13 December 2022

Why Dental Branding Is Your Recession Lifeline

It’s never too late to plan your marketing strategy for 2023 and beyond. Learn why dental branding still matters and how you can be prepared for the challenges ahead.

In Summary:

We will explore the first recession of the digital era, look at what we learned from previous recessions, and provide some welcome insight.

Incoming – The 2023 Recession

The 2023 recession is a looming possibility that we must plan for. Central banks in the US and Europe are raising interest rates, warning of a potential recession worse than the 2008 financial crisis. Inflation and the cost of living is on the rise across the globe, and there’s a pressing issue of war in Europe taking lives and threatening food and energy supplies.

For many business, the first temptation is to cut the marketing budget. For those in the know, that’s a slippery slope to being invisible when you need an influx of patients more than ever.

What lessons can we learn from previous economic downturns?

Big Business gurus Les Binet, Peter Fields, and Byron Sharp all agree with this statement: “Brands should not only maintain but increase marketing budgets during a recession.” Their lessons are essential to ride out these storms when business is survival.

Dental Branding Lesson No. 1

Recent recessions have shown that brands need to make themselves heard to grow their bottom line in times of crisis. A report from the UK’s Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has found that in 2008, brands with excess share of voice (ESOV) exceeding 8% had 3.8x growth in profit.

What does it mean?

Share of voice acts as a gauge for your brand visibility and how much you are in your industry and among your potential customers. Are you creating a buzz around your brand? Are you getting people talking?

Dental Branding Lesson No. 2

Building and refreshing your brand’s memory structures with emotional, brand-led advertising is more important during a recession than ever. If your company isn’t salient to consumers, they’re unlikely to make a purchase because their spending is under greater scrutiny than usual.

What does it mean?

You are not selling dental treatment – you are selling the feeling and the emotion of having healthy teeth. Understand what is important to your patients and sell that feeling. Relief, Joy, Security, Confidence – the list of emotional need is ever-growing.

Dental Branding Lesson No. 3

Creativity has been shown to have the biggest positive impact on marketing campaigns, with over twice as much impact on actual sales than reach itself. In a recession, it’s important to use creative approaches that engage your patients while also being mindful of the financial climate they are operating in. As cost-of-living crises continue to climb, this is especially true.

What does it mean?

In the dental industry we play it safe, we’re wary of transformation. It is what we are trained to do. In marketing, however, we look to make an impression. Some of the most well-known advertising campaigns came from being “out there” or different from the rest.

Don’t be scared to make some ripples – just stay within the GDC Standards whilst you do it.


It’s clear that the spending patterns are different in this recession than they were in 2008. Digital marketing, for example, is now significantly more prominent and contributes to a much greater percentage of overall marketing spend. These changes are similar to what happened in the last great recession: 2008 was the year when digital marketing had just first entered double-digits of overall marketing spend. The principal remains. A recession is not the ideal time to cut the marketing budget.

Branding is a sure way to get attention coming your way. The temptation is always to look at what everyone else is doing and try to do the same. The reality is, you are joining a dental marketplace and playing “Where’s Wally” with everyone wearing the same clothes.

So, do you dare to be different?

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