Turning the Page
Heartland Dental starts new chapter with brand refresh.
The stories of our lives can be broken down into chapters. Whether college graduation, the start of a new career, or the addition of a child to a family, milestones that mark significant changes create chapters in our lives. With each age and stage, new chapters start and old ones end, each filled with memories, highlights and accomplishments. Over the last 16 years, the first chapters of the company's story were being written, an account of tremendous growth and prosperity. But now the time has come to start an exciting new chapter.
Since its inception, the company has grown in size and ability under the name Heartland Dental Care. Eventually, however, it began to outgrow its initial brand. As the company continued to evolve, it demanded an equally evolved brand, logo and marketing methodology.
In March 2013, Heartland Dental Care officially moved forward with a brand refresh. The decision was made to update the company brand to Heartland Dental. Along with a new brand, a new logo and marketing approach would also be implemented. Utilizing a brand survey conducted in 2012, as well as extensive discussion among the Executive team, a new brand approach was created, centered on the tagline "Passionate. Proven. Professional."
Each word was carefully chosen for maximum impact, together forming a brief and memorable tagline. This short statement provides a clear description of the culture of the company and essential values that have defined Heartland Dental through the years.
Though the image is new, the vision and philosophies at the core of the organization are timeless and unchanging. Heartland Dental strives to support dentists in finding both personal and professional success.
President and Chief Operations Officer at Heartland Dental
The Foundation of Heartland Dental
The story opens in 1982, with the scene of a dentist early in his career. As that dentist, Dr. Rick Workman experienced the difficulties faced by dentists firsthand. "During the pre-Heartland Dental stages when I first started practicing, I was constantly trying to figure out how to balance it all: spending 50 hours a week at the dental chair, working 25 or more hours on business aspects, not to mention making time for my family," recalls Dr. Workman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Heartland Dental. "If I was experiencing those demands, I knew other dentists were too. I decided there had to be a better way."
In 1982, Dr. Workman began his tenure in dental support as a solution to help his peers deal with balancing dental care and managing administrative tasks. In 1997, Heartland Dental was officially established with the goal of giving dentists the freedom to focus on their craft. Even in those early stages, the company built a quality team to support affiliated offices and emphasized the value of education. This resonated with industry professionals, and Heartland Dental quickly grew.
Over the next decade, Dr. Workman's startup would attract the attention of those in the industry, as well as in the business world. In 2000, Heartland Dental joined forces with a practice management group for the first time when it affiliated with Mid South Dental Partners, adding eight offices in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.
The year 2003 drew the attention of those outside the industry too, as Heartland Dental made its first appearance on the Inc. 500 list and Dr. Workman was named "Entrepreneur of the Year" by Ernst & Young. Closer to home, Smiling magazine released its first issue, and The Institute at Heartland Dental was established. Showcasing the company's commitment to continuing education, The Institute featured prominent and beneficial educational courses for affiliated dentists and team members.
As the years passed, offices large and small would join the Heartland Dental family, extending its reach across more states. More dentists sought out the company for the support and balance they knew Heartland Dental could give them. Into the next decade, it continued opening offices, adding affiliates and joining forces with group practices like Neibauer Dental Care in Maryland and Virginia, and My Dentist in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.
Solo practitioners and group offices alike turned to Heartland Dental for the support, technology, educational opportunities and stability offered, making it clear that the company needed more space. In 2012, a Home Office expansion added much-needed office space, and the reopening of The Institute at Heartland Dental brought world-class educational opportunities to the Home Office once more.
Rick Workman, DMD
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Heartland Dental
The pages of the early chapters of Heartland Dental are filled with more than just numbers and facts. Each affiliation and milestone has meant improvements in the lives of dentists, team members, patients and communities. "Looking back on the past 16 years and what we were able to accomplish with Heartland Dental, I'm amazed every time I think about it. Starting out with a handful of affiliated offices in a few states, now we're supporting over 530 offices in 26 states," said Dr. Workman. "It's a testament to the dedication of every single member of our family. Even though Heartland Dental made huge strides, we've only scratched the surface. I can't wait to see what the future holds for us."
As dental technology and business advance, Heartland Dental has kept pace, and in many cases set the pace, for the industry. Dentists, too, face the challenges of managing administrative, marketing and business details and staying educated, all the while meeting the needs of their patients each day. With so many non-clinical demands on their attention, many dentists become burnt out and exhausted, even early in their careers.
At every career level, dentists face different challenges. Experienced practice owners may have difficulty finding associates, or they may not be able to bring on associates at all, leaving them with too little time to manage their growing offices and no exit strategy for the years ahead. Dentists just starting out may leave dental school with six figures of debt and the challenges of being new to the field. Financial burdens may make opening a startup nearly impossible.
