Rebranding and How an OMS Practice is like a Bee Hive (episode 101)

06/14/2019 | Podcast

bees on honeycomb

This is a transcript of episode 101 of our podcast Oral Surgery Admin’s Time Out Podcast: Practice Management Success Tips, which you can listen to below or find wherever you listen to podcasts. If you enjoy it, please leave a 5-star review.

Host Audra and Guest Linden discuss how the Society of OMS Administrators rebranded from JAWS Society to Society of OMS Administrators and how the new logo, including the honeycomb icon, was selected.

[ticking clock intro]

[Host Audra Lansdown] Welcome to the Oral Surgery Admin’s Time Out Podcast, for Practice Management Success Tips. This podcast is brought to you by the Society of OMS Administrators.

[energetic break music]

[AL] Welcome! We hope you are having an excellent day and we are glad you have joined us for one of our FIRST podcasts for our Society of OMS Administrators or SOMSA for short.  It is only fitting that we take our first time-out on this podcast journey with a little background and details on how SOMSA came to be and where we hope to take our organization.

[energetic break music]

[AL] Let’s start with introductions for all of our listeners. My name is Audra Lansdown and I’m from College Station, Texas.  I’ve been with Brazos Valley Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery for over 15 years and joined SOMSA in 2015. Currently, I serve as the Vice-President for SOMSA and I also serve on our education committee! I have the pleasure to host with us today, Linden Mueller, our executive director.  Linden, can you please tell us a little about yourself.

[Co-host Linden Mueller] Sure! I’ve been in association management for over 7 years now, and about 6 and half of those have been with SOMSA. Before finding this career, which I really enjoy, I taught university composition and English as a Second Language composition courses to non-native speakers at my alma mater here in Springfield, Missouri, and English as a Foreign Language, grammar and other language acquisition courses at University of Giessen in Germany.

[AL]I guess we want to pull all of our listeners in today and kind of explain a little bit that we’ve recently we have gone through a re-branding campaign.  Formerly known as JAWS, SOMSA was created to reach more Oral & Maxillofacial administrators. This was a difficult decision but ultimately we had exhausted all of our organic resources to expand our membership. The board felt it was necessary to join with a marketing company to help soar to the next level with our membership and our resources. Linden, you were involved in that process. Can you kind of explain a little bit on why we chose to rebrand?

[LM] Yeah, the JAWS name is really meaningful. It’s an acronym for “Joining Administrators With Support,” and it relates directly to the field of work our members are in, which is really great. Our early logo even stylized the J in JAWS to look like the mandible bones.

But it’s too opaque. Potential members and their doctors couldn’t tell exactly what our organization was about from our name, and that really became an obstacle for growth. And we were often confused with that shark movie! [both laugh]

[AL] Good reminder! Linden, I know we went through a campaign to choose, and we ultimately went with a company to choose GPM to become our partner. Can you explain that process and how we became connected with them?

[LM] Yeah, of course, this is such a great story. The Marketing Committee, led by Chair Courtney Schneider of Amarillo Oral Surgery, solicited requests for proposal from several marketing companies, and we heard four pitches last year. It was a difficult decision, but the Marketing Committee recommended Golden Proportions Marketing to the board, and the board accepted the committee’s recommendation. GPM is a full-service marketing company specializing in dental practices, so they are familiar with our industry, and they’ve worked with organizations like ours before. They did some market research for the pitch, and that really impressed the committee and that really made them stand ahead of the other three pitches that we heard.

[AL] I agree, I agree. It was one very nice proposal that the put in front of us. Can you go into how you all went through and chose the logo?

[LM] Well It all started with Courtney and me running a speed-dating style slide show for the Marketing Committee members with logos that GPM had created in the past to help the committee figure out what direction we wanted to go in. The styles and things like that. Then, GPM’s design team presented 8 concepts from our feedback, and from that first round, the committee had narrowed it down to 2 basic designs, the rope design and the honeycomb design is kind of how we talked about it.

From there, we went through weekly reviews and we were presented with 8 concepts each time, and we quickly narrowed down from those two main icons, we really focused in on that honeycomb design. While the committee appreciated the symbolism of the rope tying members across the country together, the symbolism of the honeycomb is a lot richer, and it really resonated a lot more deeply with the committee.

This whole time we were working only in black and white, so everything we saw was always in black and white. And we continued on the next few rounds in black and white and we started considering different fonts and different layouts and where does the icon go in relation to the words? Where should the line breaks in the words go? We really labored over every aspect of the logo! It was actually a really fun process. Our account manager Bess facilitated each voice to be heard and then conveyed that information back to the designer for the next round of designs.

In the last 3 rounds, they finally brought in color, and that’s when we started talking about the pairings of the color and richness of the symbolism behind various combinations and the shades. And then in the very last round, we had settled on orange and blue, and we saw shades of orange and shades of blues and and different combinations of those different shades.

This incremental process was such a fascinating journey to be a part of. I loved seeing the committee members negotiate their feelings about the Society and what it means to them and what they wanted the logo to convey to the outside world through color and font and symbol choices, and then finally agree on a final design.

