At the iO conference in October, the iO announced plans to invest heavily in key projects with the aim to raise public awareness of osteopaths and their role in healthcare. The first phase of this investment in now underway with the appointment of a specialist marketing insight company, to be followed by the appointment of a brand development agency.
This first phase of the project will focus on building a vital understanding of consumer attitudes and behaviour, both with current osteopathic patients, and more importantly with the general public who have no knowledge or experience of osteopathy, to build a core understanding of what will motivate them to take up osteopathic treatment and care.
Maurice Cheng, CEO of the iO explains: “The market studies that the iO and GOsC have done in the last few years indicates that awareness of ‘osteopath’ is low compared to, for example, ‘physiotherapist’, and real understanding of what an osteopath does for patients is even lower. Which goes a long way to explaining why the reach of the profession is to date limited to 10 percent of the population. The great thing is however that among those who have used an osteopath, satisfaction rates are incredibly high, as the NCOR PROMs service continually confirms.”
“For too long the public have, at best, a mixed understanding of osteopaths. We need to deliver to the public a clear and common understanding of what ‘osteopath’ means, based on the positive outcomes they will experience, and we also need to understand what will persuade those that know little about osteopathy to ‘buy’ our services.”
The iO is putting together a steering group of osteopaths to provide advice to the research and brand development team, with the first meeting taking place in April. After that there will be series of focus groups with osteopaths, osteopathic patients and the general public to develop a core ‘brand’ proposition that will resonate with the public, and that the profession can support.
We will keep you updated on progress on this exciting project and evolving findings as we have them.