APCO International

ASSOCIATION BRANDING

In its 75-year existence, APCO (the Association of Public-safety Communications Officials) International had essentially maintained the same brand. Two notable problems emerged. APCO’s brand was based on how public safety communications (911 call centers) were handled 75 years earlier. Technological changes made that image obsolete. In addition, there was no consistency in the way the brand was communicated. Both problems lead to market confusion and an inability to attract new members. Read more to learn how we helped APCO rebrand its entire association and create consistency throughout their communications.

Strategy

APCO needed to refresh its brand to build upon the association’s reputation for industry leadership while at the same time position it for future growth. We helped association leaders navigate this 10-month process from initial strategy meetings and branding recommendations, through the roll out of a new logo, tagline and redesigned website and marketing materials.

Execution

Branding Taskforce

From the outset, APCO realized that in order to get its members engaged and to approve the rebranding process, it needed to have full participation of member leaders throughout the process. It established a Branding Taskforce, made up of members, industry sponsors, and staff. FMG facilitated initial strategy meetings to identify APCO’s goals, target audiences and competitive advantages.

Brand Audit

FMG conducted a comprehensive competitive analysis to better understand where APCO fit, and what opportunities were available for market expansion. Then, we reviewed all the ways in which APCO communicated its brand. The results of both were revealing and supported the need for rebranding.

Revised Vision and Mission Statements

A critical first step in revising the brand was to re-craft APCO’s vision and mission statements. This was a carefully thought-out exercise, spearheaded by member leaders and formally presented to the association’s governing bodies for feedback and ultimate approval.

Branding Recommendations

FMG worked with the APCO Branding Taskforce to make a series of sequential recommendations. The first was to formally educate the staff, since they would ultimately implement all the branding changes and communicate them with members. Recommendations ranged from the tactical, such as developing a new trademark (logo) and tagline, APCO website, and membership and marketing materials, to more strategic suggestions such as rebranding APCO’s conferences and events and restructuring the association’s marketing communication department. The final recommendation—and an essential one—was creating a Brand Guide –a document that articulated the parameters of the brand for all those who touch it and provides a standardized set of brand building tools.

Delivery

Once the new brand was approved by member leadership, FMG developed a roll-out strategy that started with communicating the rebranding process to the entire membership through presentations at its national convention and a variety of webinars presented at the chapter level. FMG designed a new logo and developed a tagline, redesigned membership and marketing materials and developed the association’s new website.