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Branding 101

Is your association's brand up to date?

For 130-plus years, the Entomological Society of America (ESA) has served its constituents in their pursuit of the scientific study of insects, but recently ESA became concerned that its brand no longer communicated successfully who it was. While a wide variety of species may be advantageous in the natural world, in the association realm different departments producing materials in myriad styles can have a negative impact on how the organization is perceived.

Although most association professionals are familiar with the term branding, many struggle with how to define it, as well as how to make the case to senior leadership for why it’s important. In January, ASAE’s Marketing Professionals Advisory Council conducted a survey that showed branding is often misunderstood. Responses indicated that efforts can become siloed between departments to the point that the existing brand no longer reflects the organization’s core values. Instead, it becomes a patchwork of opposing visions. The results of the survey aided development of a recent webinar: “Calibrating Your Brand Positioning. When to Refresh? When to Reboot?”

Lilia LaGesse, senior creative strategist at the creative agency GRAPHEK, and Laura Sparks, senior marketing and web manager at ESA, presented a case study on ESA’s comprehensive branding reboot—a multi-faceted metamorphosis that led to the organization rediscovering who it is and what it represents. LaGesse began by defining branding as a person’s perception of a product, service, experience or organization. As she explained, branding is more than a logo, website or even a mission statement. Instead, branding encompasses every aspect of an organization from its messaging to its people.

Please select this link to read the complete article from ASAE's Center for Association Leadership.

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