Diabetes Awareness Month…..Is the Outside World Learning Anything?

Blue squareNovember is Diabetes Awareness Month and the 14th is designated as Word Diabetes Day.  It’s my understanding that the American Diabetes Association designated one and the International Diabetes Federation designated the other…..and it was so declared.

I think.

Now I love ‘branding’.  I love that I know what Nike means, what Polo means, and what the golden arches of McDonalds mean.  One brand means one thing.  As a diabetes community, have we missed the mark in this regard?  I mean what is the one message we want to get out in November.  In branding, you establish something that is instantly recognizable to the general public and you work hard (and sometimes billions of dollars) to ‘make that brand work’.

Remember the ice bucket challenge.  After that, everyone ran around searching for, and trying to be, ‘the next’ ice bucket challenge.  Never quite understood that because the major organizations ALL HAVE MARQUEE fundraising events that raise hundreds of millions dollars each and every year…..they already are ‘the next thing’.  A ‘next’ anything, for them, does not need to be created…….they have one already in walks and rides.  Build upon what you have.

Now I’m surely for the notion that everyone wants to ‘get involved’ and do their own thing.  But I also know that we, as a community, are constantly reflecting upon the fact that there are so many identity problems in the world of diabetes.  And during this month so many people are trying, and/or, doing their own thing that I ask, “Is the world at-large hearing or seeing one concise messaging?”  In the attempt for so many to ‘improve’ upon a blue color, or get a message out, or be the ‘cute’ new thing about diabetes that there is SO MUCH going on, the public is not hearing any message at all?

If you try to be everything to everyone, you usually end up nothing to anyone.  I have been thinking about this for a while and I have an idea.

The IDF conference, next month, is in Vancouver.  November, as diabetes month, is a full 30 days in length.  Why is there not a meeting among the tri-powerful JDRF, ADA, and the IDF; but every other organization is invited also.   In actuality, would it be wrong to have/create a diabetes council?  One representative of every organization and everyone meets at the IDF Conference and the ADA conference—twice a year.  And at this meeting, every organization is equal.

Actually this can be good for a lot of reasons but one focus could be……what is the single message needed to get out the following November?  The first half of the meeting a discussion is held and ideas are thrown about what the message would be for diabetes Awareness Month.  The list is whittled down to a few single messages, and a vote is taken and the one single message is decided.  After November, everyone can go back to doing their own thing but for one month, one message.

And that’s it.

Because the resources of the JDRF, ADA, and IDF are bigger than, well probably everyone else, they accept the challenge (on a rotation basis) to come up with that year’s creative (the design) but there are also some pretty creative people in our community and perhaps they can be asked to be part of the design team because after all, it will belong to all of us in the community.  The  message is generic, but here is the thing, there is a space for ALL ORGANIZATIONS to brand it themselves.  No matter how big or how small the organization, you can add your logo, your website, and/or your phone number to the art design with the generic message.

Now for thirty days straight, the message is the same.  The exact same. Unified. Everyone has been part of the process.  But the world-at-large is now seeing the ONE MESSAGE about diabetes that has been agreed upon by the entire diabetes community for that year.

Why try it?

Well, we all have been doing our own thing for so long, and I’m unsure what impact there really has been over the years for THE OUTSIDE WORLD to understand this disease; perhaps trying something else and working toward a unified message……well maybe that time has come……what do you think?

I am a DiabetesDad.
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