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Case Studies


Philips Sonicare Connect PR

Philips Sonicare Connect PR

Best practice from Positive Communications


£100,000 for production, implementation and validation.


There is an increased awareness among Dental Professionals that patient compliance is a key determinator for the uptake of dental treatments and ultimately in successful preventative programmes.  However, many Dental Professionals find it a challenge to communicate and positively influence concordance.

They often have other priorities; are pressed for time; and lack the training and skills.  However, research has shown that Dental Professionals can be an impressive source of influence and that they want to empower patients to take ownership over their own oral healthcare.

There is therefore an increased importance to build, maintain and leverage long-term relationships with patients rather than taking a more prescriptive approach which has been shown to have a negative impact on effecting behavioural change.


The creation of a behavioural management and communications toolkit for use in practice for both dental professionals and patients to fulfil a wholly unmet need.

The programme had to be unique, brilliant in its simplicity (in line with Philips core brand values) and able to differentiate Sonicare from its main competitors – Oral B.

Target Audience

Dental professionals – the dental team from specialist and  general dentists hygienists, dental nurses to receptionists.

Implementation methods

The Sonicare Connect programme consists of two components – one which prepares and engages the patient before the consultation, the other which enables the Dental Professional to use the output from the patient as a platform for discussion and a guide to the most effective use of behavioural techniques.

The DVD programmes contain filmed episodes which are paused to allow participant interaction as the viewer considers their responses to effective and less effective interventions from several Dental Practitioners.

The Patient Tool

Since there are a range of possible behavioural changes which could be addressed in a consultation, the essential first step is to efficiently clarify how the patient feels about different topics and captures their attitudes, feelings and readiness to change prior to the consultation without causing them to feel judged or assessed.

It also engages the patient at the outset, before the consultation itself, enhancing motivation, and making them more ready to absorb and act on information and advice. It also helps patients to relax, consider and communicate their views. 

During viewing, the patient is encouraged to log their opinions to a series of scenarios which most closely match their own (which can be stored in the patients’ records).

The patients takes a completed questionnaire into the consultation with them and initially, the Practitioner has a brief discussion on the basis of the ‘at a glance’ information provided by this chart before conducting a clinical examination.

Subsequently, the Practitioner is able to address issues raised on the chart in the context of the clinical diagnosis removing the need for the traditional ‘end of consultation lecture’.

Clear identification of patients’ attitudes, concerns and aspirations helps lead to a clearer treatment strategy, encouraging Practitioners to shift their intervention, making it compatible with patients’ expressed readiness.

The Practitioner intervention can then be congruent with the evidence base, for example, highly resistant patients (poor self-carers) will not be met with a persuasive, action-oriented intervention, but with the guiding style more characteristic of motivational interviewing. Those more proactive and ready to change can be given advice and help to change their behaviour at home.

The Practitioner Tool

This is aimed at Dental Professionals comprises a DVD programme of an hours’ duration which is split into filmed elements with role playing by a range of patients and Dental Professionals in different in-practice scenarios.

The programme is interactive and encourages the participant to explore the best ways to tackle an issue, to consider their responses and view the outcomes to their proposed intervention.

This component of the Sonicare Connect Programme has been designed to train Practitioners in the best ways to combine the output of the ‘patient activation tool’ with their clinical diagnosis as a platform for discussion.

Definition and measurement of success

True innovation – both from a technological and marketing communication standpoint – begins with strong insights into customer behaviour and needs.  Translating these insights into an innovative concept without losing sight of the day-to-day business needs was key to the success of the project.

In the UK, advanced dental practices piloted Sonicare Connect with patients and reported that it had truly simplified their work with patients whose behavioural had been very hard to change.

Dispensing practices reported that up to 9 out of 10 patients also bought a Sonicare as a result.  In Germany Sonicare Connect was used as an incentive to invite large Oral B recommenders to a promotional presentation.  60% of those loyal to Oral B became promoters of Sonicare and implemented Sonicare Connect in their practices.


A full roll out of the programme is now underway.  National and regional Sonicare Connect Ambassadors have been co-opted from the pilot practices to lecture and train their peers.

The programme is successfully being used to reward current promoters for their loyalty to Sonicare.  Philips is also able to build its brand image with promoters of competitive brands, making them more likely to try and ultimately recommend Sonicare.

Relation to objectives and cost effectiveness

Sonicare Connect relates completely to its original objectives and is considered to be cost effective.


Professor Steven Rollnick of Cardiff University cites Sonicare Connect as the first Behavioural Management programme in this professional field.  The creativity of the programme has been much applauded in the profession and the press which serves it. 

Indication where consultancies are used

Dental production company Smile-on was used to fulfil the technological brief and create the filmed elements of the programme. Positive Communications is responsible for the PR communications.

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