Ananya Pathak
Marketing

Colgate launches digital platform to virtually connect patients and dentists

Patients can use voice, video call, or chat option, on 'DentistsforMe.in' to reach out to dentists. The teledentistry platform provides free service.

After years of featuring 'white coat' dentists in its ads, the ‘Dentist ka sujhaya number 1 brand’ Colgate has launched a platform to connect them to patients free of cost.

Colgate-Palmolive’s digital initiative 'DentistsforMe.in' is a teledentistry platform that provides free online consultation service to patients with dentists. The patients can simply use their phones to make use of the service.

Available both as an app, and a web version, the digital platform will allow people to use video or audio call, and/or chat option, to interact with dentists. To access the facility, one needs to first sign up on the platform. He/she can then choose a preferred expert from the available list, and schedule an appointment.

Colgate launches digital platform to virtually connect patients and dentists

Speaking about the initiative, the brand’s official spokesperson told afaqs!, “In these unprecedented times, when meeting a dentist physically can be difficult, we wanted to provide high quality dental care access, and this led us to creating a teledentistry platform.”

“All the communication and branding on the platform is designed to make it easy to use, and intuitive for everyone,” he adds.

Colgate launches digital platform to virtually connect patients and dentists

For the initiative, the brand has partnered with over 200-plus dentists across the country.

Over an email, the brand confirms that this technology solution allows anyone suffering from a dental condition to video or audio call a dentist from the comfort of their home, absolutely free of cost.

While we couldn't ascertain details on the kind of communication the brand plans around the new platform at the time of filing this story, we reached out to experts to get their take on what would be the best ways to do the same.

Consultant L Suresh mentions there was once a brand named 'Forhans' that touted itself as the 'toothpaste created by a dentist'. While Colgate has featured dentists in its commercials targeting children, the current campaigns clearly point to Sensodyne as the toothpaste 'recommended by dentists'.

“Surely, Colgate doesn't expect a direct 'return on investment' by having its team of 200-plus partner dentists prescribe the brand. Even the website is quite clean, and barring the 'Colgate Dentists for Me' branding, there's no hard sell anywhere. And that's exactly how it should be. The objective should be to strengthen the brand’s image, than sell more tubes of toothpaste,” he says.

L Suresh
L Suresh

He, however, adds that Colgate will stand to benefit because an initiative like this is exactly what you would expect from a market leader. A platform for dental problems that brings dentists and patients together, at no extra cost. It's good karma for the brand - do your bit in alleviating a pain, or two, without expecting anything in return. Because when you do that, that's exactly when you get a lot more in return. Like goodwill, like content marketing and social media marketing opportunities. And, an increase in sales.

He anticipates that the app version of the platform is an indication that Colgate hopes to build on this over the long-term.

While he doesn't doubt the brand’s intent, he would be interested in seeing how this pans out. “The possibility of a webcam entering the deep, dark crevices of the mouth, and helping dentists examine a molar cavity, or a recessed gum lining, is yet to be explored,” Suresh mentions.

“Also, most patients with dental problems have a regular dentist, who is familiar with their history. I'm not sure what the scope here is for a complete understanding of patient history and patient records before diagnosis and treatment."

For Rajesh Lalwani, CEO, Scenario Consulting, this looks like a perfect time to launch a platform like this. “Given the current COVID scenario, people are more comfortable in engaging with their dentists over a screen, than interacting with them personally,” he points out.

Rajesh Lalwani
Rajesh Lalwani

From the brand’s perspective, he believes that it will help Colgate earn a lot of goodwill. “More and more brands are trying to engage households directly and Colgate is bringing meaningful engagement to consumers by providing unique value. It will also bank on recommendations by these dentists, and can use it for sampling of products and gain insights. There couldn’t have been a better time for it,” he says.

However, Lalwani has questions about the amount of energy the brand will invest in the platform. “Telemedicine will become mainstream in the years to come. So, if this is Colgate’s short-term initiative, or if it’s the brand’s strategic long-term plan, only time will tell,” he says.