Growing up as a twin meant instant celebrity.

‘Wow, you look like twins,’ people said.

Yes, my sister and I were the same age although not identical siblings.

‘Do you read each other’s minds?’ they asked.

No, but growing up as close as siblings get, my sister and I often made excellent assumptions about each other’s thoughts.

‘What are your names?’ they asked.

‘I’m Lyn and she’s Kathy,’ my more talkative twin sister would declare.

And then they would call us, ‘the twins.’

To those of you who feel a similar lack of unique identity, I hear your pain.

Do patients refer to you as ‘my dentist’ or simply ‘the dentist’ or even ‘a dentist’ (because they haven’t found you yet)? Take heart. It could be worse. Patients could refer to you as ‘that dentist’. Let’s move swiftly on.

Naming (or renaming) your dental practice is an opportunity to highlight your specific identity. Consider what your ideal patients need from you. Add value beyond your core dental services to stand out, attract and retain patients. Be relevant. Ask, ‘how does my business make their lives better?’ Strive to be different from your colleagues and adopt a strategy of meaningful niche marketing.

Then choose your practice name to speak to this purpose – your brand of dentistry. Have fun thinking of words, phrases and even proverbs which best describe you and your practice.

If you are blessed with a surname like ‘Paradise’ why not put ‘Dental’ after your name to form a delightfully promising and personal practice name? Or, choose words that fit with your mission; ‘Gentle Dental’ does what it says on the tin. Another alternative is to associate your practice name with its purpose, for example, ‘Spit and Polish’ for a direct access hygiene clinic.

Marketing advisors suggest incorporating your location into your name to enhance Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This works especially well if your name alliterates (makes sounds or letters that repeat) with your geography, for example, Orpington Orthodontics.

Whatever name you choose, let it speak to your specialty within the limits of our wonderful but highly regulated and somewhat conservative dental industry. Keep it simple, self-explanatory and brief, ideally with an attention grabbing ‘hook’. And before you order new signage and stationery, search online to avoid accidentally imitating local colleagues.

When Lyn and I were 26 years old, Lyn announced that she and I could individuate by using the personal pronoun ‘I’ instead of ‘we’ in conversation. This linguistic shift enabled each of us to separate emotionally from the other. Words matter, and nowhere more than in your business title. Unlike my twin sister and I, why wait quarter of a century to stand out? Claim your name and brand identity today.

For all of us dentists and for our very patient patients who read what we write and need what we offer, I remain, writing for dentists, at your service.

P.S. For more exclusive writing wit and wisdom and a free copy of my e-booklet ‘WRITE YOUR OWN WEBSITE’ sent directly to your email address (which will not be shared or used for any other purpose), contact me: http://www.writingfordentists.co.uk/contact.html

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