Not Your Grandfather’s CSA!

  • Sibert, Karen, MD, FASA
| Sep 26, 2011

Board of Directors approves “rebranding” concept

Nearly every organization or company decides to update its image and brand from time to time. There’s no need to rush into it. The National Biscuit Company, which was formed in 1898, didn’t officially become “Nabisco” until 1971. Standard Oil, founded in 1870, metamorphosed into “Esso” in the 1940’s, and then into “Exxon” in 1973.

Our own California Society of Anesthesiologists isn’t planning to change its name, but at the September 17 meeting in San Francisco, the Board of Directors agreed that the time has finally come to modernize its image. Our official seal hasn’t changed since 1948. Though many of us are sentimentally fond of our current logo’s California brown bear, we’re embarking on a project to design a crisp new modern logo—the emblem of a professional society of physicians who practice state-of-the-art anesthesiology.

The decision to “rebrand” the CSA isn’t undertaken lightly. For some years, we’ve believed that we need to do a better job with our public relations. Many people don’t even realize that you need to become a physician first before you can become an anesthesiologist. We need to do a lot more to educate patients, other physicians, hospital administrators, and legislators about what we do, so that appropriate value will be assigned to our work.

But the CSA Board believes we need to do the work of “rebranding” before we begin any public relations campaign. A vivid, easily recognizable logo can be replicated everywhere we want the CSA name to appear—on our website, bulletin, brochures for our meetings, emails to legislators, clipboards for all of us to use in the OR, and eventually in ads on websites that our patients use when they’re looking for medical information.

Along with the new logo, we want to launch an accompanying tagline—a succinct phrase that will communicate a single but powerful brand message. A great tagline can really fix itself in your memory. Just think back to these classic examples:

·   “The ultimate driving machine”

·   “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand”

·    “Babies are our business”

·   “We answer to a higher authority”

·   “We bring good things to life”

·    “When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight”

Though we’re not selling cars or candy, we still need to promote ourselves and tell our own story. At its best, a tagline can express the distilled essence of a brand and convince target audience members that it’s good for them to know about it.

Just as we don’t think patients should dictate their own anesthetics, the CSA won’t design its own logo and tagline. The Public Relations Task Force will work with an agency to define what we want and to develop a selection of possible logos and taglines. We’ll present our results at the next Board of Directors’ meeting in January.

Of course, the Board of Directors considered a host of other topics during the two-day September meeting. They worked on budget issues, and are trying to avoid a dues increase for the next fiscal year in the face of rising costs. They discussed ways to increase resident membership and incentivize anesthesia groups toward 100% participation. They heard reports on the nurse anesthesia opt-out and our advocacy efforts in Sacramento and Washington. The future of MD-only practice, which still constitutes the majority of anesthesia care in California, is under increasing economic pressure. Members are divided in their opinions about whether the anesthesia care team—with nurse anesthetists or possibly with anesthesiologist assistants—will become the only financially viable option.

Every anesthesiologist can help. Please renew your CSA membership promptly each year, donate to GASPAC and ASAPAC, and encourage others in your group to do the same. Get involved with your district meetings and CSA committees. And if you think of the perfect tagline for the CSA, please post it as a comment here!

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