The Washington, D.C. Chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMADC), a nonprofit organization that nurtures a network of top-notch marketing professionals in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region reveals a new brand identity in February 2016.
Marketing takes progressive action in promoting and selling products or services, but requires motivated professionals to accomplish these goals. As of 2016, AMADC is the fourth largest chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA), with more than 800 members who represent over 400 organizations: corporate, media, government, association and nonprofit. Together, members are enhancing their footprints in the professional community by connecting with one another.
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For years, AMADC members have pursued knowledge and networking opportunities from the organization’s events, including How To Series lunches and networking happy hours, as well as its exclusive member-benefits, including mentor programs, volunteering prospects and discounts at local and national affiliate businesses. Prior to this rebranding, AMADC’s brand has been clad in strong black and bold red branding, but its board of directors sought to advance AMADC’s brand by reflecting the prestige of its membership and forward-thinking positioning of the organization.
To keep pace with the ever-evolving marketing industry, AMADC tapped the design services of Bates Creative and The Gigawatt Group to conceptualize, voice and create a new brand identity for AMADC. The branding overhaul features redesigned logos for the chapter and its newly launched sub-brands, responsive email and newsletter templates, communication and event collateral, and a modern, responsive website scheduled to launch in coming months.
SETTING THE TONE FOR AMADC BRAND REFRESH
The roots of the AMA traces back to the early 1900s, and is now recognized as North America’s leading professional marketing organization. AMA has more than 30,000 members, 75 professional chapters and 250 collegiate chapters across the United States as of 2010. With the introduction of technology, the birth of the Internet and boom in business, marketing now saturates more areas of business than ever before.
AMADC took the strategic step to transform its hallmarked reputation for excellence in a more compelling way. Brand continuity is important in maintaining a cohesive identity across all communication platforms. Before AMADC’s visual identity could be designed, the tone needed to be established.
The Gigawatt Group, a brand experience agency, led brand messaging strategy efforts, incorporating their proprietary brand science process for AMADC by establishing its four personality traits: smart, refined, personal and inclusive. AMADC now connects with members on a conversational level through storytelling and experience-centric messaging.
AMADC is connected. AMADC is committed. AMADC is advanced. The Gigawatt team researched the mission of AMADC and established a messaging strategy that resonates with AMADC’s mission to redefine the possibilities for its membership across the marketing spectrum. In addition, Gigawatt led a naming process for the chapter’s three new sub-brands: the CMO Leadership Circle (exclusive CMO group), The District Current (young professionals) and the Advanced Marketing Academy (for those looking to enhance their career with educational opportunities).
“The Gigawatt Group brings together our expert strategy teams and creative specialists for all client projects into our ‘brand science’ process from research to strategy to execution,” said Mark DeVito, president and chief creative officer at The Gigawatt Group.
“Our tried-and-true dynamic partnership with Bates Creative brings brands to the next level through the collaboration of a connected team that understands both the strategic ideologies behind your brand and how to craft them into memorable design experiences.” – Mark DeVito
PUTTING A FACE TO THE NAME
Bates Creative, an integrated full-service design agency, took the next step in producing the visuals and design of the evolved AMADC identity to match the work done by The Gigawatt Group. The biggest challenge that Bates tackled was to design a brand identity that encompasses all segments of AMADC’s membership, which ranges across all levels of professional experience and diverse industries.
“We needed to breathe creative strategy and design into a static brand—give it energy and life to stand out in a city crowded with member organizations,” said Debbie Bates-Schrott, president and founder of Bates Creative and chief creative officer of AMADC.
The redesigned AMADC logo champions the organization’s goal of connecting a dynamic membership by nodding to its locational roots. The overall design was created with a D.C.-focused approach to mirror both the prestige of our nation’s capital as well as the confident AMADC brand voice.
“The new logo is designed with clean and simple shapes to create a modern mark,” said Jennifer Fose, art director at Bates Creative. “To nod to the chapter’s roots, the logo is influenced by the design of the D.C. flag, which is very recognizable to D.C. area professionals and is a subtle reflection that may be noticed by others visiting the area for business.”
Bates set the foundation for the logo redesign by keeping AMADC’s preexisting red and black color profile. The logomark appears as a deconstructed black uppercase “M” decorated with three red stars between each leg of the “M” letter frame sitting on top of two red horizontal bars. In actuality, the deconstructed mark is two “A” letter frames combined together to form the “M”—an abstract “AMA” acronym condensed into a single mark. The D.C. flag inspired the three stars and two horizontal bars found in the new AMADC logo.
“The contemporary design of the logo leads the way for the rest of the visuals to follow,” Jennifer said. “The mark provides a strong foundation to design around and elements will continue to be drawn from it to build other brand supporting materials.”
EXPANDING THE AMADC BRAND
The new AMADC identity now encompasses three sub-brands that are associated with the various needs of three distinct groups in AMADC’s overall membership: CMOs, those in search of furthering their career development and young professionals. All three groups offer the same benefits as the standard AMADC membership, but provide more exposure to concentrated interests of each demographic.
The CMO Leadership Circle is an exclusive sub-brand for CMOs in the Greater Washington Metropolitan area. Bates designed the mark with three circles coming together to form one inner circle of a specialized group of CMOs—an elite sector of AMA for the highest level of marketing executives. The logo is branded with a gold and grey color palette to represent the gold standard of marketing leadership.
For those looking to expand their professional development, AMADC established the Advanced Marketing Academy as a professional certification program. The logo for this sub-brand is most reminiscent of the primary AMADC logo with the prominence of an “M” as the mark and the same red and black color profile. The logo is designed in vertical orientation with the “M” decorated with tassels signifying the graduated growth of one’s career development.
At the center of D.C.’s marketing scene is the young professional sub-brand, the District Current. The logo design at first glance reflects a large hashtag with three stars centered between each cross section of bars. The modern appropriation of a hashtag for this logo was selected to exemplify how the mark identifies messages on specific or trending topics happening globally. The red and blue color palette is bright and bold—both character traits of members in this group. Elements from the D.C. flag, including the three stars as two horizontal bars were pulled as inspiration for the logo to connect young professionals to the community where they work and live. As a whole, the District Current reflects young trailblazers who are the future of the marketing industry.
“We are continuously impressed with the breadth and depth of resources available to AMADC members, as well as the wide range of organizations that make up the membership,” Debbie said.
Overall, these three sub-brands demonstrate AMADC’s expansive services and opportunities at the core of its member segments. While these sub-brands are diversified from the general AMADC membership, the communications maintain a level of relevance to the primary AMADC brand experience no matter when, where or how members are engaging with the brand.
THE AMADC, BUT BETTER
AMADC’s transformational identity and brand messaging brings a fresh perspective to the DC marketing scene. Bates Creative’s creative and design efforts teamed with Gigawatt’s brand messaging and naming strategy executed a full-blown brand refresh across all fronts of AMADC’s brand communications. Today, AMADC members are provided with a streamlined organization designed to suit their unique needs. As for the future, prospective members are invited to join in the growth and development of one of the largest professional marketing chapters in the country.
“In working with Bates Creative and The Gigawatt Group, we worked to ensure that the brand effort was more than just recreating an identity – our new identity will serve to inform a new platform that will feature a range of highly relevant and valuable experiences for our members that we believe will improve engagement and make clear the value of membership,” said Michael Gardner, president of AMADC.