Does your logo reflect the right you?

The British Dental Practice Managers’ Association (BDPMA) recently undertook a logo review in line with the organisation’s general strategic overhaul.

Its previous logo, although well established in the industry with a good degree of awareness, no longer fully represented or reflected the principles and vision of the association. But is a logo so important that a company should spend time and money updating it?

The answer is most definitely yes. There is frequent talk within the industry about the necessity for strategic marketing within a dental practice; identifying ideal target customers and attracting them to the treatments on offer.

However, marketing is still a fairly new concept to dentistry as a whole and, for individual practices, is still in its infancy. This is why practice logos, for the most part, maintain an often infantile and unrepresentative design.

Company logos combine appropriate image, typeface, colours and size in a visual statement that should differentiate your practice from its direct competitors and make it more attractive to the kind of client you want to encourage through the doors.

Your logo is not simply painting the face of your practice for the sake of it. It is making visible the aspirations of your business.

Many modern practices have adopted a logo, which is a positive step in terms of them realising it has a function to perform, but they often fall down when it comes to the design. I have seen many tooth with roots logos, but what message is that signalling? What does seeing the roots convey to the nervous or concerned? Patients require visualisation of positive messages, not reinforcement of their fears.

Your logo should have its own personality and once you have achieved the right design in terms of shape, texture and imagery, you should stay true to it: nurture it and keep it faithful to your corporate values.

Constantly changing its colour, stretching the lettering or making any ad-hoc changes will undermine its effectiveness. Nike’s logo has never changed, which is why it has become one of the most successful logos in history.

Your logo reflects the personality of your practice. Customers are peering through it into the very spirit of your organisation and sharing its virtues. Consider the number of practices whose logo features a sketch of their building; what message does that convey?

To me, as a potential customer, it could be anything from a practice too confused to know what they offer, apart from a safe haven from the rain, to a place I must enter for unseen and unknown things to happen to me. I cannot think of one positive image conjured up by a building logo.

The new logo adopted by the BDPMA is a derivative of the old one, with little change to the colour scheme, thereby maintaining the awareness so successfully built up over the years and ensuring it remains instantly recognisable.

But the basic design has been changed. It has been simplified to reflect a more modern, professional and singular approach to practice management and the association’s support of its members. It now distinctly aims to the future with arches that guide, point and protect those enclosed within it – just as the association seeks to do for its members.

The old strapline ‘Setting standards of excellence in practice management’ has also been removed. The new logo aims to encapsulate that principle within the context of its design and I think it achieves that very well.

The other consideration for dropping the strapline, and one very pertinent to dental practices, is that a strapline rarely reproduces well on merchandise. Being so small, it tends to become just a blur of letters and loses its purpose.

As the saying goes, less is more, and we think the logo reflects perfectly the vision of an association setting high standards and going somewhere – just as any great logo should.

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