Some Kinds of Change Are Very Good: APSE is Rebranding
We are excited to announce that APSE is rebranding this fall!
Rebranding? What does that mean?
When you think of branding, you probably think of the Nike swoosh or Apple’s apple or Starbucks’ nautical character. For many of us, branding has
become synonymous with capitalism, corporations, and for-profit businesses. But branding is about much more than creating a logo and influencing
consumers to buy products.
Put simply, a “brand” is an organization’s public persona. It is everything the public thinks it knows about your organization. This means that any organization that wants to effectively communicate its essence to relevant audiences needs to think carefully about brand identity: how the public perceives all of the components of its brand (name, logo, taglines).
It’s important for the visual identity, positioning in the marketplace, and tone of all communications to consistently reflect the values that the organization cares about.
In this context, it is not hard to see how it is equally smart for associations, like APSE, to define their brands. There are thousands of associations in the US alone. And, as with any organization, associations face competition for recognition, funding, and membership.
Additionally, associations have to contend with how they are being perceived by a wide variety of audiences from state and federal agencies, to disabiliy service providers, to employers, to families and individuals with disabilities. Rebranding an association is quite a challenge. But the APSE national team is up to it!
What is APSE’s brand identity? That’s what we will be figuring out over the coming months.
What we expect to gain in the rebranding process?
Having a clear message about what we stand for and how we work to advance the employment first cause is crucial to being able to communicate more effectively with our members and the general public.
Beyond our goal of solidifying APSE’s position as THE organization Americans look to for leadership and expertise on integrated employment, we expect to:
- Increase membership.
- Become a more effective advocate.
- Clarify our message and visual identity.
- Empower members to become more effective advocates within their communities.
Rebranding is a big decision and one that APSE isn’t taking lightly. Allow me to explain the brief evolution of APSE and our reasons for undertaking this significant change now.
APSE is a 28-year old association with 38 chapters across the US. We have enjoyed a strong local and value-based membership. In recent years, APSE has expanded its content and resources based on the shifting landscape, largely driven by changes to federal legislation.
The winds of change are blowing across the nation. In just a few years time, the national conversation around employment has shifted from a tentative discussion of slowly phasing out subminimum wages for individual with disabilities to laws being passed, both at the federal and state level, requiring employers to eliminate subminimum wages and sheltered workshops. The Employment First movement has recently gained momentum never before seen.
With APSE’s increasing role in helping disability services providers serve clients in their communities, expanding membership base, record attendance at conferences, and expanding leadership in professionalizing employment support professionals, we believe having a strong message is more important now than perhaps ever before in the history of our organization. We are ready to be front and center in this movement.
Great things are on the horizon and APSE is leading the charge to usher in this new, exciting era for achieving genuine workforce diversity.
What changes can members expect to see?
Much of the work to rebrand APSE will go on internally and behind the scenes. But as a member, you can expect to the see the following changes:
- A new membership database.
- A renewed sense of focus on serving members’ needs.
- A more comprehensive message about our mission and values.
- A newly designed website providing an overall better experience for all visitors.
- Improvements to the cadence and content of communications (based on the findings from our membership survey).
- And yes, a fresh, new logo and overall look.
All of these changes will be made with the goal of better serving you, our members. Because our members are the heart and soul of APSE, nothing is more important to us than working with you to ensure that all people with disabilities can pursue careers and build networks just like those without disabilities.
What’s in it for APSE members?
Here’s how all of this will benefit our members:
- The resources and services APSE provides will be more usable and easier to find.
- The new database will allow members to connect and network with one another more easily.
- It will be easier than ever to get involved and spread the word about meaningful employment for Americans with disabilities.
If you have any questions about our rebranding process or any of the above changes, please let us know.
We believe putting APSE’s new face forward will open new doors and advance the cause that we are all so dedicated to advancing. Now is the time! Real employment for all Americans is long overdue.