Over the last few years, how many “Baby Yoda” products have you seen? Or, how many times have you spotted the formidable “Mythosaur” skull on t-shirts or window decals? Probably a LOT. But why? WHY do people get so attached to these stories — to the point that they spend hundreds-to-thousands of dollars on paraphernalia about a story that isn’t real?!
It’s not just Mandalorian. Think of any great story (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, King Arthur, etc) and you will find a common pattern that sings to the souls of the human race. People become enamored with these stories and support them financially because people see themselves in the story. And EVERYONE is self interested.
Can a dental practice harness this same magnetic power?
Yes. Donald Miller wrote a fantastically insightful and applicable book called Building A StoryBrand. (Which you should pick up a copy of when you have the chance.) In the book, Miller identifies the 7 stages of every epic story that a brand (including YOUR practice brand) can utilize as they tell their (ahem… your) story.
Let’s take a quick look at that sequence using the Mandalorian as reference AND then show how a dental practice can apply the principles.
#1 A Character
Every great story starts with a hero who wants something. Din Djarin (A.K.A. The Mandalorian) begins with a bold and independent bounty hunter who is content to do well at his job, get paid well for it, and hide from his memories that haunt him.
For your practice marketing, you must understand that you are NOT the hero in your story. Your potential patient is the hero. Don’t make your marketing about you. Make it about your patient.
#2 Has a Problem
To draw the audience into the story, a problem is presented that the hero must face. Din Djarin was tasked with the extremely lucrative retrieval of a tiny, adorable Yoda-type critter (named Grogu). However, when Din saw the danger his bounty was in, his paternal instinct kicked in and he decided to save and protect Grogu.
In order to effectively communicate to your patient what their problem is that you solve, you must be clear about it yourself. Then you must relay that to them. Their problem may be a crooked smile. But a compounding issue is that they are a young adult and don’t want to face the embarrassment of wearing brackets and wires for months at this pivotal stage of their life.
#3 And Meets a Guide
The problem is often bigger than what the hero can handle by themselves. So they are provided with a mentor or guide. By rescuing Grogu, Din Djarin defied imperial loyalists and became a marked man. Fortunately, his clan of fellow Mandalorians and especially the armorer (the clan’s leader) stepped in to help him and give him guidance.
Your potential patient is not out there looking for a hero. They are the hero. They are looking for their guide who can help them on their quest. Your marketing should convey the fact that you are the guru that can equip them with what they need to solve their problem and succeed in their endeavor.
Position yourself as the armorer, NOT Din Djarin in the patient’s story.
#4 Who Gives Them a Plan
There is a gap between saying you can help and actually providing a plan. The guide closes this gap with sage counsel. Din Djarin rescued Grogu on an impulse because he was concerned for the safety of the youngling. But how could Din ensure the safety of Grogu? The armorer identifies the powers Grogu demonstrates as belonging to those of the Jedi order and advises Din Djarin to return Grogu to them for safekeeping and training.
You can tell a potential patient that you have a solution to their snaggle teeth, but they will not yet be ready to take action. They need to hear the plan first. Clear aligners are an easy example here because you can literally show the potential patient the steps of the plan which will solve their problem and help them progress on their hero’s journey.
#5 And Calls Them to Action
After the plan is provided, the challenge must be issued to the hero. Din Djarin’s profession (bounty hunter) was a dangerous and lonely one. He was constantly in danger and could not be weighed down with other vulnerable cohorts. But he cared about Grogu and wanted to see him safe. He had to decide if he would continue to imperil his own life in an effort to save Grogu’s.
You have a potential patient’s attention. You have identified the obstacle on their path to smile satisfaction and told them you can help them solve that problem. You have laid out the plan and convinced them that you are capable of completing it. Now you must issue them the challenge to accept your proposal.
#6 That Helps Them Avoid Failure
The gauntlet has been thrown, and avoiding the challenge will not go without consequences. If Din Djarin did not leave to find refuge for Grogu, his tiny green friend AND he himself would remain in mortal jeopardy. What good would rescuing Grogu have been if he were only to perish a short time later? The quest was the most sure way of obtaining the goal.
Money is simply a representation of labor’s value. Your potential patient is faced with the dilemma, “Do I spend my labor for this dental solution, or do I accept the consequences of not acting?” Most likely the potential patient is seeking to avoid the repercussions of inaction. The choice boils down to a tragic ending, or investing their labor in the quest that will help them achieve their goal.
#7 And Ends in a Success
And they lived happily ever after is the dream ending for any great story. Din Djarin does eventually find a Jedi and turns his young ward over to Luke Skywalker. Din Djarin reflects on his adventures with Grogu and realizes Grogu was not as much of a liability as he originally thought and that he is happier when Grogu is with him. Grogu chooses to rejoin Din Djarin and becomes his adopted son. But not Grogu is safe and not helpless. What a happy ending..
Paint the picture of success so clearly for your patients that they can’t wait to move forward with treatment. Show them the attainment of their vision and focus on the benefits they will enjoy. Help them taste the victor’s triumph and the satisfying end to their hero’s path.
Dental friends… you must understand that everyone in your community would love a perfect smile. And many of them feel that the only way for them to achieve their dreams is if they can harness the confidence that a healthy and beautiful smile offers. You are NOT pushing something on them they don’t want. You are the guide giving them a plan and helping them overcome their problem. Learn from the wisdom of great stories like the Mandalorian and communicate to your market how you will enable them to be a hero!