Kent S. Greenawalt, President and CEO of Foot Levelers, Inc., in Roanoke, Virginia, has, for years, helped revolutionize chiropractic care by developing and patenting many chiropractic products for everyday patient use.
Now he has embarked on a new project to unite the profession in an effort to change the public’s perception of chiropractic care, once and for all.
Kent Greenawalt founded the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, a nonprofit foundation formed to spearhead The Campaign for Chiropractic.
The Campaign for Chiropractic had its first historic moment on November 8, 2003, when, at the annual Congress of Chiropractic State Associations (COCSA) meeting in Las Vegas, NV, twenty leaders in the chiropractic community agreed to support a united national public relations campaign for the profession. The leaders signed the Declaration of National Public Relations Unity, agreeing to “put the brakes on” and not do any public relations on their own. The leaders then signed the Pledge of National Public Relations Unity that, essentially, “committed us to doing our public relations together,” according to Kent Greenawalt.
In an interview with The American Chiropractor (TAC), Greenawalt discusses the Campaign—how it will work, what it will achieve, and why it will succeed.
TAC: Tell us about The Campaign for Chiropractic.
Greenawalt: The Campaign for Chiropractic is the result of several years’ effort to come together as a profession to reach one goal: to get the public to “go see a chiropractor”.
This requires getting all the “legs of the stool” to support this goal. We need all facets of the profession involved: The doctors, vendors, colleges, and all organizations associated with chiropractic. We also have an army of 20 million patients that can help us get the word out about the benefits of this great profession.
TAC: What are the reactions, so far, from chiropractors about the Campaign?
Greenawalt: The Campaign has gotten overwhelming support from individual practitioners, the associations, colleges, publications and vendors. It has received both financial and in-kind support to help make the Campaign a success.
TAC: Some years ago, the International Chiropractic Association (ICA) and American Chiropractic Association (ACA) tried to accomplish more or less the same thing. How do you think people perceive this attempt now?
Greenawalt: I believe that, due to the current state of the profession, people are realizing the time is now to finally work together to get something done. The fact that the profession couldn’t agree on how it should be done before is the reason The Campaign for Chiropractic can succeed. For this campaign, we’ve taken a business approach. The Campaign for Chiropractic is being run by public relations experts, not by chiropractors. And they’ve done the research to support the campaign strategy. This time, we are going to let the experts help us do the job. We are doctors, not public relations or marketing experts; and we need the help of professional PR firms with this effort.
TAC: Up to this point, have you received a lot of support and/or donations from the profession?
Greenawalt: Initially, large financial donations have been made by Mark Sanna of Breakthrough Coaching and by Joseph Doyle of the Doyle Group, which publishes Chiropractic Economics. Dynamic Chiropractic has committed space to regular coverage of The Campaign. Many recurring and one-time donations have been made by practitioners and organizations. We have received international support from Canada, Germany, and Norway. Can you believe that they want to help us with a U.S.A. campaign?
Currently, announcements are very close to being made on a number of six-figure pledges. We are so grateful for the leadership that has inspired these contributions, and we are sure this is only the beginning of a consistent flow of support from the entire profession.
TAC: Do you feel that, this time, an attempt in uniting the profession is going to work?
Greenawalt: This is a first step. We have agreed that we all want to serve more patients. We are working toward that goal. Based on the response to date, I am very optimistic about this campaign. But it is up to the profession, as a whole, to cultivate a larger vision and commitment to the future of chiropractic. It will take all of us making a long-term commitment to make this campaign succeed.
TAC: What will Foot Levelers, in organizing this campaign, specifically get out of it?
Greenawalt: All boats rise on a high tide. Foot Levelers is part of the chiropractic profession. When the profession grows, we all grow. The whole point of this campaign is to ensure the health and future of the chiropractic profession and increase our market share. All will benefit: individual practices, chiropractic colleges, associations, publications, and vendors.
TAC: What’s your specific motivation?
Greenawalt: Results. We’ve been a profession for 110 years. We get negative press, see far fewer people than we should, and we don’t let the world know how good we are. It’s been too long with too little results in being properly recognized and respected. Let’s change that.
TAC: Were any of the findings of the PR company (about the public opinion) a surprise to you?
