Public relations has not always been the chiropractic profession's strong suit, a shortcoming that has subjected the profession to countless attacks on its legitimacy and seemingly perpetual confusion among the public and the health care world as to the skills and services doctors of chiropractic provide.On the flip side, chiropractic detractors have utilized effective PR campaigns to paint an often-ugly portrait of the profession; think AMA, the Chiropractic Stroke Victims Awareness Group and numerous others.
But in 2003, chiropractic began fighting back with a unified PR campaign by the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. Spearheading that campaign, which has generated billions of media impressions advocating the benefits of chiropractic care and encouraging people to visit a chiropractor, is CPR Strategic Marketing Communications and its co-founders, Laura and Joseph Carabello – Dynamic Chiropractic's People of the Year for 2014.
Facing a Fragmented Future
Prior to 2003, the chiropractic profession consisted of several professional organizations that employed fragmented public-relations efforts, yielding little to no success. This disorganized effort left the profession without a voice in the marketplace. Then on Nov. 8, 2003, all major national chiropractic associations, including the International Chiropractors Association, American Chiropractic Association, Congress of Chiropractic State Associations, Association of Chiropractic Colleges, Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research, National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards and a number of colleges, signed two distinct proclamations under the title, "Pledge of National Public Relations Unity."
The following statement was derived from the proclamations: "THEREFORE, we solemnly declare and resolve that: We have one unified message: To get the general public to 'go see a chiropractor.'" The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP), founded by Kent S. Greenawalt as a national, not-for-profit organization committed to generating positive press for the chiropractic profession, earned the endorsement of the group to pursue this collective goal.
CPR Brings Much-Needed Change to Chiropractic
In 2006, the F4CP recognized that in order to accomplish its mission, it needed professional public-relations support, and retained the services of CPR Strategic Marketing Communications. The experience of CPR co-founders and expert public-relations and marketing analysts, Laura and Joseph Carabello, was a perfect complement to the health-related, chiropractic campaign.
For more than 30 years, Laura Carabello, principal and chief creative officer of CPR, has been recognized as an entrepreneur and strategy consultant in both domestic and international businesses related to health care and technology. She has particular interest in medical travel, health care / health care information technology, managed care and employee benefits, pharmaceuticals, and other business-to-business and direct-to-consumer health care and technology companies. She has been instrumental in the growth and development of companies worldwide.
Joseph Carabello, CPR president and CEO, also has more than 30 years of professional experience in a broad range of developmental and operational activities relating to domestic and international marketing and marketing communications, spanning health care, managed care, e-business and technology sectors. His efforts are focused on developing key relationships with industry leaders and managing operations.
After a preliminary meeting with F4CP chairman Kent Greenawalt, CPR had a better understanding of the genuine need for public relations regarding chiropractic and made the decision to provide its services pro bono. From that day forward, the F4CP campaign would never be the same – for it would soon be positioned as a dominant player in positively shaping public perception about chiropractic care.
Once a working relationship was formally established, CPR (aka the Carabellos) advised the F4CP to initiate a monthly press campaign, including the following activities:
- Press releases distributed to thousands of news outlets via Business Wire
- Print advertorials distributed to thousands of prominent news outlets
- Television public-service announcements distributed to more than 1,000 stations
- Radio public-service announcements distributed to over 5,000 stations
- Social syndications distributed to hundreds of social media sites
- Advertisement campaign running 4x monthly in newspapers, including the The Wall Street Journal
CPR played an instrumental role in activating the entire campaign, influencing frequency, topic selection, production and distribution. CPR also provided office space to the marketing director of the F4CP to facilitate further direction and support.
In 2009, CPR advised the F4CP to formulate an initiative targeting the employer space. Having extensive background and connectivity in this sector, CPR introduced an employer campaign that consisted of the development of white papers and cost-effective sponsorships of exhibits and speakers at premier conferences nationwide. Over the years, this campaign has gained the attention and respect of many state and national chiropractic organizations, as well as health care and business leaders outside of the profession.
