Local Search - Dentist is considering changing his name due to racial profiling


bczubiak

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This may seem a little odd but is this something my new dental client should consider? Dentist wants new patients and he thinks his personal name (as opposed to his practice name) might be hindering his practice growth.

Dentist is of Iranian decent and his first name is Reza and he has an Iranian last name. As you can imagine, this is a touchy subject and personally, I don't think anybody should feel bad about their name. One of my current pediatric dental clients from India uses a "kid friendly" name because his first and last name are hard for kids to pronounce.

Another client of my goes by Dr. "M". I guess my client can change his practice name to not include his name but I wonder if anybody has every done any studies to see if somebody would rather see a doctor named "John Williams" or Reza Mahmoudieh. I'm starting to sound controversial already but I am sure people in marketing must struggle with this decision from time to time.

Thoughts?
 

Colan Nielsen

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I don't mean to make light of a serious, and unfortunate business dilemma. But I want to jump straight into trying to solve this from a Local SEO point of view.

Is there a reason why he isn't advertising as the practice name in the first place? What is the practice name?
 

bczubiak

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His practice name is his first and last name. He is considering changing that to a generic practice name like Beach Cities Dental or whatever he decides.
 
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The branding issue should be something he takes very seriously. If his name is hard to pronounce or spell, then yes I would think rebranding could help. If people are discriminating based on his name at first glance, then yes rebranding could help. The world we live in isn't always nice, so this is a real problem that you should face head on. Do some market research in the area to see if the assumption is true. Blind surveys or focus group could help you figure out if the name is stunting growth. Don't take a general assumption as fact, back it up with statistics. For all we know because it's an uncommon name, it's just hard to remember.

How's he doing with reviews from past patients? Hows the GMB page, Yelp, healthgrades, etc... profiles looking? Could negative reviews or no reviews be playing a part here? Check Google Search Console and see what the search queries are like. Are there a good amount of searches for his name, or are they more general? Lack of branded queries could mean you need to step up offline promotion to get the name out. Another issue with low branded queries is that the name is hard to pronounce or remember, so people are having trouble finding the brand. If that's the case, then look for misspellings as an indication.
 
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Just curious - if there are people who would be 'turned off' by a non Anglo-Saxon name from going to this dentist, then won't they be annoyed / vocally angry / maybe even leave immediately when they turn up to the generically branded clinic and there's a non Anglo-Saxon dentist standing there?
 

CodyBaird

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Regretfully this is a real issue. I work with a couple practices that specifically hired Anglo and or found an Anglo partner. Both in the states and Canada.

It's shameful. But racism is still live and threatens male and female business owners daily of all colors and creeds.

I don't know what the answer is. I don't think there is one. Other than for everyone to show more tolerance and love. Towards sex, gender, race, or creed.
 

blindbiz

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I'm a big believer in professionals services building a brand that is not based on their name. The business has much more value down the road. It's far easier to grow into multiple locations. I'd be much more likely to buy a "Smiles" franchise than a Reza Mahmoudieh franchise.
 

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