June 9, 2016

How to Survive Rebranding Your Association

How to Survive Rebranding Your Association

Rebranding your entire association probably makes you feel a little uneasy. You’ve heard the horror stories, seen the failures and know the work that goes into it. With the rise of millennials entering the workforce, some associations may need to revamp. Rebranding isn’t for everyone, it isn’t appropriate for everyone, and it isn’t necessary for everyone. If you think that your association may need to embark on this journey, there is a process that goes with it. Like humans, some associations want to reinvent themselves overtime. Come join me down the rabbit hole that is rebranding.

Simply put, rebranding is a lot of work.

It’s a strategic growth initiative that should be taken extremely seriously. The end goal of rebranding should be to conquer new markets through updated initiatives. The first call-to-action is to create a rebranding strategy and properly delegate tasks. To effectively rebrand your association, you will need to revamp everything. It’s not enough to just create a fun, new logo or slogan. If your association is looking to truly rebrand, it will need to reevaluate its core. This includes the mission statement that runs your association. Maybe your association doesn’t recognize the same code of ethics it did 30 years ago - that’s ok. It’s important to regroup so that your association understands what target market it is going to reach. Once your association's core has been reworked, you can focus on updating the logo, slogan, website and marketing materials.

For many associations, changing its formal name is not practical. It takes a lot of capital to properly advertise and promote this change - and most don’t have the cash. Without properly marketing this name change, it could be self-sabotaging. However, if the new name will better exemplify your association’s mission, then the name change could be extremely beneficial.

To make this initiative successful, you will need to get everyone on board, and I mean everyone.

Board members, senior leadership and last but not least: members. These individuals will have to wholeheartedly agree on the major shift that is occurring within their organization - or else it just won’t work. You don’t want to deter your current members due to the shifting winds blowing through your organization.

One of the best ways to accelerate your rebranding success is to schedule a formal launch date. This will not only set an internal deadline, but your members will be able to anticipate the impending change. This will be the date that all association materials should be updated and ready to go-live.

As stated before, rebranding isn’t necessary for every association. However, those that want to engage a younger demographic may need to switch things up. By creating a definitive rebranding strategy, your entire staff will remain on the same page throughout the transition. It’s important to remain transparent and keep all lines of communication open. Nobody wants to be blindsided.

To learn more about how millennials are changing the assoication space, take a look at our blog: Engaging Millennials - Your Association's Future.