Category Archives: values

Dental marketing blog posts categorised as Values

How to Develop Your Dental Practice Brand & Marketing

Here’s a great example of marketing & Branding. Windows 8 is just another operating system… just like many dentists think their practice is just another dental practice.

Many dentists I talk to, when asked ‘What’s unique about your practice’ say ‘Nothing, we’re just a regular dentist’.

Microsoft Windows 8 could say the same thing, but look at what they did here… great stuff!

They say:

“We replaced stairs with a giant slide in Bluewater Shopping Centre to make shopping as fast and fun as Windows 8.
Discover a new way of doing things with Windows 8.”


Clearly windows believe in being FAST and FUN. What do you believe in? What’s important to you about what you do?

Then think about how you can represent this in your marketing.

If you believe you are about QUALITY and CHOICE you could hold an event for the local people that allows local jewellery retailers to bring their QUALITY jewellery to the practice for a sale where people have lots of CHOICE about what to buy. *That’s just an example by the way!)

It’s about looking for alternate ways to represent your brand… especially when the brand could represent pain, discomfort and fear... which many dental practices can if we’re honest!

Marketing is not necessarily about talking about specific products and services, it’s about representing your practice in the hearts and minds of the local people so that they understand what you are about, and what makes YOU the dentist to choose.

So, your exercise is as follows:

  1. Write down what’s important to you in single words. (fun, challenge, quality, etc) – If you’ve ever worked with a coach you’ll recognise these as your values!
  2. Relist  them in order with the most important at the top
  3. Brainstorm with your staff what activity could represent values number 1 – write down the answers. Be free and bonkers with the answers… anything goes at this stage
  4. Repeat for the top 3 values
  5. Look for cross over ideas to see if there is commonality between the activities.
  6. Cross off any totally stupid ones!
  7. Develop the plausible ideas further.
  8. DO IT!

The key is to not worry about teeth… focus on what you represent as a company and let the ideas flow.

Oh, and one last thing.

Get off your arse and DO IT!

Values Brainstorm (part 2 of the values series)

This is the conclusion to my posts on values, if you haven’t read them yet please click here to view, this will then put THIS post in to context.

Brainstorms are known as divergent thinking  This fits within an idea generation phase of any solution finding excercice and is a means to an end rather than a specific end in itself. If you use this technique to discover the values of your organsation, you need to ask the question “so what?” and then ask how are you then going to use this information?

But for now I will concerntrate only on the technique of uncovering values.

Take some time out from work, turn the answer phone on for an hour, relax with your team and give this a go.

Stage 1:

Brainstorm the question “What are our primary concerns as a company?” e.g. being ethical, making a profit, doing the best work we can, a great service. 

Stage 2:

Look for the underlying values, so for each answer ask “Why does this matter?” or “What are the main values that lie behind this?” e.g.  Respect, trust, honesty 

Stage 3:

Rank your answers, and provide a short clarification of what you mean. 

Stage 4:

Examine these values and ask questions such as the following: 

“What things as a company should we therefore be doing, or NOT doing?” and “What deficiencies in the way we do things do these values highlight?”

By eliciting the values and then asking what things you should/not be doing this will rewrite the organisational values in a way that is better suited to your team….and you have taken the first step and made your values explicit. 

It also addresses ‘Boundary controls’ as per my previous post. Boundary controls are essentially the values, these underpin the orgnaisation’s actions in every way and guide the decisions.

Here’s an example based on my own company. 

Stage 1: “What are our primary concerns as a company?”

To provide the highest level of care we can and never compromise on quality or service

Stage 2: “Why does this matter?” or “What are the main values that lie behind this?

  • respect
  • no compromising 
  • ethical patient centred dentistry
Stage 3: Rank answers and clarify.

  1. Ethical patient centred dentistry – everything must fit perfectly to prevent disease and look like a natural tooth so the patient can be confident in their smile
  2. No compromising – Honouring another persons rights as a human being to get the best that is possible 
  3. Respect – treat people the same as we want to be treated
Stage 4: “What things as a company should we therefore be doing, or NOT doing?” 

We should NOT be: 
  1.  compromising on  materials
  2.  compromising on time
  3.  compromising on learning opportunities
  4.  compromising on recuiting the right person


  1. Scheduling cases to prevent rushing
  2. looking for new suppliers of higher quality materials
  3. actively looking for training courses

Once this has been done, decisions can be checked against the values. For example, I was recently asked if I would produce a crown for £28 per unit, (for anyone outside of dentistry reading this that is CHEAP) if I did this the customer could guarantee a large volume of work. BUT this goes against my values, I would have to rush, I would have to use cheaper materials and would have to compromise on my number 1 value which is ethical patient centred dentistry…this request was profit centred dentistry at the expense of the patient.

Values can also be used to guide market positioning and help decide which strategic direction the company should take. In economic crisis situations values can be used to help decide survival strategies…should you diverisfy? Well look at the values, if they are contravened then probably not!

Please remember that as Charles Handy says, ‘values are caught, not taught’ this means that you can say what you like…its what you do that counts! 

I hope you can see how values can be used as a control mechansim…control is good, we all need control and to know where the boundaries are…pity the bankers of the world don’t realise that!


Please forward this post to others, that’s the greatest compliment you could pay me and then download your free marketing and creativity pack from my website here 

This blog is part of my service offering dentists and dental technicians business consultancy advice on dental marketing and other dental business issues for everyday use in the dental surgery or dental laboratory


This is an additional blog post to my usual 2 weekly ones, I thought it fitted nicely with the topic of values I discussed in my last post and added weight to the ‘values are important’ argument.

I am half way through reading a great NLP book by Steve Bavister and Amanda Vickers, it addresses the concept of values…it’s not like me to quote verbatim from a book, however these were such great words.

The importance of values can not be overstated.  Just imagine what it would be like if nothing mattered to you. Why would you want to do anything? What would be the point? People who have a strong sense of what’s important to them usually have a real sense of purpose that acts like a propulsion system, which moves them forwards”

Now re-read the quote from the perspective of a company rather than an individual and substitute the ‘people’ for ‘companies’….that’s the importance of values!
In my next blog post I will describe a creative technique to elicit company values.
Please pass this email on to others and encourage them to subscribe as this is the greatest compliment you could pay me… so until next time…

Know where you are going

Please visit my website for further information.

What do you want to achieve?

How will you know when you get there?

What will it feel like?

‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’

‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to’ said the cat

‘Idon’t much care where …’ said Alice.

‘Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.

(Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

If we don’t have an idea of where we want to go how can we know if we have achieved anything?

A well formed outcome is essential to any business (and for personal success too) as it enables us to make decisions and take opportunities that will benefit us.

Wouldn’t it be good if you could actually achieve what you really wanted? By using a technique called ‘future pacing’ we are able to rehearse our future and bring it clearly to mind, by understanding exactly what it will be like it makes decisions easier to take, all we need to ask is

“Will this decision move me towards my goal?”

It is so vitally important that your business has a goal, a vision and knows why it is here! That seems to obvious, but it is often not made exlicit to staff. This can result in low motivation levels, low performance and an ineffective organisation. Taking time to think about what your business is there to do and making this explicit can have a real benefit to your organisation.

An example of these values and vision is here

Using these values it easier for staff to make decisions and to know why the organisation exists, so go on, do it today (if you haven’t already) and see what a difference it makes.