Most orthodontic practices are known for one thing: orthodontics. And this is of course what you want to be known for, right? It’s what you worked so hard in school for and what your practice offers to its patients. However, being known only for orthodontics as a brand means you’re known for the same thing as every other orthodontic practice. And while orthodontics is what you do, it’s not all that you are.

Differentiate or Die

Jack Trout, a business consultant and best-selling author, coined the well-known phrase “differentiate or die.” He’s not being mean or critical. He’s merely stating a business reality that has been proven time and time again. In the past, orthodontics was able to avoid this reality because competition was at a relatively low level. However, for today’s orthodontic practices, the challenges are great. Not having the ability to set yourself apart from other orthodontists, general dentists, aligner retailers, or direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies may cause your practice to severely decline, or, even worse, close its doors.

Blending in with all of the other orthodontic practices around you means that the only thing that sets you apart will be your fees. This is why the number of parents visiting more than one orthodontic practice before making a selection is growing. The best way to help your practice stand out is to build a brand. We recommend that you focus your brand on one item only. It’s very difficult to be known for being fun, having a great location, etc. all at the same time. Most large companies and franchises have a single brand above the others. McDonald’s is “inexpensive fast food.” Walmart is “lower prices.” Amazon is “easy.” After selecting your brand, build a marketing communications plan around it and communicate it to patients, parents, referrals, referral sources, and the public through five focus areas which include:

  1. The Branded Patient Rewards and Referral Program
  2. The Parent Ambassador Program
  3. The Social Media Interface
  4. The Referring Doctor Driver
  5. The Community Full Awareness Program

It’s very exciting when you start to build a brand around your patient programs. Once you do, you’ll notice an increase in your patients’ loyalty and motivation to refer.

That’s the power of having a brand. OP

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the CEO of Levin Group, a leading dental management consulting firm. Founded in 1985, Levin Group has worked with over 30,000 dental practices. Levin is one of the most sought-after speakers in dentistry and is a leading authority on dental practice success and sustainable growth. Through extensive research and cutting-edge innovation, Levin is a recognized expert on propelling practices into the top 10%. He has authored 65 books and over 4,000 articles on dental practice management and marketing. To contact Levin, visit or email [email protected].