The Artist Formerly Known As Prince

A gentle rant about the new JDRF branding.

Michelle Alswager BioBy Michelle Alswager

February 2012 — My mind traveled this month to the change in the JDRF branding. More than anything I would love to not spell out or clarify in this column what JDRF stands for because, by rule, JDRF is no longer an acronym for anything. It is no longer the "Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation." Confused? Yeah, me too. While I don't claim to be some nationally acclaimed marketing genius, I am a marketing & events director and I do spend great deal of time thinking through branding strategies for our women's magazine here is Wisconsin. And I can't help but wonder, "What the heck were you thinking, JDRF?!"

I must first admit that I have no idea how they tested this strategy. Maybe they DID bring this to people outside the JDRF who know absolutely nothing about type 1 diabetes. Maybe they did keep in mind corporations that are looking to donate money to certain charities and found out that everyone on the planet already knows what the JDRF is all about — finding a cure for type 1 diabetes. But I'm scratching my head over here. Because when my son was diagnosed, I had never even heard of the JDRF. I jumped in after a little research, not because it was a brand like Coca-Cola or Walmart. Am I wrong here?

It seems to me that when you are responsible for raising funds to cure this damn thing, you have to think about people outside of our tight diabetes world. And it is a bit arrogant to think everyone already knows what the JDRF does. Years ago when I worked for the organization, we went through a branding change because the logo was multi-colored and intricate (read that as expensive). They didn't think through how much it would cost every chapter to change over to expensive paper, envelopes, signage, etc. So when JDRF became a big blue "JDRF," I could live with its lifeless branding because it would save money for this organization. But this change I do not understand.

And lastly during my gentle rant, I would like to say yes, I agree whole-heartedly that we needed to drop "juvenile" from who "we" are. I understand out of respect for the fact that it misleads the world into thinking only kids have type 1 and that they outgrow it. But am I alone in thinking that we could have moved forward as "DRF," which stands for Diabetes Research Foundation? Doesn't that say it all? Heck, JDRF could have picked my brain for free on that one. But I think it's a little awkward to now refer to this great organization as the "Organization formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation." I think a case study on how Prince fared in that concept would have taught the minds at JDRF. That's my point.


dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.

Last Modified Date: July 03, 2013

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