March 6th, 2016 - Brand

The art of wooing

There’s not much that I’m scared of, but when it comes to dental visits I’m a massive chicken. Even the thought of spending time in a dentist chair sends my nervous system into overdrive.

So when I found out recently that I needed an old metal filling replaced, I’m not sure how I let my husband talk me into using the Mexican dental system while on vacation.

“Go to my dentist in Puerto Vallarta,” he says. “He’s great! No pain, no worries. Bing bang your done.” For two years, I’ve heard about the amazing Dr. Claudio in Puerto Vallarta. He looks like a model, and has such a magic touch root canals feel like a visit to heaven.

I give in. My husband happily books my appointment. And I spend five hours in a Mexican dentist chair getting two crowns. I make it back to our little Mexican home on the beach, fall onto the couch with the air conditioning full blast and thank God for the satellite TV. (Never before turned on during our visits). I spend the evening drowsing through the Grammys, have half a glass of wine, and I go to bed thinking … what the heck just happened? Ugh. So much for a simple filling replacement.

A couple of days go by and I start popping Advil. By Saturday morning when I’m popping pills like candy and eyeing the tequila bottle by 10 am, I call the dentist. He says to come in at noon … he’s a little worried … no? Si.

My bite is off and it may take a few visits to get it right. I decide to wait it out with anti-inflammatories, Tylenol and wine. Departure day is looming and I’ve spent enough of my holiday in the dentist chair. I’ll book in with a Canadian dentist to get my bite resolved … but who?

I start to research. I email people I trust for names and I Google. I scour the internet for a local dentist that cares about patients and personal relationships. Here’s what I learned. Canadian dentists don’t know how to woo patients.

It’s said that more than 20% of the population resists going to a dentist because they’re scared, and let’s face it, 100% of the population doesn’t relish a day at the dentist.

So you’d think a little common sense might come into play and dentists here in Canada might work to pursue or entice patients? But as I visit website after website of local dentists, my eyes blur at the cheap template websites, stock photography and typical blather. Apparently every dentist office is a cookie cutter of the next.

Can one of you please tell me why I should choose you? Why should I put my health in your hands? Not to mention my hard earned dollars.

Of course this problem isn’t limited to dentists. The art of wooing – of building relationships, of caring about clients, or patients or voters – is becoming lost.

I did eventually find a dentist who is solving a very complicated problem in my mouth. A dentist who has earned my life-long gratitude and business. While the overall company website wasn’t special, there was magic in the details of the story that was told through photos, and bios. The story was compelling and hit my emotional and intellectual triggers.

If you’re starting a business, launching a brand, or thinking about how to reach more clients, it’s time to tell your story, connect emotionally, and tell people why you’re remarkable.

With gratitude,

Shannon Larkins

Now that's some good advice

Articles, snippets, or videos that highlight what to do and what not to do in the always changing world of branding and design. 

By Seth Godin @

‘Are you interesting?‘

A decade ago, I was walking through Union Square in New York. The farmer’s market was on, and the place was jammed with early adopters. Fortunately, I was wearing a Google shirt, a rarity at the time, a gift from a gig I had done for them.

Across the way, a woman shouted, “Google! Do you work for Google? I love Google! Google is my best friend…” as she waltzed through the crowd toward me.

How many brands get a reaction like that?


Shannon Larkins

Founder, Blackcoffee Studio

Over the course of 15+ years, Shannon has grown Blackcoffee Studio out of a love for building brands and reputations. She serves up Blackcoffee as a morning ritual while caffeinating clients and readers on the regular. You can find her at


Blackcoffee Studio

Blackcoffee is a premium brand development agency, offering luxury brand experience to clients at home in Calgary, Canada and around the globe. Brands create experience, set you apart from the competition and drive growth. Anyone can bulid a business but only the exceptional can create a brand. Are you ready?

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Hi I’m Shannon, founder of Blackcoffee Studio. A former reporter, spin doctor and politico, I now focus on using my powers for good.

I create mighty brands for clients and share their stories with the world. I’m also rather addicted to my nutty family, dogs with pushed in faces, Mexico and of course coffee … black.