Greenawalt: The public lacks information on chiropractic. They haven’t gotten the right message and that’s why it’s worth it for us to work so hard to change public perception. Knowing what the survey results were just makes it essential, in my mind, to get the message out about the good that chiropractic does and get more people into chiropractic clinics to experience it for themselves.
TAC: What are the first public actions to be taken to prove the value of chiropractic treatment to the public? TV, radio, newspapers, what about the internet?
Greenawalt: The campaign will be multi-tiered and multi-yeared. There will be three components: national, local, and fundraising. As we’ve already pointed out, we are trusting the experts to design and execute the strategy; but I fully expect that all three components will be going on at the same time.
Of course, national, regional, and local media outlets as well as the Internet will be involved. But we will defer to the firms to communicate the strategy and to execute it.
The Previous Nationwide Campaign Promoters ACA/ICA Talk about their Experience with the Alliance for Chiropractic Progress Campaign (1996-1999)
What the experience taught the profession and how the knowledge gained then can be applied in future campaigns, to obtain the desired results.
Quote by The International Chiropractic Association (ICA)
“ICA stepped forward and invested upwards of $1 million in the Alliance for Chiropractic Progress, and that joint project taught us that, even with ten times the budget, chiropractic could never buy enough advertising to break through into the broad public awareness we all sought to do. What ICA sees as the most practical route to using the media to educate the public about chiropractic is a regular stream of high-profile, positive stories and an aggressive placement strategy.”
Ronald M. Hendrickson
Quote by The American Chiropractic Association (ACA)
“A lot of hard work went into (the campaign), but at that time it was difficult to come up with a package that could be utilized by the entire profession, because we were unable to reach a consensus on some of the marketing strategies,” noted Dr. Reeve Askew, former ACA executive committee member and Alliance steering committee member. “The concept was good, but the implementation was very difficult at times due, in part, to different ideologies and philosophies.”
TAC: Many years ago, the dentistry industry did a similar PR Campaign to the point where everybody needs to go twice a year to the dentist for preventive care. What are lessons we can learn from them?
Greenawalt: It’s an excellent example of what can be done with chiropractic. Have you tried getting an appointment with a dentist? Their practices are very busy with patients seeking dental care. Their message was heard.
In the chiropractic profession, our research is strong, our results are excellent, we are effective in what we do, and we are safe. People need to know that.
TAC: I think everybody has these questions on their mind; how much is this going to cost, and how long can we continue?
Greenawalt: We don’t want anyone to be misled. Professional public relations services cost money. We are looking at seven-figure budgets on an annual basis to start with. We want to raise two million dollars the first year to do the work that has to be done. And, over the course of the campaign, it goes up each year to $12,000,000 in the fifth year.
Advertising costs a lot more, that’s why we have to rely on positive public relations. And to get that, we need everyone contributing as much as they can on a regular basis. It needs to be built into their budget as a normal cost of doing business.
We need to continue this type of support forever. This is a long-term effort to better an entire profession. We can’t turn our effort on and off like a light switch. You don’t say, “I’m going to take care of my health for five years and then quit doing it and see what happens.” The reality is, I’m going to take care of my health forever, because I know that’s going to enable me to accomplish everything else. It has to be in our DNA to take care of this profession—to help it grow and prosper.
TAC: Is there any other incentive for the chiropractors who donated, besides the exposure?
Greenawalt: The incentive is in having all of the legs of the stool win. The incentive is having chiropractors caring for more patients, chiropractic colleges increasing their enrollments, and chiropractic vendors selling more supplies because the practices are growing. This campaign is not about instant gratification, it is about a bigger and better vision for the profession.
TAC: Any final words for our readers?
Greenawalt: Yes. Support The Campaign for Chiropractic! We need you! Commit yourself today to being part of this campaign. Just like you pay your light bill and your rent, commit today to giving $100 a month to the campaign, because it’s a normal cost of doing business. Get out your credit card and make a financial commitment to The Campaign for Chiropractic.
Call the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, 1-800-777-4860, to commit your support.
You may contact the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress toll free at 800-777-4860 or by email at [email protected]. Donations by check are payable to the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress and should be mailed to the Foundation at P.O. Box 12611, Roanoke, VA 24027-2611. Donations also may be made with major credit cards.