At the 2015 World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) Congress in Singapore this May, faculty member Dr. Jon Warren co-led a seminar designed to educate his colleagues to be better advocates for themselves and the profession. “Marketing and advocacy go hand in hand,” says Warren. “We need to communicate to the public that we are trained professionals who can help with a wide range of health issues.”
As a former president of Physiotherapy New Zealand, which was previously known as the New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists (NZSP), Warren knows what’s needed to complete a successful advocacy campaign. Here, he lays out practical strategies anyone can apply:
Understand your goals or outcomes. “Leaders at the NZSP wanted to rebrand the organization. We asked ourselves, ‘How can we make sure we have a brand that positively reflects physiotherapy in New Zealand? How can we ensure that people want to associate with it?’ ”
Understand the context. This should focus on the facts of your organization, including the diversity of the group and how it operates. “What do people know us by? What should represent us? How can we use marketing materials to get that across?”
Develop and execute your strategy. You’ve developed and outlined your plan, now drill down to the details. After deciding to change its name to Physiotherapy New Zealand, Warren’s team developed a logo, tag lines, brand colors, and finally, shared it publicly. The new brand went on everything from letterhead and business cards to large stickers on clinic windows.
Ask for input. Warren emphasizes that requesting feedback frequently is essential to maintain buy-in across your organization at all steps. “The endorsement of this new brand by physiotherapists and the public of New Zealand was extremely positive,” he shares.
“Advocacy can cover everything from advertising your clinic to getting the word out to doctors or insurers about what you have to offer,” Warren says. “As educators, researchers, and practitioners who advocate on behalf of our patients, it is essential that we communicate this clearly.”
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