Recently, the Institute for HealthCare Consumerism, a well-respected organization serving all facets of the health care and employer industries, honored F4CP chairman Kent Greenawalt for his tremendous influence in the employer space, specifically crediting him for the introduction of chiropractic to its stakeholders. This level of credibility and success can be largely attributed to CPR.
CPR also helped the F4CP build relationships outside of the employer space. In 2011, the F4CP established its first corporate sponsor, Dillard's Department Stores. The major retail chain, with 300-plus stores nationwide, sponsored the F4CP at the 2012 Parker Seminars in Las Vegas. At the event, Dillard's hosted a fashion show and onsite beauty boutique. Dillard's donated 10 percent of all proceeds made during the event to the F4CP. Following this landmark event, the relationship between Dillard's and the F4CP continued to mature.
A more recent attempt, and likely to be one of the most successful, to build external relationships was the development of Athletic TIPS. Conceptualized solely by CPR, Athletic TIPS is a national, not-for-profit organization that drives expanded education and awareness around the role of multidisciplinary care in the recognition, management and prevention of sports-related injuries.
Unlike any other program in the marketplace, Athletic TIPS trains doctors of chiropractic to conduct community workshops nationwide on the following topics: preventing dehydration and heat-related conditions, nutrition in sports management; recognizing, managing and preventing musculoskeletal injuries; and concussion recognition and prevention.
Since its initial launch, Athletic TIPS has trained more than 200 doctors of chiropractic to conduct community workshops; conducted community workshops on sports-related concerns to nearly 1,000 coaches nationwide; developed an interactive online platform; and partnered with the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL), as well as several national and state chiropractic associations.
CPR Spearheads F4CP Milestones
Under the guidance of CPR, the F4CP has experienced tremendous growth in terms of influential initiatives, positive press generation and widespread support. The following timeline demonstrates the foundation's ever-progressing success, attributable in large part to the direction and vision of CPR:
- 2009: 500 million media impressions; 1,298 members
- 2010: 1 billion media impressions; 1,845 members
- 2011: 3.5 billion media impressions; 2,274 members
- 2012: 31 billion media impressions; 2,538 members
- 2013: 31+ billion media impressions; 4,523 members
In addition to individual members, the F4CP is supported by every national chiropractic organization, along with a majority of the chiropractic colleges, 45-plus state associations and many chiropractic vendors.
CPR Creates Chiropractic Voice
Nearly a decade later, CPR continues to help facilitate growth and solidify the future of the chiropractic profession at no cost. Some of the most recent projects that demonstrate CPR's commitment are the new aggressive ads, nationwide DC directory and the "Recommend One" student recruitment initiative.
One contribution worth noting was the seamless coordination and conduction of several focus groups nationwide to gain public feedback related to chiropractic advertisements. Based on these discussions, CPR advised the F4CP on the transformation of its national ads. With the added support of ChiroTouch and Modality Partners, there are now over 30 powerful ads available to the chiropractic profession. Also per the recommendation of CPR, all new ads feature the DC directory URL to support increased national traffic into chiropractic offices.
The ongoing contribution of CPR has allowed the F4CP to consistently generate successful initiatives and increase media impressions that garner support and advancement opportunities.
Today, the F4CP is able to leverage its credibility and long-standing influence to expose the entire chiropractic profession – national and state associations, colleges, doctors, students and vendors – to new opportunities across all sectors of the marketplace.
In 2014, the chiropractic profession consists of several professional organizations, but only one public-relations effort. Thanks to CPR, this effort has been strategic and consistent, and has created a powerful voice for the profession in the marketplace.
As a special thank you to CPR, Dynamic Chiropractic presents Joseph and Laura Carabello with its "Person of the Year" award in honor of their tremendous impact on the advancement of both the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress and the chiropractic profession.