As many of you have heard, the National Speakers Association (NSA) found itself in hot water recently after attempting to rebrand as “PLATFORM.” The association quickly changed direction when the decision caused controversy from its members and others in the association industry.
What can we learn from this? This blunder reinforces the importance of engaging members in every association-level decision you make, especially a name change. If you’re considering a rebranding of your association, make sure to follow these best practices.
State your reasons and goals of rebranding
Before you even begin thinking of a new name and daydreaming of a new logo and stationary, ask yourself why. Why rebrand? Is there too much confusion revolving around your association name? Has your mission statement changed? Are you expanding to a broader audience? Without a reason, your rebranding will seem unnecessary.
Mention how rebranding will benefit the association
Make sure to list the specific benefits of rebranding your association. Perhaps your association will benefit by gaining new members and expanding networking opportunities? Maybe the association will benefit with more donations by reaching a broader audience? It order to get your members onboard, they need to understand the benefits.
Include your members every step of the way
Most importantly, include your members! Your members want a say in your association decisions and you can gain invaluable insight from them. Include your members from the very beginning by mentioning that you’re considering rebranding the association. Hold focus groups. Send out surveys. Call members. Hold a town-hall-esque meeting to get members involved. Then repeat the process with every decision. Your members will feel valued and you’ll increase engagement.
Rebranding is a big decision that requires time, effort and accountability. By keeping your members involved in the decision process, your association can avoid controversy and focus on moving forward.