If it’s okay, I’d like to take a minute to thank everyone who was a part of this process: Michelle Flynn, Ashley Kraussman, Tara Comer, Jill Dunnam, David Nye, and Courtney Schneider who were all part of that Marketing Committee process. We had a final meeting with the board, so I’d also like to thank Keith Miller, Lynn Howard, and you, and Robin Zenz and the late Dana Leach, who were able to join Courtney, Bess, and me on that last minute call so that we could finalize the logo in time to create some promotional items to send off to our booth at AAOMS. Finally I’d like to thank Bess and Brett at Golden Proportions, who patiently guided all of the various voices and opinions along this journey.

[AL] Wow! What a journey! I’m sure our members can now really appreciate the time and consideration that went into this process. It was not an easy or quick process from you’re recounting.

In one of our board calls, I was very impressed with your deep tie to the symbolism of the Honeycomb and since then have connected more and more with the simple hexagon. It’s a representation of far more than just a simple glance. Linden, if you don’t’ mind, do you think you can recapture your conversation that you had previously had with us on that call and share more about what that honeycomb meaning is for, not only you, but kind of your outlook on what guided you through this process.

[LM] Yeah, sure! It really all starts with the shape. The honeycomb is one of the strongest shapes in nature. It supports that very structure that the bees live and thrive in, and it’s actually a very efficient use of space and building materials. There’s a lot of science behind how the bees create that and how they don’t have to expend a lot of energy to create this very supportive structure for them to store their honey and plant their eggs. That’s not quite the right word, but they create their very home and their whole environment with the very basic building block of this honeycomb, hexagon shape that’s very strong.

When you put all those honeycombs together, you get the beehive, and I love the, um, I’m not a practice administrator, I’m an association manager, but I hear a lot about what’s going on in your practices, and I definitely see a parallel between a beehive and an OMS practice. And so I love the symbolism of this honeycomb and the hive for what we do, what our organization is here to provide.

The bees here in their hive all serve a different function, but they’re all working in concert, they’re supporting each other. If every bee is doing their job, that hive works together to produce something, the most visible to us, is something that is really sweet. It’s also healthy, it goes out into the world and makes things better for humans. But also as the bees are working, they spread pollen that allows things to grow and thrive. And without the bees doing that work, then we wouldn’t have flowers and fruits and trees blooming.

The closed shape of the hive symbolizes the togetherness of–and the honeycomb too–symbolizes the togetherness that our organization has and continually seeks to foster within our members. Even though we’re spread out throughout the country, we have this forum that is a beautiful way that we continue to network and educate throughout the year even though we can’t physically be together. And also something we’re trying to seek to help our members build within their practice through tools that we’re working to provide. So we want that togetherness to be present in our members’ practices as well.

The honeycomb connects us to some of the aspects of what bees are known for. They are industrious and they work together. A lot of cooperation is tied into that.

And so there is so much in that symbol that I think our members and our organization can draw from to really connect with and find meaning in that the Marketing Committee, like I said, the symbolism there is a lot deeper than some of the other symbols that we considered. That symbolism is something the Marketing Committee really connected with and just really love about that symbol and hope that we can continue to develop and grow in our organization. Maybe not explicitly, but implicitly through all the services and programs that we’re providing.

[AL] Excellent, Thank you very much! Your passion is just wonderful to listen too! Ultimately, it’s what finalized our design and launch of our new brand and image. It’s just unbelievable the background. It just sets apart and kind of just ingrains more meaning with our members as well.

Furthermore, I think that this has ultimately led the board to kind of start this process of planning for our next strategic meeting to develop the six sides of the honeycomb to represent major areas or strengths required of Practice Administrators that SOMSA speaks to. I’m very excited with our assignment and cannot wait to collaborate with our leaders! I know our team is ultimately always looking for ways to improve or network our members at a different level and this is just what really sets our society apart, especially from an administrative support system.

[AL] Linden, Thank you for joining us today.

[LM] Yeah, you’re welcome!

[energetic break music]

We hope you all have enjoyed learning more about how SOMSA was born and the image behind the name.  We are looking forward to more Oral Surgery Admin’s Time Out episodes with SOMSA. In the meantime, if you are looking to join SOMSA or you’re already a member, you can connect with us online at, where all our member resources are hosted.  Logged in members have access to the webinar library, educational content, our forum and much more.

You can also connect with us on Facebook by searching for Society of OMS Administrators or on Twitter at @somsa_omsadmin.

Thank you for joining us and watch for our next episode, a 2019 conference preview in historic Savannah, Georgia, with Conference Chair David Nye.

[energetic break music]

We hope you have enjoyed this Oral Surgery Time Out podcast brought to you by SOMSA. If you have a Practice Management Success Tip for this podcast, please share by sending it over to the SOMSA office. We look forward to your insight. Thank you!

Our intro sound is Ticking Clock Sound recorded by KevanGC shared under the Public Domain. The other sound you hear in our podcast is Tropic of Cancer 1 by Creative Commons from SoundCloud. It’s a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC 3.0). You can find more information about the license here