Membership

A Successful Rebrand Better Reflects Current and Future Members

By / Sep 21, 2021 (scyther5/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

With an eye on attracting a new generation of members and more effectively representing existing ones, the Massachusetts Society of CPAs updated its acronym and logo. Getting stakeholder buy-in and other strategies helped the process go off without a hitch.

Looking to make itself more relevant to a younger generation of CPAs and set itself apart from other groups with a similar acronym, the Massachusetts Society of CPAs (previously MSCPA) recently launched its new acronym, MassCPAs, and logo.

MassCPAs has put a lot of energy into engaging with high school and college students so they are attracted to the CPA profession at an early age. “With new generations of CPAs entering the profession, we thought now was a good time to refresh our look and make sure we can continue to grow and evolve while we’re bringing these new up-and-coming CPAs into our profession,” said Elizabeth Emanuelson, MassCPAs’ senior director of communications.

Buy-In Is Key

MassCPAs works to get its members in the press to promote the CPA brand, but using the old acronym was confusing because other groups had the same one, like Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other state CPA societies. MassCPAs worked with a branding company to make the change but also realized, “It can’t be on us to make this change,” Emanuelson said.

So, the group gathered key stakeholders, including members, the board, and committee members who represent various demographics within its membership to participate in focus groups and surveys. They presented several ideas to them and asked them to vote on the ones they liked the best. “It was a little bit scary because we’ve always been MSCPA,” Emanuelson said. “Looping in those key stakeholders from the beginning and having them be a part of the process reassured us we were making the right decision.”

A Modern Visual Identity

Members liked that the new brand made it easier to immediately understand what MassCPAs is and what it represents. They also liked the new logo’s “M” graphic, which can be animated, making the brand more visible on social media platforms where future generations of CPAs are interacting online.

The new visual identity is modern and better represents who MassCPAs is, Emanuelson said, which is helpful as the group continues to build a robust and diverse accounting pipeline of future leaders. “Our profession—all professions—are evolving,” she said. “It’s on us to make sure that we are also evolving and continuing to develop programs to help our members grow, so we can continue to attract the best and the brightest to the profession.”

While changes like this can sometimes provoke pushback from stakeholders, that didn’t happen this time. Making it clear from the beginning that they weren’t changing the full name of the organization and that it was just a change to the acronym and logo helped. “Making sure we were transparent and getting buy-in from key stakeholders was huge for our success,” Emanuelson said.

Getting advice from other associations and state CPA societies that had rebranded was also important. The groups shared with Emanuelson their own rebrand communications, what worked and what didn’t on their own campaigns, and gave her candid feedback.

The new brand increases MassCPAs relevance for future generations of CPAs and is a better reflection of the people it represents. “Now we look as progressive as our organization truly is,” Emanuelson said.

Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. More »

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