ACA Brand Relaunch Aims to Set a Higher Standard for Chiropractic Care

Four key findings from the ACA’s Brand Study are revealed. ACA President, David Herd, DC spoke with SpineUniverse about encouraging consistent, evidence-based care as part of the association’s goals.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) launched its new brand in September 2017. The new brand is guided by results of an intensive survey to understand pitfalls, perceptions, and opportunities within the chiropractic profession.
woman undergoing a chiropractic treatment“We want to change people’s impression of what a good chiropractor is,” stated ACA President David Herd, DC. Photo Source: brand launch means more than simply updating the organization’s look and feel.

“We want to change people’s impression of what a good chiropractor is,” stated ACA President David Herd, DC.

Perception and Reality: Taking a Closer Look at Chiropractic and the ACA

After performing a complete strategic review in 2015, the ACA set its sights on a comprehensive brand study that analyzed how the ACA is perceived and trends in the chiropractic profession as a whole.

To procure this information the ACA sent an extensive survey to its membership. After surveying its members, the ACA hired a third-party branding consultant to identify and interview people belonging to the ACA, non-members of ACA who worked in the chiropractic profession, and people outside of chiropractic to understand their perceptions of the profession.

Results of ACA’s Brand Study Reveals Divide Among Practitioners

The brand study revealed 4 key findings about the chiropractic profession and the ACA:

  1. Chiropractic has a long history of intra-professional fighting over treatment philosophy, making the goal of total professional unity unachievable.
  1. The profession is very insular and has an underdog mindset, which is holding it back.
  1. The wide variances in quality and treatment options for patient care leave consumers and other health care professionals confused and without a clear and consistent patient expectation.
  1. By reinventing itself with substance, a positive tone, and clear language, the ACA has an opportunity to elevate members and move the profession forward. This also results in the public having clear expectations of and greater confidence in ACA chiropractors.

Consistent Care Begins with Evidence-Based Practice

Commenting on the first finding about conflicting treatment beliefs among chiropractors, Dr. Herd said the basis of the infighting is on how closely chiropractors should follow the pillars upon which it was founded.

“A large segment of our profession clings tightly to chiropractic’s dogmatic founding principles, no matter what evidence shows in the 21st century,” Dr. Herd stated. “The infighting is between those who want the profession to move forward versus those who want it to stay based on the philosophy built in 1895 when the profession was founded. We should honor the past but not allow it to stand in the way of providing better care for our patients.”

When asked how he sees ACA’s brand relaunch changing the chiropractic profession, Dr. Herd said it will force decision making on the part of ACA member chiropractors.

“They are going to become more and more aware of what the evidence is saying because we are going to spread that message,” Dr. Herd said. “There’s good evidence for chiropractic care. Our members know there’s evidence, but they need more information about how to translate that evidence into practice, so they can apply it regularly in their treatment. We want to ensure there’s a consistent experience for consumers when they go to chiropractors.”

Putting the Brand Findings into Practice

While creating consistency and alignment across the entire chiropractic profession is the ultimate goal, the ACA will start with its membership. Communicating the appropriate information to its members, so they can provide quality, consistent care is a first step. Also, the ACA is inviting its members to sign its Pledge of Professional Values to show the public and health care community that they are following rigid standards rooted in evidence.

A foundational concept of ACA’s brand relaunch is the push for chiropractors to adopt rigid standards and outcomes-driven practice—and Dr. Herd said it’s been met with push back from some in the chiropractic profession. But, the focus away from the founding chiropractic principles and toward evidence-based practice is meant to align, not divide, he said.

“It’s not designed to punish or belittle any particular chiropractic group,” Dr. Herd explained. “It’s to set a standard—to raise the standard. If we improve our image and credibility, we’ll lift all boats in the profession.”

Updated on: 09/17/19
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