Kanye For President

When is edgy too edgy for a dental practice?

Many of us heard Kanye announce his Presidential intentions for the 2020 election during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. Like everyone else in the room that night, we dismissed it as Kanye “being Kanye.” That was 2015. Now it’s 2016 and the talk hasn’t let up. He mentions it again in the release of his newest album The Life of Pablo, his Twitter account has become increasing full of political posts and he recently talked about it with BBC Radio’s Annie Mac.

We all know Yeezy has a tendency to be, well… edgy. But when is edgy too edgy?

The answer is actually simple: When you can’t back it up.

Edgy falls flat when it’s just a facade; a mirage. When there’s not enough substance or talent to hold it up. If you’re going to be edgy and draw attention, you better be able to back it up.

Which leads us to The Kanye Principle. It goes like this: people put up with Kayne being Kanye because he’s so dang talented.

When it comes to music, entertainment and maybe even fashion, no one’s questioning Kanye’s talent. He’s not only one of the most talented rappers and entertainers, he’s also arguably the top hip-hop producer of the last decade.

He’s allowed to say things like,

“I hate when I’m on a flight and I wake up with a water bottle next to me like oh great now I gotta be responsible for this water bottle.”


“I am God’s vessel. But my greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live.”

But politics?

Is Kanye’s talent so wide that he can actually make a run for office? Or does The Kanye Principle finally fail him — people stop putting up with Kanye because he’s clearly outdistanced his talent?

The entertainment world is full of edginess. Kanye’s talent supports it where Miley Cyrus attention lust eventually falls flat. We see it in sports too. Lebron James makes a big show when he leaves his hometown of Cleveland. Then makes a big apology and promise of a championship when he decides to come back.

Then. He. Delivers.

It’s one thing to promise a championship that everyone knows you can’t deliver, but James clearly has the talent to back up his promises. It reminds me of the off-the-wall things Muhammed Ali would say and get away with:

“If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”

When you’re Muhammed Ali, you can say that. When you’re Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, you better be careful what you say. Especially in Rio.

Dictionaries define as edgy as (1) something that challenges the social norms and (2) trying to be cool. One is positive, one is negative. When we see one person try to be edgy, it works. When we see another try, it falls flat. Why? It comes down to these two points right here.

Let’s redefine it a bit. Being edgy involves two things:

  1. Create something remarkable (something that challenges the social norms) and
  2. Get attention (trying to be cool).

When number one and number two are working together, we get good edgy. When it’s just about number two, edgy doesn’t work.

So let’s talk about your dental practice. How can you be edgy in the world of dentistry? There are two ways:

  1. Create something remarkable.

Edgy is not about an upscale, spa-like pratice. It’s not about money or a slick website. It’s not serving beer or wine to patients or the latest technology or even putting Trump signs in the windows.

Edgy is creating a remarkable experience for patients. It’s making promises and then over delivering. It’s learning patients’ names and thinking through every opportunity to make their visit comfortable. It’s taking a social stigma that people have developed about dentistry and turning it into an experience that every human being deserves.

2. Get attention.

It’s not enough to create something remarkable. Now we have to get attention. Let’s tell people about it too.

This may come as a surprise, but being on Facebook is no longer edgy. Facebook is still an amazing platform for dentistry and will be for quite some time. As more and more dental practices have jumped on, it’s become more and more crowded. The problem with edgy is it’s always moving.

Being edgy is not about digital marketing. That’s an assumption now. A mobile website is expected. You don’t get points for being edgy there.

The edgy practices I see marketing right now are using Instagram and Snapchat. They’re content creators. They see themselves as media companies creating education and pieces of content that give their patients an inside look at the dental world. They’re ahead of the game for dentistry and lots of people don’t get it. That’s okay. They know what they’re doing.

One of the best practices doing this is Dr. Jessica Emery of Sugar Fix Dental Loft in Chicago, IL (disclosure: Dr. Emery is not a client of mine). Check out their Instagram account or follow her on Snapchat at @drjessicaemery. Tell her I said hi.

Social media is a definitely a tricky world and lots of people push the edge in the wrong places. Edgy does not mean over the top, bloody surgery videos, sexy selfies or big city clubs and yachets. Refer back to number one. Edgy is about challenging the social norms in dentistry and creating an exceptional dental experience for your patients. Once you have that down, let’s work on telling the world in a way that gets attention.

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The dental practice landscape is changing at an ever faster rate. Protect your investment by putting together a strategic marketing plan customized to you. Schedule your consultation with me.

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