|About - Our New Brand||Aligning the Association with the Profession. A new brand for the Registered Massage Therapists' Association. Our history, how we got here and our new look.|
The RMTAO has a very long history and many members are proud of what the name, OMTA represented. The intent of changing the name was not to detract from that history but rather, to open the Association to the many members of the profession who do not share the pride in our name but who do accept the vision that the Board has for the profession and the Association.
While the RMTAO has a growing membership, the reality is that we currently represent approximately 30% of the members of the profession. Our new Flex-membership model has proven very attractive to non-member RMTs; however, many of these individuals are reluctant to become a part of the Association, not because of what we stand for or are currently doing as an organization but because of a negative association they have with the name “OMTA”.
We know that the way in which people react to words, phrases, taglines and names is more often than not emotional rather than rationale. The emotions that are a part of human nature are what make us what we are and by accepting that and moving forward under a new banner and name, we believe we can be more inclusive as an organization.
We considered the appropriateness of changing the name and the message it would be sending to the profession. The RMTAO has committed, as part of the strategic plan, to uniting the profession under the banner of the professional association. However, the perception that many have of the former name, OMTA, has the potential for limiting the success we will have. The name change supports the desire to unite the profession and move it forward. While this is not a certainty with a new name, we do believe it becomes a possibility that otherwise would not exist.
As a part of the strategic planning process, we have developed a brand or visual identity for Registered Massage Therapists’ in Ontario that will be actively promoted in the public domain to get consumers to stop and reconsider the benefits of massage therapy. A change in the name to Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario is a natural fit and link between the profession, the Association and the public.
A key to developing a successful brand is consistency in presentation. The organizations that are working together to support the strategic plan and branding initiative have all agreed to visually share a common brand logo, differentiated by colour. The name change only only further tightens the bond between the practitioners and the Association.
Research that has been conducted as part of the branding process has identified how powerful the ‘Registered’ moniker is in conveying the right messages to the consumer regarding being trained, informed and experts, and also that appropriately differentiates RMTs from non-registered practitioners. We also learned how important it is for RMTs to see themselves, and to be perceived by other healthcare practitioners, as legitimate health care practitioners.
The entire re-branding exercise is designed to get consumers, RMTs and other stakeholders to stop and reconsider the role that massage therapy plays. The changes the Association has made to how it presents itself to the profession are intended to demonstrate a new approach. Changing our name reinforces our commitment to that new approach.
While it may seem obvious to some, we would like to briefly outline the rationale for the new name, Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario.
Registered Massage Therapists – the Association has long held the view, even when standing alone on the matter, that the profession should be referred to as RMT as opposed to MT. We have long held that the public understands and better associates to the words Registered Massage Therapist than simply Massage Therapist.
Therapists’ – The old name was singular in its use of therapist whereas the Board believes the association to be a collection of many individuals and our name should reflect this. In addition, the pluralization of the name has taken the possessive form intending to signify that the association belongs to its members. Our membership is all about “My RMTAO, My Way!” and the use of the possessive pluralisation is reflective of that.
Association/Ontario – The RMTAO is an Association as opposed to an alliance or a union and the name should continue to reflect this. We are based solely in Ontario and believe that this should also continue to be reflected in our name.
In short, we are not abandoning our history. The Association has existed and, as an organization will continue to exist regardless of the name we use. The rich history that we have had, the many successes, will not be forgotten and will always be a proud part of our organization.
On that same note, the experiences and the failures that the RMTAO has had should not and cannot be forgotten. These form as important a part of our history as do our successes. Many might argue that we learn more from having tried and failed than to have not tried or to have had an easy success. We have learned a great deal as an organization and we have grown and evolved. We need to have these experiences at our fingertips and top of mind as they will guide us more surely towards success.
We are not wiping the slate clean or attempting to sweep our history away. We are merely attempting to become a new, more modern association that is recognized as being “of the profession” and “for the profession” in the eye of all professions and the public.
The RMTAO exists in order to advance the massage therapy profession in Ontario. Improvements in the ability of Registered Massage Therapists to provide quality care will improve the health of the people of Ontario whom the profession serves.
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