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3 Associations Who Found Major Success Through Rebranding

While every association’s rebranding journey is different, there’s a lot to be learned from studying others successes.

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Rebranding: It’s one of the most controversial topics to discuss in the association world. The topic of rebranding comes concern from many associations.

For an association looking to rebrand, there are a variety of questions that may scare them off. Will audiences understand the rebrand? Will it attract the same engagement as the old brand? Will long-term members feel bent out of shape with a drastic change?

According to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), there has been a sweeping decline in association memberships. While the decrease could relate to many factors– having an outdated brand could be contributing to the membership decline for some associations.

These are all valid questions to ask yourself if you’re an association in the consideration process of a rebrand. And if you could use some help coming to a decision one way or the other, we’ve got you cover.

That’s right, your association isn’t the first to consider a rebranding. And it definitely won’t be the last.

So, what have other associations like yours experienced in their rebranding process? Have they found success, or was rebranding a mistake? We’re going to look at 3 associations who took the plunge into a rebrand to see how they did it, what they decided to change, and what they decided to keep similar. With these examples, your association should be able to decide for itself if rebranding is the right move for you.


AVIXA- otherwise known as the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association- went through a rebranding last year that was so intriguing, it even caught the attention of Associations Now.

Before AVIXA came to be, it was formerly known as InfoComm International. While the rebranding gifted the association with a catchy new acronym (an acronym they did not have prior to the rebrand), it also marked a new chapter in their success. For AVIXA, the rebrand was a change that seemed to be necessary. After all, the association is geared towards audiences that are attracted to and excited about the audiovisual industry. This means anyone creating content, purchasing technology, or just generally intrigued with audiovisual products. Having AVIXA change their name to better represent their association’s mission was a smart move by the association.

However, the Infocomm name was not entirely abandoned in their rebranding process. Taking into consideration the mass audience that the Infocomm events bring in, AVIXA decided to keep Infocomm attached to its global trade shows. This way, Infocomm can be a separate entity from Avixa and still attract the type of traffic that they always did. So, what can you learn from their rebranding?

If your association is looking for a smooth name change, you need to make sure it matches the needs of your target audience. Will they understand and appreciate the name change? Will it attract a wider audience to your association? Or will it run the risk of confusing people? No matter what your association’s industry is, its name should be a clear reflection of its mission.

2. AMA

Next, let’s take a look at an association that kept the name, but changed the brand identity. The American Marketing Association (or AMA) released the start of its new “Global Brand Identity” in the Spring of 2015. Labeled the “Next AMA”, the project came to fruition some time after, sporting a brand new logo to go along with the changes. When unveiling their rebranding efforts, here’s what writer Adara Bowen had to say:

Since 1937, the AMA has been the pre-eminent force in marketing for thought leadership and valued relationships across the entire marketing community. The new AMA branding reflects our position as the essential community for marketers. The new logo is simple and versatile but embodies the trend forwardness and bias toward action of the AMA community.”

This begs the question: Is your association in need of a new logo? Let’s think about AMA’s logo rebranding before we answer this question. What was their goal in their logo rebranding?

According to their statement, AMA wanted a logo that reflected their versatility and modern mission. With a sleeker logo, AMA appears to be an association that’s up to date with all trends, marketing and otherwise. While this logo change is only a small percent of their rebranding efforts, it speaks volumes to the identity of AMA. Considering their an association that deals heavily with marketing content, online appearance, and general branding, it would make sense that their logo would have to be as innovative as their industry. So, if you’re looking to switch up your logo, there are a few things to take into consideration before making the jump. Will your new logo still be as easily recognizable as its current logo?

You want to make sure your current audiences can still pick out your association’s brand in a sea of other content. With a new logo change, you run the risk of your online content, emails, and other important updates getting lost in confusion by recipients. You also need to ask yourself if the costs of a logo rebrand will be worth the outcome. Creating a new logo can come with a variety of costs. There’s the cost of a graphic designer, updating your website, printing costs of new printouts, advertisement costs, and the list goes on. So, if you’re looking to go through a logo change and need to first make sure it’s the right move for you, take some tips from the AMA rebranding.

3. APT

And finally, we have the rebranding that took NPES (The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies) to APT. APT, or the Association for Print Technologies, recently announced their move to rebrand in January of this year. In fact, the decision to rebrand is so new that the former NPES website is still being transferred over to the new website. NPES rebranded after an 85-year legacy, bringing brand new change in many aspects to the association’s appearance and mission. In fact, when asked about the rebrand, now APT President Thayer Long claimed it to be a pivotal moment, "not just for NPES, but for the entire printing and imaging industry.”

So, what does this rebranding mean for APT? The rebrand is an ode to the association’s traditional Print trade show- which has been around since 1968. It also marks the completion of APT’s “strategic business plan for the industry”, a plan that was eradicated 85 years ago (and as old as the association itself). One of the main changes for APT was its new website, which can offer insight to any association looking to rebrand in a similar manner. That’s why we’d like to take a look at APT’s move to switch over to an entirely new website- while they’re still in the transitional period. If you visit the NPES website- you can still find it up and running. However, it looks entirely different, the home page directing users to a new domain and platform. If tabs are clicked on while still on the NPES domain, it still brings you to information.

This type of switch over is important for audiences looking to learn more about the association while in the midst of its rebrand. NPES makes the smart decision to have both websites running during its transitional period, allowing users to find what they’re looking for while still informing them of the new and upcoming changes. If your association is looking to switch up its entire web presence, it can adopt a similar approach.

Be sure to warn your current and potential new members of any website changes beforehand. Then, while you’re undergoing any website transfers, be sure to keep both websites open and provide a link on your old website that directs audiences to your new one. While every association’s rebranding journey is different, there’s a lot to be learned from studying others successes. We hope these 3 examples of rebranding can help your association make the right decision and find out if a rebrand is the best choice for you.