Mighty moose

Orange Moose Dental
Orange Moose Dental

When designing his practice, Dr Hanno Venter stayed true to his vision and used a very unusual motif to brand his business. By Kerryn Ramsey

What you call your practice is one of the most important decisions you can make in regard to branding. The name should be unique, memorable and have a visual appeal. One dentist to really embrace this concept is Dr Hanno Venter. His new practice in Bundaberg, Queensland, is called Orange Moose Dental.

South African-born Dr Venter moved to Australia six years ago, settling in the regional town of Bundaberg. For four years, he worked in private practice while embarking on extra study. He quickly grew to love the town, the Australian lifestyle and the opportunities at his fingertips. When the job finally ended, he decided to make Bundaberg his permanent home and open his own practice.

Empty premises were found in a newly built building right in the middle of a medical precinct. The building was just a shell so there was the opportunity to create the exact layout he wanted. “I wanted to inject my personality into the practice but I was also determined to make it unique. I already had a lot of weird and quirky ideas.”

This is the point where the happy collision between moose and dentistry took place. “I’ve always been fascinated by the moose,” says Dr Venter. “The symbolism behind these animals is amazing. They are known for their strength and independence and I secretly thought that if I am ever reincarnated, I will probably come back as a moose.”

Dr Venter approached Medifit Design & Construct to help in the design and fit-out of his new practice. “Initially, Hanno presented us with a more conservative name and branding approach,” says Sam Koranis, managing director of Medifit. “During further discussions, he mentioned he was open to being a bit more adventurous. He suggested a name using the word ‘moose’ as it was an animal with which he strongly identified.”

Medifit loved the idea and Orange Moose Dental was born. “We immediately felt it had the potential to be a memorable brand and to give the practice a unique personality,” says Koranis.

The unusual name gave Medifit free range to play with ideas and push the boundaries. Dr Venter recalls, “It stimulated their imagination and they enthusiastically ran with the concept.” Within a couple of weeks Medifit had created a presentation for a one-of-a-kind practice.

Dr Venter loved their concepts but was still hesitant to commit. “It was such a big risk,” he says. “Bundaberg is a rural area and I was concerned how people would react. It was an all-or-nothing moment for me. I was investing my life’s savings into a new practice with no track record. Was I really going to call it Orange Moose?”

Realising this was probably his only opportunity to fulfil his vision and have everything he wanted in the practice, Dr Venter decided to take the gamble and gave Medifit the go-ahead. Seven months later, Orange Moose Dental was opened for business.

The dental practice features clean, uncluttered lines with a simple, almost modernist feel. The effect is professional and contemporary with a touch of humour. The colour palette is neutral greys, timber and whites with pops of orange to keep things interesting. The moose motif is a recurring theme and includes life-sized cut-outs in the hallway and surgeries. There are moose facts presented on the walls—’Moose have six pairs of molars. Ahead of those are six pairs of pre-molars to grind up their food’—and even complimentary Orange Moose Dental brand bottled water is given to patients.

Medifit’s Koranis explains that the aluminium panels along the hallway rise up from the floor, over the ceiling and back down the opposite walls, all printed with a leaf pattern in a contemporary take on a forest walk. “The panels have been CNC-machined with the silhouette of the moose to reinforce the brand and create a unique experience for patients,” he says. “The timber veneer continues the natural theme and ties together the various sections of the practice.”

Dr Venter was also proactive in regard to marketing his new practice. Being relevant and tapping into the local residents’ love of four-wheel driving, he gave his Jeep Wrangler an Orange Moose Dental themed makeover. “I have had many patients come here after seeing the car,” he says.

He also has an unusual billboard outside of town. “I think I’m one of the only practices in Australia that uses a picture of a beautiful, smiling lady who is not showing any teeth,” he laughs. “It’s quite a talking point but I prefer to take a different angle in regard to advertising.”

Koranis has also had numerous enquiries based on the practice design. “We have had several new clients approach us asking, ‘Are you the guys who did Orange Moose Dental?’. Most new and potential clients like the fact that we don’t have a cookie-cutter approach with our design projects,” he says.

So, has Dr Venter’s gamble paid off? Since opening in December 2012, the four-surgery practice has gone from strength to strength. Residents have embraced this stylish business that is so unlike a typical dental practice. “They love the idea that it doesn’t smell like a dental practice, it doesn’t look like a dental practice and it’s so different to what they have come to expect.”

While customers are drawn to the unique look of the practice, they soon realise that it’s well equipped with the latest technology. For example, it’s the only dental practice in the region to have a 3D CT cone beam machine. On top of this, it’s run by a consummate professional with a real interest in his patients’ wellbeing.

“I like to take the time to talk to my patients and get to know them. That way we can connect, which is really important to me, and I can give them a wide range of treatment options,” says Dr Venter. “I often sit with patients in the front and have a bit of a chat. In fact, people often come in just to have a coffee and say hi.”

It would appear the mysterious Orange Moose Dental has found a happy home in the town of Bundaberg.

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