Marketing The Message

The JDRF has a new message.

With it being November and Diabetes Awareness Month, the time has come for the marketing of that message to begin.

See Disclosure point in italics below
New tagline: Improving lives. Curing Type 1 Diabetes.

New logo: a blue hand with an extended index finger pointing in #1 –style, with T1D written on the finger.

The name is now, simply: JDRF. All words behind that have been eliminated, though it’s pretty obvious what the letters mean and it’s more of an attempt to market the “juvenile” out of the name in order to represent the broader Type 1 community.

I’ve written about this “culture sift” before, after attending JDRF Government Day in March and the third Roche Social Media Summitin June where JDRF CEO Jeffrey Brewer hinted about the coming changes.

Now, the time has arrived.

The JDRF chose the start of D-Awareness Month to unveil this new logo, and with it they have a new marketing campaign that's basically aimed around "Giving Type 1 the finger!" This is all coming out today on Nov. 1, which it’s dubbing the first annual T1Day to highlight the autoimmune condition so often misunderstood and confused with Type 2. 

Disclosure: The JDRF National folk contacted me toward the end of October asking to send me some advance information about this T1D campaign (I assume this comes from being involved in JDRF Government Day back in March), and I provided my address. A package arrived with one of those foam fingers... They asked for my help spreading the word, to which I didn't agree or disagree to do. But I am and do plan to offer my honest opinion about all this. 

Honestly, I’m not sure what I think about the new logo, tagline, accompanying videos and marketing campaign. I’m all for Diabetes Education and Awareness but some of this just seems a little, I don’t know, put through a PR spin-cycle rather than being authentic and real. Maybe I’ll ponder it for a bit, listen to the responses out there before writing more.

What does resonate right now is the passion, heart, and rationale behind this new marketing push.

Hearing Jeffrey Brewer’s voice earlier in the year, listening to him talk about why this was happening and getting at the feeling behind this change. That the entire Type 1 community, both young and older, are represented by the 40-year old organization that’s gone through more one than makeover over time. Really, it’s not the marketing push behind it. No, it’s the heart and soul of this organization that I feel closer to now than I’ve ever felt before.

This year. I’ve felt in my heart and brain a culture shift at the JDRF – both at the national level and in many of the local members of my own community here in Indiana. I’ve seen it spread through the online ripples, touching so many lives that need it. And truly, it’s inspirational and awesome being a part of all this.

But in many ways, seeing this passion play out at the local levels largely depends on where one might be located.

For example, it’s a problem when those of us in the Diabetes Community reach out to our local chapters and don’t get a response. Or when we do get an answer, but those chapter volunteers or leaders aren’t receptive to our needs. Or when the Adults simply go unnoticed and ignored, until fundraising time draws near. These types of scenarios happen in many places, and so whatever national may be marketing or advocating it’s simply not reaching the local levels.

This is a more fundamental problem that needs attention from both national and local levels, and no amount of logo or tagline marketing will solve it. I hope this emphasis on Type 1 will lead to more attention and gap-bridging in those areas that need it. I hope that the marketing of this message leads to more attention on the implementation of the mission that is so strongly embraced at the top levels and some places around the world.

That’s the hope. And I’ll do what I can to help facilitate that.

As far as awareness, aside from this marketing push, there's some important things happening and those deserve recognition.

The JDRF is advocating about the Artificial Pancreas Project, and on Wednesday (Nov. 2) at 2:30 p.m. there will be a press conference with a whole bunch of Congress members, diabetes clinicians, and PWDs urging the FDA to issue "clear and reasonable" guidance on the Artificial Pancreas. This will also include an "exciting announcement" about the said project petition.

This press conference will be live Tweeted, too - just follow along the hashtag #AP100k.

More generally, the JDRF will be posting ongoing Tweets and Facebook status updates at 1-minute past the hour throughout T1Day. One of the hashtags I've seen = #T1D.

So, that is what's on tap from the JDRF for the first day of Diabetes Awareness Month.

Let the marketing and media push of the real culture shift begin.


Sara said…
I like the message (of JDRF in general) but I don't like this marketing.

But as we've discussed recently, there's not much I agree with these days!
Bob Fenton said…
I hear you Michael! It is the same for those with type 2, ADA does little for us until they want contributions. An organization of and for doctors does little for patients, unless it is to enforce laws on the books and make them look great.

The local JDRF does much for the young people, but the adults don't seem to be included except for contributions.
Helen said…
Michael, Great post. I agree with you - I have reached out to my local JDRF (if it is local, I'm not too sure!) to volunteer, responding to their tweets, emails, and not once have I been contacted by them. But low and behold two weeks ago I received a mailing for a donation... Completely frustrating.

I will continue to spread truths about T1 and share what I learn to others and support those that are in my same situation.
Jane K said…
I appreciate your honesty on this topic! As a person with diabetes I have not had a lot of interaction with JDRF. However, as a diabetes professional I have to add that in the last six months I've been contacted by JDRF-related people for several different reasons approximately five times. I have gotten the impression that they truly want to improve their outreach efforts (they have a new outreach program), and they are putting together all sorts of mentor programs and written materials for adults as well as children/families with type 1 diabetes. I can see how this wasn't the case in the past, and how many would have their doubts, but maybe they are shifting in the right direction... Thanks for your post!

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