Remember the first time you looked at an oral appliance, and a voice in your head exclaimed, “Wow, Sexy! I can sell a million of those!!” – It would be so much easier to sell oral appliances if they carried the cachet of the latest model Ferrari, but it simply isn’t so. There are no Mandibular Advancement Device Fan Clubs, and no such thing as #waycool searches that return a picture of a Tongue Stabilizing Device.
However, for anyone who wears one, a MAD can mean the difference between the big bed and exile, or an invitation to the fishing weekend or not. Helping patients reclaim healthy sleep gets to the real cachet of an oral appliance, but it’s your brand that does the heavy lifting in representing you to your referral network and to potential patients.
As a consultant, I often pose brand questions, “How much time have you spent developing your brand? If it’s not about the visual appeal of the appliance, what picture are you painting for potential patients?” I’ve seen successful campaigns waged around becoming the friendly, neighborhood doc who is relied upon to listen to patient stories. Other clients have educated on the need for sleep. Representing the image of ageless, healthy, athletic competitors crediting a good night’s sleep for their wins has been the route for others.
A study involving 300,000 participants recently came to some striking conclusions about companies that invest the time and effort to build brands and connect with customers. It was determined that brands that connected enjoyed increased brand awareness, sales, and overall higher returns than competitors and other companies. The study revealed the brands were judged on 3 criteria: 1.) value, 2.) what the brand did for individual customers and 3.) what the brand did for society. Study participants were clear on the message that “meaningful brands” could realize a 46% higher “share of wallet.” That is, they would spend more money on a brand if it is meaningful to them. Other relevant findings indicated that:
- Company size was not a limiting factor – smaller companies in some instances bested larger ones
- Most companies fell short by failing to establish a direct connection with the consumer
- Consumers only trust 22% of US brands
- 4% of brands could disappear and people wouldn’t care.
When you take these study results into consideration, there are substantial benefits for the dental sleep medicine practice who develops a meaningful brand.
- In a time when insurance issues often cloud care options, people are willing to spend on brands that speak to them personally.
- When appliance choices are involved, if your brand has integrity, and the appliances have value, patients are more likely to opt for what will benefit them vs. what they can cost justify
- Practices that speak to the health and well-being of the local population in addition to the other criteria for “meaningful brands” improve their potential for patronage – geometrically.
So, if fans are already knocking your door down asking for the latest in mandibular advancement devices you’re most likely doing something right. If they’re not, while OAT may not yet have the high profile of a dream car, it can be the key to accessing a dream state for those who find it elusive. In this country that translates to 22 million potential patients – 80% of whom are undiagnosed, just waiting for you to develop your meaningful brand. #MADFanClub . . . it could happen.