Case Study

AUTM

AUTM, the leading association for the diverse technology transfer field, provides education and inspires professionals to help develop academic research that spearheads innovations. It’s a robust community of more than 3,000 members representing over 800 research centers, universities, businesses, hospitals, and government organizations extending all over the world.

AUTM’s members are innovative minds who transform ideas into opportunities. AUTM is an advocate for its members’ extensive research and projects, empowering them to continue developing forward-focused advancements in the technology fields.

Expertise

  • Brand Strategy
  • Brand Messaging
  • Naming
  • Brand Identity
  • Brand Guidelines
  • Collateral Development
  • Digital Discovery and Strategy
  • Website Design
  • Email Templates

Awards

  • 2018 GDUSA Website Redesign Winner

In the discovery process it was clear AUTM had a strong community of professionals, it empowered members to pursue a difficult career that has no academic discipline, and it prided itself in knowing the resources provided to its members were recognized for being incredibly useful to professionals’ careers.

AUTM had its brand foundation built, but it lacked impact and an influence on its audience, and it wasn’t meeting members’ needs. AUTM wasn’t able to translate in simple terms what its members do and how it benefits the public. While AUTM members are rich in dynamic energy, the association didn’t have strong character. AUTM lacked a narrative on what it was and why the organization mattered.

To develop AUTM’s dynamic character, AUTM sought out Bates Creative to revamp its brand and lead them to have its new identity come to life across channels, including a redesigned website experience.

Our leadership and our membership are very happy with the rebrand. Bates Creative’s designs have given the Association a more modern and global appeal, and more accurately reflects the innovative and inclusive approach within our Association.

Leef Smith Barnes, Chief Marketing Officer
AUTM

Navigating a Name Change

As AUTM’s membership continued to grow in diversity and size, the organization felt that its name–-Association of University Technology Managers–-no longer represented its members and the future of the brand. AUTM professionals are leaders in the field who find cutting-edge, inventive solutions to benefit the public and better the world.

AUTM’s leadership felt its name was limiting and marginalized current members who represent industries beyond higher education, which contradicted the overall goal to connect and celebrate technology professionals.

Bates Creative and its partner conducted in-depth interviews and focus groups to research member perception on AUTM’s identity and whether it aligned with the internal team’s viewpoints. Ultimately, the members spoke and AUTM listened. The Association of University Technology Managers simply became AUTM–-a name that’s audibly recognizable without its acronymically limiting definition. With this shift, AUTM can move forward in evolving the future of its association while preserving the brand equity it has accrued since its founding.

Amplifying the AUTM Voice

Primary research findings then fueled the strategic thinking behind discovering not only who AUTM is as a brand name, but what it stands for as an organization. One of the greatest common denominators that surfaced among key stakeholders was AUTM’s power in numbers.

The brand discovery process helped AUTM unearth three positioning points that’ll benchmark all future conversations, branding initiatives and recruitment efforts: Community, each member’s unique set of knowledge, and advancement in the technology fields. This is where AUTM’s voice began to amplify as an empowering and innovative industry leader.

Collaboratively, the team found the personality AUTM always exerted but hadn’t been pinpointed or defined until now. The team dug into the underlying themes that the focus group participants expressed, and extracted AUTM’s key words and characteristics—collaborative, informed, engaged and enlightened—this is who AUTM is as an association, who its members are, and how its community impacts the world.

Rolling Out a New Visual Identity

After 30 years without a rebrand, AUTM felt it needed a modernized look, to positively represent its evolution within the technology industry over the last three decades. Its original logo was a stark misrepresentation of the organization: uninviting, dark, off-putting, and intimidating.

Bates Creative’s team explored creative possibilities to bring the refreshed identity to life, leading to the presentation of distinctly unique concepts that showed possible directions for the new identity.

Instead of showing us slight variations of the same concept, as some vendors are prone to do, Bates Creative expanded our options with three distinct design options and worked to revise them with our input.

Leef Smith Barnes, Chief Marketing Officer
AUTM

AUTM wished to start from a clean slate and break off from anything remotely similar to the original face of the company. This change needed to be obvious and apparent to demonstrate a clear evolution, rather than a subtle one. The AUTM team opted for a warm color palette to mirror its inviting personality. An orange hue, the globally recognized color of innovation, was chosen as the primary color. To pair warmth with its inviting persona, AUTM went with a logomark using lowercase for the acronym, reinforcing the association’s approachability and humanity.

AUTM was drawn to the radar element above the logomark, which quickly became the new identity’s centerpiece. It pays tribute to the broadcast of technologies for the benefit of humankind, and the building blocks that help its members transform ideas into opportunities.

An Authentic New AUTM

AUTM’s new identity has a modern touch with an inviting persona, which attracts on the diverse backgrounds and professions the association thrives on.

To reflect AUTM’s new corporate identity and leverage its core value to bring research to life, a website redevelopment project was essential. Bates Creative crafted AUTM’s website to reach all audiences in dynamic ways, showcase the work of its members, and drive membership growth and support for the association. The website consolidated other AUTM-owned web properties and web domains into one cohesive experience at autm.org.

Bates Creative’s team collaborated with Kellen, an association content management partner, to improve the website’s user-friendliness, seamless navigation, and promote AUTM’s marketable assets: Professional Development, its Better World Project that explains how academic research and technology transfer benefits humanity, membership, and its Annual Meeting. Bates Creative executed the strategy, design, and front-end development, then worked seamlessly with Kellen to complete back-end development in the Kentico platform.

AUTM’s website injects life into the digital experience and is now a visual magnet, instantly highlighting the things it cares most about: its members, technologies available to its members, collaborations with academic and corporate partners alike, and the success stories of those who benefit from AUTM’s research and development. The site is beaming with the warm palette, and the intuitive navigation makes it an interactive, enjoyable experience for any user to learn about AUTM, upcoming events, and news coverage.