Money & Business

How Associations Are Telling Their Stories

By / Jul 23, 2015 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Take a look at how a handful of associations are trying to better tell their stories. Sometimes it involves a name change, sometimes a refreshed look and feel, and sometimes it may involve adding a new feature or resource.

The Ohio Craft Brewers Association unveiled a new logo this week.

Courtesy of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association

The updated look incorporates a new brand identity for OCBA that is focused on showcasing the “craftiness” of craft beer.

“The bold design has an arts and crafts aura befitting our handmade beer and incorporates symbolic grains and hops, key ingredients to Ohio’s craft brewers,” Mary MacDonald, OCBA executive director, said in a statement. “The logo, combined with the compelling new platform, gives us the tools to communicate the contributions of Ohio’s craft brewers locally, regionally, and nationally.”

In other words, the new logo and design are helping OCBA better tell its story. Because the power of storytelling cannot go underestimated among associations, sometimes a rebrand or change of direction is needed to better clarify what and whom the group represents.

Here’s how a couple of other associations have approached the rebranding process to better tell their stories, as well as a look at how one association didn’t change anything but added a fun resource:

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A Shift in Direction

Last year, the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association went full throttle and not only overhauled its name and look but also changed its story to better resonate with audiences.

“People just did not understand what the aftermarket was, and, consequently, they didn’t understand what our association was,” the group’s senior vice president, Richard White, told Associations Now.

So, after a year and a half of market research, the group changed its name to the Auto Care Association to focus less on the structure of the industry and more on consumers and the value members provide them.

“Whatever role our members play in the industry, they are contributing to taking care of Americans’ automobiles,” White said. “We’re talking about that and putting a human face on our industry, and that is a total change.”

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Back to the Mission

When the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society launched a new fundraising campaign a few years ago, it took the opportunity to change how it represented itself to the public by connecting its mission with its brand identity.

Through its “Someday Is Today” campaign, the group aimed to paint a more cohesive picture of what it does as an organization—working to cure blood cancers—so that when people donated to its various campaigns they would attribute it to LLS.

“We needed a master brand strategy for LLS,” Lisa Stockmon, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at LLS, told Associations Now.

ASRTMuseum1

Not a Rebrand, But …

While it didn’t change its name or logo, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists recently unveiled a new 4,500-square-foot museum at its Albuquerque, New Mexico, headquarters to tell the story of its members and demonstrate the value they bring to society.

“There are various medical imaging exhibits at museums around the world, but no museum really tells the story of the people who produce the X-rays, who operate the equipment, and who really work on the patients,” ASRT CEO Sal Martino, CAE, told Associations Now. “We wanted to tell the story of our members and preserve that history because it really has changed so much—from the 1920s, when they produced images on glass plates, to what most of us remember with doctors putting X-ray film up on a view box, to today where everything is digital.”

If your association is considering a rebrand, here are some tips from others that have gone before you. Have advice on how to tell an organization’s story?  Please share in the comments.

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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