’re having on the community and share that there’s a video right here that you can play.

So all these examples, just ideas for you to put in the back of your mind of how you can make your goals more.

Whitney: I love that.Thank you for showing those visual examples. Cause I think it helps us to be able to see that.

So we’ve burned through branding secrets numbers one, two, three, and four pretty quickly.

What is branding secret number five?

Branding secret #5: Be authentic

Charlie: So this one is about authenticity.

I think we talk about over and over and all the education that we put out at roadside about marketing with love and being authentic.

And really what that boils down to is, is giving your patients that kind of behind the scenes, look at who you are and what they can expect.

That for me comes across in real photography. So over and over, when we build websites, we encourage our clients to show real photos.

And you can tell, we’ve had stock photography long enough that anyone watching this I’m sure can tell a stock photo when they see it.

You know, it’s just a little too perfect. It’s just, it’s too staged. It’s not real.

And so what happens is, when you’re showing that photo on your website, you’re missing out on the opportunity to tell a story and connect emotionally with your patients.

I also love the idea of when you show people what to expect like, here’s what the office is, here’s what the team looks like. All those sorts of things.

It really allays the fears that a lot of people have when it comes to their dental anxieties. I just, I think win-win, if you have the means to get a photoshoot, by all means, is one of the best things that you can do for your website and your brand.

Whitney: Yeah. I want to put in a plug for videography too.

When you’re investing in a new website, that’s a great time to consider hiring a videographer also because it’s just one more way to really convey the authenticity, show the personality of the practice.

And I think you keyed in on a really important point, Charlie, and that it goes such a long way to helping to ease fear and break down any barriers that patients might have to coming to the practice.

So I want to put you on the spot here with a question that we didn’t actually discuss.

Charlie: So yeah, I’m ready.

Whitney: You’re so amazing when you get on the phone with doctors, maybe you’ve done a new logo for them, and you’ve gone through that process.

There’s so many fun things that they can then do with their new logo to really infuse their brand across all of their different marketing efforts.

So what are some of the different things that you might suggest to a practice after they’ve gone through a branding project with you?

Charlie: Yes. Good question for sure.

So I think the very best thing after a logo is to create a print package and that’s something we offer at Roadside, where we work collaboratively, ask for information, business cards, letterhead, envelope, appointment cards.

That is something that you can put out in the real world, it’s a tangible thing and you know, everyone has business cards, right?

Like, even though we are all very online these days. I still think that business cards go a long, long way, and having those professionally designed, ready to share, or even just the appointment cards that remind people to come back.

I mean, those are great examples of where you can use your logo to further your branding.

And then we also offer a lot of actually, if we could show this on the screen, I love this. Like, we’ve done things for clients where we’ve done water bottles or bags or t-shirts or just using your logo in other ways to get that brand out there, I think it is amazing. I mean it’s real-life stuff.

So that excites me just as much as online digital marketing excites me.

Whitney: Yeah, who doesn’t love a goodie bag full of fun swag, right?

Charlie: Yeah, for sure.

Whitney: Well, I loved this conversation, Charlie.

We need to not wait so long before we do this again, this has been a blast.

And for all of you watching, we really are so grateful for Charlie’s hard work, all of the beautiful visuals that you see, we’re often complimented on our brand and on the materials that we put out there our ebooks, and our education. And so much of that involves Charlie directly.

So what she’s done for Roadside, she can also do for your dental practice and really help creating that beautiful striking professional brand so that your practice looks amazing in everything that you do.

So Charlie, just want to say thank you again.

This has been a blast. Looking forward to talking about design another time, but for now, we’ll say goodbye to everybody. Have a great rest of your day.

Charlie: Thanks, bye!


Roadside Live: Breaking down marketing in under 20 minutes

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