Rebranding has a reputation for being one of the scariest terms spoken in marketing. You see, our brand is all about our organization's identity, and having to think about evolving the very fabric of our world, can be super intimidating. Yet, when we have entered the rebrand zone, it is tough to ignore we're there. As a result, our organizations find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. We don't want to change and are comfortable with the status quo. However, everything around us is screaming, "It is time!
Associations experience this irresolute branding crossroad like no other sector. The industry is filled to the brim with organizations that have existed for decades and sometimes centuries. Their staying power makes it easy to resist the need for different, and yet, they have arrived at the corner of "do or die," requiring a change if they are going to relish the decades ahead. Communities have been formed, memberships developed, and missions articulated to the masses. So, how do we know the solution is a rebrand? How can we be sure it is the answer that will revere our history while driving us into a fruitful future?
Let's look at some tell-tale signs that a rebrand is indeed the resolution and just what your association needs to continue forging the mission ahead. First, if your organization is on a downward contribution or membership slope, it might be time to relook at your brand. The role of any association is to ensure you are always in tune and in step with your membership and their dynamic universe. You may have lost your relevance and ability to relate to your audience. Time and trends have modified their acquired taste, and your association is no longer the flavor of the day.
Change is the only constant.
So, do you know the impacts of your constituents' constant and its effects on your position in their lives? If this is not on your radar, your brand has fallen "behind the eight ball," and you have some catching up to do.
Then there's tech. It's reported that every few seconds, new technology advances or develops. Associations may believe that this progress doesn't have much to do with them, but it's everything. Technological growth could be competition, providing the relief or service you currently give to your audience. It could also support your work, allowing you to show up and serve your members better. Technology improves our efficiency and quality of production. Each of these aspects touches the brand.
If your association isn't contemplating how technology might transform the organization and your audience, you're missing a critical factor for rebrand consideration.
Another area to review is your non-due revenues. Associations should evaluate the performance of their conferences and events, professional development opportunities, publication sales, and other programs and services. If there is a decline occurring, we may just have a brand issue at hand. We don't want to ignore that something is amiss. Rethinking and repositioning what we do and how we do it may be the required order of the day.
Take a step back to reevaluate the intent and purpose of each non-dues revenue line item. Does the approach, the package, the offering serve your members still, or is it only serving the org? If you are the only beneficiary, a rebrand can help.
Lastly, if your association is entering the blue ocean of a new audience, you need a rebrand. Your brand was initially designed to appeal to a specific market. The visuals, the name, the message were all formulated to resonate with a particular audience. As a result, when you decide you want to change or reach a new market, your brand and messaging will need to change along with it.
For example, if your association is traditionally a national brand, but the organization has decided to traverse international borders, you can not enter new territories with the same approach. Instead, you must rework your brand to resonate with your current audience and draw in new ones.
Though rebrands are scary, there are critical times in our organization's journey that they become necessary. It is here that you want to ensure fear doesn't get the upper hand. With the right guide, rest assured, your organization and those you serve won't regret it!