| Education Campaign
A summer 2003 Chronicle article
explores the concept of using “branding” strategies to elevate awareness and
CFIDS. The article invites comment and
opinion and we have received a fair number of letters and E-mail messages in
response. Many readers support a more marketing-driven approach while others
suggested that “spin” is the last tactic the community should use.
Questions raised in the article about the name “chronic
fatigue syndrome” may have been mistaken for a shift in the Association’s policy
on the name change. In 1998 The CFIDS
Association of America's Board of Directors
adopted the following policy statement on the name change: “The Association’s
Board is solidly committed to facilitating a
change from the name ‘chronic fatigue syndrome' to a name that more accurately
describes the illness and leads to greater acceptance of the illness." This
policy continues to guide Association activities related to the name change.
Although the name of a product or cause is an essential
element of any branding or education campaign, in the case of renaming CFS, the
decision about what to call it must be considered in a broader context. The two
processes – building consensus on a name change and developing a high profile
awareness campaign -- can and should occur simultaneously, as long as there is
continuous sharing of information to maximize the success of both efforts in
enhancing the credibility of CFS.
In fact, when the name is changed, a cohesive multi-media
communications and marketing campaign will be paramount to the public’s
acceptance and adoption of the new term.
For more information about the use of marketing strategies to
influence social and public policy read about a program called
Progress to Power,
written by Rich Neimand of BatesNeimand, a social marketing and political
communications firm, and an article about
an HIV/AIDS campaign, written by Ron Irwin of University of Cape Town School of
Management Studies in South Africa.