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Hinman Reflections: The Story of Chipper  The Beaver, The Myth, The Legend

Posted April 12, 2016

Tonya Lanthier, RDH

Hinman-dental-dentist-hygiene-front office-hygienistLast month, we were so excited to be with our dental family and peers at the Hinman Dental Convention in Atlanta, Georgia (which is my hometown and where DentalPost was born)! We are always listening to our dental tribe on how we can make DentalPost better. We also loved listening to everyone suggestions and great ideas on how to improve. If you attended this years Hinman, you likely saw our mascot Chipper walking around the exhibit hall floor, taking pictures with everyone and visiting all the other booths. So I always get the question, how did Chipper become so popular and why a beaver?

So to tell the story, I will have to take you back to Halloween 2011, when my husband Chris was looking for a costume. You can probably see where this story is going. After 2011, it sat in the basement in a box, collecting dust.

Now fast-forward to 2015. I had the opportunity to attend the Grow-Co Inc. Magazine Entrepreneurial Event in Nashville, Tennessee. This event attracts entrepreneurs from all industries who are looking to learn and take their businesses to the next level. The line-up of presenters was fantastic, a full A-list of celebrity entrepreneurs sharing their stories and journeys. Jessica Alba told us about her Honest Company venture. The Honest Company, a billion-dollar body care and cleaning product company that is striving to redefine the family brand. Shark Tanks Daymond John discussed his company FUBU, clothing line with the slogan, For Us, by Us.

But the company that spoke to me that day was Johnny Cupcakes, a company that doesnt sell cupcakes but specializes in t-shirts that are packaged like cupcakes. His unique symbol is what stood out to me, a cupcake with crossbones underneath. The following he has just astounded me. It was so effective that Hello Kitty bought the rights from him.

His particular story and tribal following made me think we need a symbol or mascot to set us apart and to brand DentalPost. I started thinking how could we use a symbol to brand our company. There are so many companies with unique symbols and mascots. Travel Velocity has a gnome. Coke has a white polar bear.

Then I was talking to the team and Chris mentioned the beaver costume. It hit me, that is perfect! He has big teeth! Finally, we had a mascot but he still needed a name. Bucky was suggested first. I said Chipper would probably be more appropriate. Since we were already pushing the envelope with the beaver.

You are probably wondering what any of this has to do with the Hinman. Well as I said, the Hinman is Chippers birthplace. He has been a huge hit at the last three events, attracting some all-star dentist fans including Dr. Jonathan Dubin, Dr. Clayton Davis, and Dr. Wayne Kerr. Not only have people enjoyed visiting and taking pictures with Chipper, they love getting to take home their very own miniature stuffed beaver. At this years event, Chipper ran for president! We at DentalPost believe he is a strong candidate (a special thank you to those who voted for him). We campaigned the showroom floor with our Chipper for President sign, speaking with customers and other thought leaders in the dental industry. This is one of the best parts of my job.

The Hinman will always hold a special place in my heart. As I reflect on my journey, I see the Hinman as a constant reminder of my purpose and a catalyst for both my personal and professional growth. I attended first as a student, then as a dental professional, speaker, and an exhibitor. Being able to continue to share the mission of DentalPost, to help people make connections and find their place in dentistry, is such an amazing experience and the Hinman continues to be the perfect place for us to tell our story. Bringing Chipper with us helps bring even more awareness to our brand, and what we have set out to do.

Next time you see Chipper, I encourage you to think about your journey, and the stops you have made along the way. I know when I think about mine, I cannot help but be thankful for the places and people I have encountered. All the ups and downs, and the stops Ive made, have led me to where I am today. And I could not be more grateful for that.

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