Over the last several years, members, volunteer leaders, and staff of the Awards and Recognition Association realized there was a shift occurring in their industry—one that would alter the association’s name and brand.
Originally an industry devoted to awards and recognition products (e.g., trophies, plaques, and medals), it had expanded to use personalization techniques to decorate not only awards, but gifts, signage, apparel, and even housewares. But those prospective members who didn’t “do awards” also didn’t see the association as their home.
After numerous discussions with a wide variety of industry stakeholders, ARA staff and volunteer leaders developed an ambitious plan to rename and rebrand the association that would better reflect the industry’s new reality. It was decided to anchor the renaming and rebranding with a new visual identity and a redesigned website to create excitement around the association.
Work began in 2014 and concluded in June 2015 when the association officially launched as the Awards and Personalization Association.
When it became evident that discussions at the board level were moving forward, a rebranding committee was created to serve as the volunteer leadership on the project. Staff and an outside agency conducted interviews with members and nonmembers to gather perceptions of the association, and the agency presented concepts on a brand promise, a position statement, and other collateral to the staff and volunteers.
Following board and committee approval, members voted in favor of the new brand and name, and staff and volunteers began to develop the association’s new web presence, which launched in June.
The renaming and rebranding has created renewed energy and added excitement about the organization’s present and future. Staff members report a palpable vibrancy that they feel in every interaction with members. In addition, there has been organic interest in the association’s trade show and expo, membership, and other offerings. Email open and click rates are up, social media engagement has increased, and the new website is giving the association a presence that has enhanced its visibility and ability to effectively engage with the awards and personalization industry.