Put yourself in the picture

on 1st July 2019

Les Jones makes the case for using real images and photos to bring your patient experience to life online…


There’s a dentist, whose picture you might have seen, who holds the record for working at the most dental practices in the UK. The number is a little vague, but I reckon he’s either the principal or an associate at over 400 practices. That’s quite a feat. But of course, it isn’t true. But that’s not to say he doesn’t make an appearance at all of those practices, via their websites, brochures and social media.

Why? Because he’s a stock image. Go online to Shutterstock.com and you’ll see him in every pose you could possibly want, even a few you wouldn’t! He might even be on your own practice website. I’ve actually seen him quoted on a few websites – not bad dental knowledge for a model.

‘So, what’s the point?’, you may be asking.

Well, it’s just another example of how homogenous the world of dentistry can be – similar practices, offering similar services with similar websites and even the ‘same’ dentist in some cases. Which makes it harder and harder to stand out in a crowded market place.

Be authentic

That’s why I’m here to bang the drum for a little authenticity; pictures and videos that are specific and unique to your practice, telling your stories, in your language and reflecting your practice personality.

It’s probably one of the easiest ways of creating some differentiation between you and that practice down the road, all it takes is a little thought, a little time and a small investment that will pay dividends. In a business where the core services are difficult to tell apart, it’s your people who will help you stand out – by the things they do and how they make your patients feel. And when your patients feel special they’re much more likely to agree to a video, a selfie or written testimonial AND they’re much more likely to refer your practice to friends and relatives.

How to make it come together?

So, how do you get to grips with all this? It’s easy, firstly, ask yourself how you want your patients to feel when they’ve visited the practice? What images and stories do you want them to take away?

Once you’ve done this, you can start to bring it to life in everything you do at the practice.

Start by using photographs and videos to reflect the personality of your practice, be prepared to step outside of the safe and conservative approach that most practices take and ‘be yourselves’. If you have a lot of fun and banter with your patients then reflect it in the images you use. This is best done by working with professional photographers and videographers. Yes, it involves some financial outlay but consider it an investment, not a cost – you’ll soon see the returns.

Once your imagery is shouting out your practice personality, think about every step of your patient journey and ask how you can inject some of that into each of the key touchpoints: when patients arrive, at the front desk, in the waiting area, in the surgery and after the appointment, even in the loos! You can always call in some expert help with this by working with trusted partners who treat you like an individual and support you to build a unique business. Everything you do will either reinforce what you’re all about or undermine it, the more you think about it and ‘design’ it, the more likely it is to be the former.

Patients are consumers and today’s consumers love to tell a story – they tell their friends about the unexpected little touches, the ‘wow’ moments they experience when they’re out shopping or eating. You can do the same with just a little thought and attention to every step of your patient journey. And once you’ve got your team and your patients in tune with each other, let those relationships shine through your communications via your website and collateral. Stock imagery is great as a support, but nothing beats the authenticity of you being you. Because nobody does what you do, the way that you do. Vive la difference!


Les Jones

Les Jones is the creative director at Practice Plan, a leading provider of practice-branded dental plans. He has over 30 years’ experience of working within the creative and dental sectors in the fields of design, marketing and strategic consultancy. If you are interested in finding out more about how we help practices to become more profitable,

Telephone: 01691 684165 or visit

Website: building.practiceplan.co.uk

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