On Monday, June 1, 2015, the International Association of Business Communicators will launch a new brand after a year and half of dedication by a terrific group of volunteers and with the support of creative agency, Arcas Advertising. I was honoured to lead this effort.

On Monday, many will focus on a new look and logo, but I want to remind everyone that a brand is so much more. For me, a brand is a promise of who we are and how we deliver. The logo and visual identity is about how we look consistently like one team, but there are many elements of our new brand guidelines that highlight who we are, what makes us unique, our convictions and our behaviors as an association representing thousands of communication professionals around the world. That's why I wanted to remind you of our journey.

Research

Our team embarked on a year of research to inform our brand direction. Research included e-surveys with chapter leaders; 1:1 interview with members and non members including competitive associations; an assessment of the existing brand and adoption; and a Brand Camp workshop with global perspectives during last year's conference.

The research told us that IABC and its brand seemed old-fashioned, unfocused, and not proactively international enough. Chapter leaders told us that they struggled with expressing their culture diversity within the existing basic guidelines that simply covered instructions for the logo. IABC seemed stuck in the past, versus poised for the future. The research also told us that we had an opportunity to change these perceptions.

Alignment

The research and exposure to the IABC 2014-2017 strategy helped us create the brand platform from which all other elements were built. The logo and visual identity created by Arcas are not just pretty pictures and designs, they will help us tell our story. Our new value proposition, shared values, brand personality and tone of voice will help IABC share what makes it unique from other associations. I've always believed that this integration is key to creating a brand that sticks and is credible.

Adoption

Brand adoption takes time and resources. We're giving IABC and its chapters/regions one year to fully adopt the new brand. On June 1, 2015, IABC is ensuring that all high-traffic, customer-facing sites will convert to the new visual identity. All newly produced communication vehicles will use the new guidelines. But some materials, reports and invoices may take longer. With many chapter and region boards turning over, it will take even longer to fully adopt the new guidelines. Be patient. There is a plan and we feel strongly that chapters/regions should own their local launch plans since they know their members and resources best.

That being said, I know that a measure of our brand success will be consistency. I also believe that the new guidelines will give our chapters/regions the freedom to celebrate their diversity with our brand framework.

Thank you!!
Thanks to everyone involved in this effort including:

  • Those that contributed to our research, including IABC members, chapters/region leaders, and board members from the Global Alliance, who shared their feedback candidly;
  • The International Executive Board, especially Robin McCasland and Russell Grossman, ABC, for supporting this effort and giving us access to the strategy;
  • IABC Staff, including Carlos Fulcher and Melissa Dark, ABC for their active involvement from the beginning;
  • The IABC Brand Taskforce - Maliha Aqeel, Zora Artis, Bonnie Cave, Dianne Chase, Maria Constantinescu, Alain Legault, Sharon Habib, Tessa O'Neil, Mike Jenkins, and Megan Wolfinger for their hard work and for caring so much; and

Arcas Advertising and Mike Woroniak from Regina Saskatchewan, Canada for some of the best branding work I've ever seen from a creative agency.

I have to tell you that I'm really proud of the work that been done. It's amazing what is possible when people with varied opinions collaborate toward a common goal. Remember, the brand is a promise of who we are and how we deliver. Our brand launch is just the beginning. How we bring the brand to life through visuals, words, programming and behavior is what gets me excited about the future of IABC.

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