In a 2012 brand survey conducted by an outside party, dentists in every situation and career level seemed to share common needs, and they cited educational offerings, stability and work-life balance as top reasons for affiliating with Heartland Dental. "Dentistry will always be valued in our population. There will always be a need for dentistry, therefore there will always be dentists dealing with stress and hardship. Because of this, there will always be a need for dental support organizations as well," explained Dr. Workman.
A History of Heartland Dental Logos
Historically, Heartland Dental has ued two distinctly different logos since its inception in 1997 by founder, Rick Workman, DMD. As the business grew from a single practice in Effingham, Illinois, to the largest group practice in the Midwest, it was apparent that a new logo was needed to represent the company and its values in 2003.
The second iteration of Heartland Dental's logo served the company well for the next decade, when once again, this time in 2013, it became apparent that a new identity could better represent the company's evolving mission and vision.
"However, there is a fundamental misunderstanding about these organizations and what they do. In fact, the survey revealed that almost half of affiliating dentists believed this lack of knowledge and understanding was the thing keeping their peers from seeking out affiliation with a dental support organization.
While many dentists outside seem to have confusion about the role of Heartland Dental, the ones in the Heartland Dental family tell another story: 84 percent say they are satisfied with Heartland Dental, and 87 percent say they would recommend Heartland Dental to other dentists. "They see the benefits," explained Dr. Workman. "One of the best things about Heartland Dental is the open, collective environment in which we operate. Affiliated offices become part of a network of over 1,000 dental professionals who share ideas, encouragement and camaraderie, who all work together for the same cause. From this network, so much knowledge has been accumulated through the years, knowledge that solo practitioners wouldn't acquire on their own. Tenured dentists who have searched for the ideal career can finally discover balance and relief. New dentists won't have to wait years to gain education and knowledge. They can learn the successes and failures of peers who have been in their shoes before."
The Next Chapter
The brand refresh is an integral part of opening the next chapter in Heartland Dental's story. Dispelling confusion and telling the stories of hundreds of satisfied dentists, the new name and brand identity will clarify the mission set forth by Heartland Dental, emphasizing the company's commitment to world-class support.
Put simply, the new brand will serve as the overall personal image of Heartland Dental. It will represent the philosophy, personality, culture and aesthetics rolled into one. It will sum up all the experiences, impressions and feelings the company strives to exemplify. The brand will be the "gut reaction" people have about Heartland Dental, and will be protected through professionalism and character.
The vision of the new brand will be brought to life by committing to a set of established brand pillars:
- Advancing the art and science of dentistry – Utilizing innovative tools and techniques, and supporting affiliated dentists in providing quality dental services accessible to more people. Working together as a company towards the same goals in order to experience continual growth and progression.
- Professional service, personal success – Offering solution-based services and providing documented results in business support, maintaining Midwestern values and ethical leadership. Investing in the right people; people with passion, people willing to go the extra mile, people who never settle for second best.
- Collaboration and coaching – Supporting affiliated dentists as they pursue opportunities to hone their abilities, offering them the right amount of structure to achieve success on their own terms, offering peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, focusing on the lifelong careers of affiliated dentists, valuing unity, fostering mentorships and professional partnerships with a personal touch.
These pillars are the most essential principles Heartland Dental wants to communicate through the new brand. They reflect the company's culture and function as its main driving forces.
Rick Workman, DMD
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Heartland Dental
Equally important, Heartland Dental will be represented with a strong new logo, color scheme and tagline. Promoting tradition and stability, the logo makes a bold statement of how Heartland Dental is perceived, while alluding to a field signifying Heartland Dental's Midwestern roots and the staple of growth. The memorable tagline of "Passionate. Proven. Professional." is also included, illustrating the company's commitment to their mission and vision.
Within the logo, a new color combination of dark blue and golden wheat has also been introduced with the brand refresh. Heartland Dental's dark shade of blue emits quality, heritage and trust, while the golden wheat illustrates their loyalty, practicality and America's heartland – all traits the Heartland Dental family lives and breathes for.
"Going into this brand refresh, we completed our diligence and had a very specific image in mind of how we wanted others to perceive Heartland Dental. These new colors and logo perfectly compliment that image," explained Patrick Bauer, President and Chief Operations Officer at Heartland Dental. "When dentists and dental professionals see our logo, we want them to immediately associate it with leadership and esteem."
The next chapter of a company created by a dentist for dentists will be a story of ambition and purpose. The chapter of HDC will come to a close, but the story will continue to be written. The chapters ahead will tell of a company invested in passionate people pursuing success and achievement, using proven methods and an uncompromising commitment to professional quality, even in the face of challenge. This is the story of Heartland Dental.
For more information on career opportunities at Heartland Dental, call 888-412-7221 or email Recruiting@Heartland.com
For more information on what Heartland Dental can do for you and your practice, call 877-526-3989 or email Affiliation@Heartland.com