Over the past few years, EZPEDO has grown from a relatively new, niche provider of pediatric dental products to a dominant player in the market, where competitors are seeking to imitate. Within this context, EZPEDO approached us at Sieglevision to help them enhance their role as an industry leader and innovator. In order to own this position in a largely stagnant part of the dental industry, EZPEDO is evolving its brand to better represent their success and ambitions, and to take ownership of who they are as a company and who they strive to become.
The dental industry as a whole is also facing a critical crossroads. Consumers are more health-conscious than ever, and their expectations of healthcare are increasingly being influenced by technology. This means that traditional practices and antiquated techniques are not going to cut it. It is up to companies like EZPEDO to be the pioneers in the field of oral health technology and influence industry-wide change in order to meet the heightened expectations of today’s patients.
Faced with these challenges, EZPEDO is refocusing its image and rebranding its identity. Let me provide some background.
Branding—Who Are You, and Why Should I Care?
When people hear the word “brand” they often think of logos, advertisements, or slogans. While these are visible components of a brand, the essence of your company’s brand is unseen and rests in your identity—who are you, how are you different, and why should I care? In other words, what makes your company unique, and why are you valuable to customers and society? Your brand includes everything from visual identity to the values that permeate your corporate culture. Strong, relevant brands engender customer loyalty, clarify an organization’s purpose, boost business value, help distinguish a company from competitors, and serve as the most effective antidote to commoditization.
Today’s most powerful and popular brands have clear identities: Apple, Google, Starbucks. These companies know who they are and what they stand for, and their identities drive everything they do and say. When a company has a strong brand identity, customers know what to expect from it and trust the company to deliver reliable products and services. This trust factor is increasingly important as consumer demographics shift and millennials take over as the dominant customer base.
Creating a Lasting Brand in a Rapidly Changing Environment
We are now dealing with a consumer base that is much savvier and consequently more skeptical of brands and the messages received from them. I’m talking about millennials. Because of their access to vast amounts of information—ranging from a brand’s pricing to its product quality—millennials expect their brands of choice to be authentic, personalized, adaptive and fresh. Millennials seek long-term relationships with brands and want their brands to create customized experiences for them. To be successful in this evolving landscape, emerging brands must be authentic and innovative in order to connect with consumers and make them feel valued. This is especially important in the field of healthcare, where patients are better informed than ever before.
The ‘Healthification’ of Everything
The healthcare landscape is undergoing an exciting transformation. Empowered by technology, today’s patients are more informed and more demanding of their healthcare providers. They increasingly shop around for providers, research treatments, and take a more active role in managing their healthcare. Millennials show a greater interest in health and wellbeing as a whole; and as a result, healthcare is making its way into seemingly unrelated industries. Take for example, the fashion industry with the Apple Watch Hermès and even the automobile industry with the Nissan self-driving cars, to name a few. Health is everywhere, and the increasingly competitive markets mean that healthcare providers, suppliers, and equipment manufacturers have to be more aggressive in how they articulate their value and differentiate their brands.
The deployment of technology has created a more dynamic market. Successful emerging healthcare companies are positioning themselves as customer-centric brands based on value and innovation rather than traditional clinical brands based on service offerings. Technology has dramatically changed the way patients interface with their healthcare providers.
Healthcare Got a Makeover … and Dentistry Should Too
The demands of today’s patient/consumer have been profoundly shaped by technology. In addition to using technology to investigate healthcare options, people are also increasingly expecting from their healthcare providers the same simple and seamless experience characteristic of the consumer technology companies they love. This is why the hottest healthcare startups look and feel more like Apple than Anthem, with sleek visuals, edgy personalities, and a heavy focus on customer experience. In fact, I saw a survey recently that found consumers would rather have Amazon or Google manage their healthcare than healthcare companies—now that says something!
Unfortunately, the dental industry has been slow to adapt to these trends, and consequently, patients seldom associate dentistry with innovation. A longtime friend of mine, renowned cosmetic dentist Larry Rosenthal, speaks to this perception in his eye-opening (not to mention mouth-opening) book Open Wide(r). In it, he admits, “most baby boomers, in particular, can’t shake the image of the dentist as a little more than a barber with drills, forceps, and needles.”
Doctor Larry makes a compelling argument for prioritizing your child’s oral health. He points out that cavities, crooked teeth, bad bites and jaw issues are often preventable when we are children—before our adult teeth come in. Proactive means preventive, and preventive means a happy and healthy child. Maybe what parents need today is an app to remind them of that.
