Connections - Spring 2010 - (Page 13)
New Look: New Image
Making sure your brand clearly communicates your message
BY SHERYL S. JACKSON
Robin Dahlen, CAE
A BRAND IS defined as a name, sign, symbol, slogan or anything else that is designed to distinguish any product or organization. For associations, a good brand communicates the image and purpose that the association wants to portray to members and the general public. For many associations, their image has evolved with additions and changes made throughout the years. For some associations, changing little things—logos, names, print materials and even Web sites—one item at a time has helped them stay on top of changing needs of the association. But, for the Oracle Application Users Group (OAUG), a major rebranding effort was needed a few years ago. “OAUG had been around since 1990 and had used the same logo, the same Web site and the same print materials,” says Robin Dahlen, CAE, director, Meeting Expectations and Oracle Applications User’s Group. In 2005, OAUG found itself competing with a number of other users groups that were offering similar services as a result of Oracle—a business software company—buying other companies and offering their users groups access to Oracle resources. “Our membership and potential membership had become global and we needed a more up-to-date look,” Dahlen says. The six-month process resulted in a new logo, new messages that CREATIVE THINKING run throughout all communications, new marketing collateral mateOne of the more innovative approaches with the Web site was to use rials and a new Web site design, says Dahlen. “The old logo used a photography of real members as opposed to stock photography of bland font for type and didn’t look modern. The new design is bold and people, Dahlen says. “We wanted to show the faces of OAUG.” incorporates a red line that shows connectivity, which is appropriate The people chosen for the site were meeting speakers, committee for our audience.” members, users and active associate members. “We put their photoDahlen worked with a public-relations agency to develop different graphs and quotes from them on the Web site,” she explains. designs from which the board of directors selected. “In January 2006, we Although the changes required new letterhead, business cards introduced the logo with press releases and other printed materials, the biggest and broadcast e-mails to members, but challenge is making sure that the brand “This process gave us an opportunity the real unveiling was at the annual meetis consistent throughout all of the speing in April 2006,” she says. Although the cial interest and geographic user groups to clearly define our message and let approval and development process for associated with OAUG, Dahlen says. everything went fairly smoothly, Dahlen “These groups are run by volunteers people know about our longevity, our and everyone involved worked up to the so they are not able to change things last minute of their short timeframe. as quickly as the parent organization,” stability and our position as a leader in “There’s nothing like working at 4 a.m. on she says. “We’ve provided a template the day you present the Web site to the for all 40 of them to use, and we send the marketplace.” annual meeting to make sure the Web site frequent reminders to use the new logo works,” she laughs. – Robin Dahlen, CAE, Meeting Expectations and new message.”
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