This week marks the close of the online branding survey SWE is conducting. To date more than 2,400 women engineers from all disciplines and experience levels have responded to give us their view of the SWE brand and what it stands for. A detailed analysis and set of recommendations will come from the survey responses. At the same time SWE created an Environmental Scan of Technical Society Brands. This article will focus on a few of the findings from that scan.
Top Brand Attributes
In the scan it appears that several attributes consistently appeared in the brands of the associations reviewed. The top attributes include:
· We Make a Difference
· Career Advancement: Knowledge, Empowerment, Impact
· We Are Global
· We Are Powerful/Big/Important
We Make a Difference
Almost all of the associations researched had a component of their positioning about making a difference. IEEE’s tagline, which frequently appears with its logo is “Advancing Technology for Humanity.” IEEEs positioning is that IEEE benefits the global society. IEEE touches everyone in their everyday lives because technology touches everyone.
The American Chemical Society, almost always referred to as “ACS,” updated their logo to include the “Chemistry for Life” tagline. This tagline reflects their vision and mission. The ACS vision commits them to “Improving people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry.”
Career Advancement: Knowledge, Empowerment, Impact
There are a number of technical societies whose taglines highlight the positioning that this is the association partner for your career advancement or impact on your industry. The International Society of Automation (ISA) uses the tagline “Setting the Standard of Automation.” The Society of Manufacturing Executives (SME) tagline is “Making the Future. Together.”
We Are Powerful/Big/Important
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA): “The world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.” Similarly IEEE promotes “The world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology.”
We Are Global
In today’s networked world many societies are purposely touting their global presence as a way to attract members and build their image. All too often the symbol of the globe is incorporated within the logo of the society to demonstrate global outreach. The International Facility Management Association (IFMA), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) are but a few examples of this.
Whether it is Global positioning or proclaiming you are the Biggest or Most Powerful, it is critical that an organization’s brand reflect its vision and mission and be aspirational in nature. Aspirational positioning helps to propel the organization forward; it helps to educate and build understanding among constituents about what the organization stands for, who it serves and where it is going; and it helps create excitement in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Think of two brands you are familiar with – one being new, colorful, exciting, or contemporary. Now think of a competing brand that is dull, lifeless, outdated or meaningless. Which one creates excitement and which one bores you? Which one are you more likely to do business with? Which one will you value more long-term?