The problem is, most patients still think of their dental experiences as unpleasant, painful, and expensive. Although dentists know that good oral health is critical to a person’s overall wellness—not to mention their self-esteem—the public will continue to perceive dentistry as old-fashioned and “uncool” unless dental companies align their offerings, culture, and brand with 21st-century consumer expectations.
There is hope, however. Many newer dental companies have made significant strides. Previously invasive procedures are now quick, painless, and affordable. New models of care delivery, like mobile dental practice Studio Dental, have emerged to cater to the lifestyles of the new consumer. There’s a greater focus on dental technology that’s simple, healthier, and more natural than the legacy products of the past. All of these trends, while still in their infancy, are enormously positive for the oral-health industry.
EZPEDO as a Blueprint for Innovation
For many upstart oral-health product companies such as EZPEDO, innovation is in their DNA. They’ve seen the shortcomings of legacy products and are designing better solutions for 21st-century patients and professionals. EZPEDO, for example, is challenging the dominance of traditional stainless steel crowns in the pediatric dental market. Why would any parent want to put metal in their kid’s mouth if a more natural, better-looking alternative was available? EZPEDO created that alternative, using a biocompatible material called Zirconia and a patented design that ensures adhesion and comfort.
In order to reflect this spirit of disruption and innovation, EZPEDO needed to clarify how it is different in an increasingly commoditized niche. Rather than settle for the brand of a high-end dental products company, EZPEDO is repositioning itself as an oral health technology company that’s fighting to bring to pediatric dentistry the innovation people demand and deserve—because the next generation deserves next-generation care.
This orientation will help establish EZPEDO as a visionary within the pediatric dental products arena and compel it to further expand its offerings to reinforce its position as a technology innovator. In making this shift, EZPEDO will also be adopting a bolder, edgier, more aggressive personality that will elevate how it communicates with parents and customers, verbally and visually. This shift will help differentiate the company from its peers, many of which go to market with a safe clinical personality, but one that ultimately doesn’t align with the expectations of young parents and professionals.
This point of view and attitude will also help EZPEDO bill itself as a thought leader in the industry. The company’s magazine and hands-on training programs are already great platforms for sharing knowledge and connecting with professionals. The new face of EZPEDO—Sprig Oral Health Technologies—will help broaden the scope and reach of these initiatives, providing relevant and inspiring information to pediatric dentists who share in the belief that pediatric dentistry can be innovative, relevant, and exciting.
For young, forward-looking companies like EZPEDO, there is little that is more important than building your brand. Your brand helps build awareness during critical growth stages. It defines why you’re valuable to customers and explains why people should choose you over competitors. It helps create a consistent and memorable image of your company in people’s minds. It builds trust and gives your company a mission and voice that can energize stakeholders.
What Dental Practitioners Can Learn From EZPEDO’s Success
In recent years, health and fitness companies have broken the mold in how they go to market, placing a greater emphasis on technological innovation and avant-garde visual identities. It’s time that the dental industry follows suit. We must awaken dentistry from its lethargy and recast the industry as innovative, cool and accessible. Companies like EZPEDO are leading the charge and are quickly becoming the exemplars of what dentistry in the 21st century should look like and stand for.
Dental practitioners can learn from this example. Just because dentistry has looked and felt the same for a long time, doesn’t mean it has to remain that way in perpetuity. The practices that will succeed in the long run won’t necessarily be the biggest. They’ll be the ones that best align their values with the values of today’s patients. This means becoming more technologically driven—offering online booking, tablets in the waiting rooms, and digital patient education solutions. It means embracing a less clinical, more vibrant experience—more relevant waiting room reading material, more contemporary furniture, younger staff. It means investing in your brand and taking control of how people view your practice.
Don’t settle for being the local dentist. Establish yourself as the only dentist around that actually understands the values and aspirations of your patients. Aligning your brand with today’s patients will show people that dentistry can be different and, in the process, create evangelists for your practice.
Continuing a Trendsetting Tradition as Sprig Oral Health Technologies, inc.
EZPEDO’s new brand identity as Sprig Oral Health Technologies will have a profound impact on how the company views itself and on how the industry views it. Evolving their brand will help the company lead the way in redefining how parents, patients, and professionals approach pediatric dentistry. We at Sieglevision have led EZPEDO through a revisioning and restrategizing process. As a result, they are poised to cross new thresholds, prepared to lay the foundation for future product innovations, and primed to further establish their identity as Sprig Oral Health Technologies—the new innovative, trendsetting leader in oral health technology.