Fully Branded: Elevate Your Practice With Custom Office Design & Accommodations
What is it we remember most about places we frequent? Is it the way your favorite boutique store smells like amber and fresh linen when you walk in? Those large, comfy leather chairs in the café down the street? That feeling of warmth in your favorite childhood home?
These places have fully developed their brand beyond just a logo, a uniform, social media, and verbiage. Their brand has intertwined with their physical locations as well. A well-branded location evokes positive memories and feelings, so let’s consider four design elements and discuss what we can do to improve a dental practice’s physical location that will elevate the patient’s experience.
Wall Color and Decor
After you’ve developed your logo with a brand manager, company, or talented team member, it’s time to incorporate the logo colors into your physical space. Is your brand cool and modern? Woodsy and earthy? Bright and calming? There has been extensive research on the link between colors and our emotional state, particularly in Faber Birren’s book, Color Psychology and Color Theory. It’s important to consider how the colors of your practice impact not only your patients, but how a new design can also create a productive space for your team.
- Cool colors such as green, blue, and purple usually have a soothing effect.
- Neutral colors such as white, beige, and gray can be calming. The fewer colors you combine and the simpler the design, the more relaxed the space will feel.
- The brighter and lighter a color is, the more happy and optimistic it will make you feel.
- Are you using too much color? Limit your color palette to three or four.
- Look at the space from all angles. When your patient is walking to their treatment room, how do the colors flow or separate spaces?
We want to make sure any photos on the walls are professional and tasteful (sorry, no boat trip bikini photos allowed). Ideally, a combination of art, before and after photos, and marketing materials will increase patient engagement in your space.
- Do the frames of any photos or artwork compliment the branded logo and wall colors?
- Are before and after photos clear and easy to interpret?
- Are your marketing materials customized and branded? Often marketing materials from third-party vendors are designed to sell with bright and eccentric colors, but does it complement or clash with your office design? If you think the marketing materials seem forceful, they probably are.
Believe it or not, the type of flooring your dental practice has can impact the patient experience. Does the hardwood complement your aesthetic and branding? Is the carpet in your reception area too busy and anxiety-inducing?
- If you have rugs in your treatment rooms, take them out immediately. They are hard to keep sanitary and cannot be reliably disinfected or where spills are likely to occur.
- Install hard floor surfaces in treatment spaces, such as wood, laminate, or vinyl. They are the easiest to clean and make a smaller treatment room feel larger.
What’s That Smell?
We’ve all heard it and may have even experienced it: “My dental office has this strange… smell.” That smell is often associated with feelings of fear and anxiety, two emotional states we want to alleviate from the patient’s experience.
- Air purifiers in the reception area and consultation room.
- Essential oil diffuser with natural, clean, non-offensive smells such as lemon, vanilla, or lavender. Using perfumes or candles is a definite no-no.
- Combine baking soda with any of the above-mentioned essential oils, mix with water, and create a room spray that is dispersed throughout the office reception areas and hallways at the end of the work day. This recommendation will allow the fragrance to mellow overnight if you decide to use a stronger oil such as tea tree or peppermint.
How else can we convey the office brand and personality while also increasing our value to the patient? Supply patients with accommodations to keep them comfortable, relaxed, and happy.
- Install a beverage station. It can be a basket of mini water bottles with your logo on them or a mini glass door refrigerator with cool beverages and healthy snacks.
- Complimentary coffee for the win! Invest in a Keurig and your team’s favorite k-cups. Add it to your beverage station with a framed photo of a team member with their favorite coffee – almost like a coffee of the month!
- Install a charging station for mobile devices in your reception area.
- Offer neck pillows and branded blankets to patients with extensive appointments. Cover neck pillows with plastic and make sure blankets are machine washable.
A fully branded practice will reflect your mission within the design aspects of the office. It can help increase the value of your practice, generate new patients, build trust, and also improve your team’s pride in the practice. A “facelift” may be just the thing your practice needs to create important connections amongst staff, initial and long-term impressions, and increase the overall positive patient experience.
About the Author
Savanah Carlson, MAADOM fell in love with dentistry after she received her BA in English and theatre from the College of the Holy Cross. She has been in the dental field since 2010, with expertise ranging from front desk to billing & insurance to social media marketing. Currently, Savanah is the Assistant Office Manager and Social Media Director for Lund Dental Associates in Stoneham, MA. She is a lifetime member of the American Association of Dental Office Management (AADOM), received her Fellowship (FAADOM) in 2020, and most recently received her Mastership (MAADOM) last month at AADOM’s Annual Conference. Savanah is also the Vice President of AADOM’s local Boston, MA chapter.