Use a Rebranding to Announce Member Upgrades

Is it time for your association to rebrand? As an organization changes its look and feel, the timing might be right to announce new member benefits and services too.

A rebrand is an exciting and high-stakes moment for an association. In a push to add new energy or hit the refresh button, associations have to carefully consider how members might react to an updated logo or tagline.

Usually, these moments draw member interest and boost web traffic, essentially shining a spotlight on the organization—which might mean it’s a good time to introduce other big changes as well.

That’s the strategy that Jacinthe Moreau, president of the World Pet Association, is using right now. She’s leading a rebranding effort at WPA that’s more than just a few cosmetic changes.

“The rebranding meant a refresh of our mission, vision, and core values,” Moreau says. “Our new logo has a more modern feel, but I think we also had to look at the association as a whole, leading a modernization effort that ushers in new benefits and services.”

In an August message to members, she announced the new WPA logo along with several new offerings, including a partnership that gives members more insight into market data, a member-to-member consulting service, and an online education platform. These new resources can ride the coattails of the excitement the rebrand is generating, Moreau says.

Market research. Associations typically collect or have access to a lot of data, but Moreau says they have been historically bad at sharing critical business intelligence with members, especially in a way that’s equitable to all.

WPA is looking to remedy that shortcoming with its new market research offering. The alliance with Nielsen, announced in July, gives all members access to reliable market data and forecasting information. “Using some of the Nielsen information, a retailer might be able to change an in-store product mix or adapt to evolving demographics of buyers,” Moreau says.

One-on-one consulting. WPA sees its board of directors as in-house subject matter experts who can help members when they have questions or need consulting. “One of our board members is a researcher who has worked in the pet industry for his entire life and sees this type of work as his way to give back to the industry,” Moreau says. “He works as a knowledge source for members and often provides one-on-one advising about business strategy.” Currently, the service is a value-add service to members, but for another association, it could be a source of nondues revenue.

Online education. Since its creation in 1951, WPA has focused mainly on producing pet events and tradeshows, including its SuperZoo, the largest gathering of pet professionals in North America. It wasn’t until staff began working on the rebranding that the organization considered other types of learning programs and formats.

“With this rebranding effort, we realized WPA should be way more than just a show producer,” Moreau says. “We are now actively working on an online education program that would be geared to adult learners, mainly pet retailers, who are dealing with a lot of change.”

As the industry continues to expand into e-commerce environments, Moreau says she sees a future where WPA could offer accreditation or certification to help independent pet retailers compete with e-commerce behemoths like Chewy and Amazon.

Have you used a rebranding to announce membership upgrades? What services or benefits did you launch during that period of change? Post your comments below.

(eternalcreative/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Tim Ebner

By Tim Ebner

Tim Ebner is a senior editor for Associations Now. He covers membership, leadership, and governance issues. Email him with story ideas or news tips. MORE

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