Posted June 12, 2015
If you’re not an oral surgeon — or related to one — you may not know much about this medical area. And you almost certainly wouldn’t have heard of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation. This is a foundation built by oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMSs, for short) for OMSs and the betterment of the specialty. Founded in 1959, the Foundation has funded research and education that has helped drive scientific innovation and spark career interest in the profession.
That was roughly all we knew when we began working with the Foundation in August 2014, but we needed to learn much more. For example, exactly how do OMSs differ from dentists? Do OMSs typically work in private practices or in larger institutions? How passionate are they about their work? How much do they value investments in research and education? We also had many questions about the Foundation’s relationship with its parent organization, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS).
Learning and discovery were central to our engagement. As part of a major initiative to grow membership and raise $12 million by 2020, we had been hired to significantly enhance the Foundation’s brand and engage its target audiences with compelling messages.
That commitment to ROI led us into six weeks of intensive research, including a review of all current communications materials; a needs assessment; data analysis of existing member survey data; and our own round of qualitative research. While the existing survey data was informative, it didn’t give us a feel for the interests, pain points, and passions of the surgeons we were trying to engage. Only direct conversation can provide those insights. After contacting over 100 surgeons across the U.S., we managed to secure one-on-one telephone interviews with 23 surgeons representing Foundation leadership, donors, annual members, non-donors, and former grant, scholarship, and award recipients.
We presented our findings and recommendations at a meeting of the Board of Directors in Dallas in November 2014. The response to our action plan was uniformly positive and allowed us to begin planning the long-term implementation of a rebranding and marketing strategy.
The upcoming annual report, however, was an even more immediate and pressing need. It had to be published well before we completed our primary mission. We took the challenge in stride by designing the report as a transitional step toward the new brand standards. We had to use the Foundation’s existing logo, but we applied new typography, colors, and photographic direction — a much bolder visual approach than had been used before. Most importantly, we began implementing some of our key marketing recommendations. The 2014 annual report features prominent spotlights on members who represent the Foundation’s values or who can describe the impact of the Foundation’s grants on their research or career path.
Early reaction to the 2014 annual report has been enthusiastic. Look for updates on our broader rebranding progress later this year.
You can now learn more about our complete rebranding of OMS Foundation which officially launched at the AAOMS 97th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.