Highlights from the Align 2019 Growth Summit

Growth – and the paradigm shift
"Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming" - David Bowie

It’s a new world of dentistry driven by changing patient expectations and advances in technology that are revolutionising the direction of aesthetic and comprehensive treatment. Buy-in to this new era is a defining step-change for practices with consumers ‘worldly wise’ from social media, reality TV and other forms of peer influence. It’s about being ‘brave’ and possibly stepping into the unknown to make big step changes in this ‘new world’ to get ahead of the curve and achieve practice growth.

Looking to world-class inspiration from both within and outside of dentistry is key to helping dentists challenge the status quo, and to navigate this age of disruptive technology and plethora of consumer communication that may be beyond direct experience.   

At the 2019 Align Technology’s Growth Summit, Berlin, Ken Hughes, Leading Consumer, Shopper Behaviouralist and Playologist, was clear about the need for delegates to think outside ‘the norm’ and emphasised that practices should be remarkable but that being known for being so will be what makes them “victor or victim”.

Hughes was one of several of the Growth Summit speakers who advised delegates that being authentic and using storytelling were essential to connect with consumers. London award-winning dentist, Dr Rhona Eskander, who explained that her work is now 90% Invisalign treatment, showed examples of how SmileView enables her to produce engaging selfies of patients’ reactions to predicted outcomes. “They’re convinced in minutes,” she said.

Julius van de Laar, member of Barack Obama’s 2008 & 2012 winning presidential campaigns also spoke at the Growth Summit. Business holders should ask, he said: “Why me? Why now?” “No matter what you do, without authenticity nothing works,” he urged.

Case studies and examples of ‘Winning Strategies & Authentic Messages That Will Mobilise Your Audience’ were presented at the Growth Summit by keynote speakers from different European countries. Among the practical solutions, delegates learned how to create a 30-second story arc to capture the consumer’s imagination on digital platforms.

While disruptive digital technologies mean a cultural transformation in how communications are planned and disseminated if practices want to achieve growth, the need for dentists to embed all the benefits of technology and become truly digital practices was a core theme of the summit. Breakout sessions at the Growth Summit offered delegates the support and encouragement needed to deploy the full capabilities of the iTero scanner, SmileView and ClinCheck so as to create a seamless digital practice.

Dr Bertalan Meskó, thought leader on how to embrace disruptive medical technologies explained that while advances in technology provide much-needed tools for progress, it is dentists’ attitudes to change that are key. “We [dentists] are the bottleneck. Technology will progress at a transformational rate but the way we embrace it is what matters,” he said.

Align Technology re-affirmed its mission to work with dentists to enable growth in this ‘new world’, and to provide continued innovation so that the profession can continue to improve the patient experience and evolve to keep pace with changing market dynamics.

Evolving amid this disruptive technological era is the biggest challenge the dental profession has ever faced. Social media, reality TV and the related peer-to-peer conversations have fuelled the spike in demand for the ‘perfect’ smile, with research continuing to validate its far-reaching benefits including the effects on a person’s belief system and quality of life in other core areas.

It’s a call to action like no other. For dentists the question is how to evolve, transforming their practice into a digital entity and creating a brand personality that reaches out via optimal platforms, as well as personal interaction to define and story tell their passion.

Are you ready to transform your practice and patient experience?  

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