Mark Hill, President and CEO at the Association for Creative Industries, shares with us how to overcome the resistance associated with re-branding a non-profit. He shares his experience as his team shifted the brand’s narrative and how he faced those challenges as a spokesperson.
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ANNOUNCER: It’s SPOKEies® University from DS Simon Media featuring Mark Hill, President and CEO at Association for Creative Industries.
DOUG SIMON: Welcome to SPOKEies® University, And my guest is Mark Hill. He received Honorable Mention in the SPOKEies® Awards as President and CEO at the Association for Creative Industries. Thanks so much for being with us.
MARK HILL: You’re welcome. Nice to be here, thank you.
DOUG SIMON: Great. Let’s start, why don’t you give us a quick overview of the role of the Association for Creative Industries?
MARK HILL: Well we are a nonprofit trade association and we represent the interests of about 2,000 retailers, suppliers, designers, and other business providers in the creative industries. That’s craft, that’s hobby, it’s DIY, it’s makers. And that’s both in North America and globally.
DOUG SIMON: Awesome. Now, you are going through sort of a brand redefinition. Why don’t you tell us about that was part of the entry that you submitted?
MARK HILL: Yeah, we went through– we required– we determined when I took this job about 2 and 1/2 years ago, that our messaging and our brand was somewhat outdated. And so, we engaged services of a strategic branding firm because we felt that we needed to get outside objective opinion. They talked to lots of different members, nonmembers through face to face interviews and through that process we developed with them a new brand story. And that was the process that we have now being conveying through this campaign is delivering that brand message.
DOUG SIMON: So what were some of the key success points that you had, and maybe advice that you can share with others based on the campaign?
[00:01:50.68] MARK HILL: Well, I think the biggest is you have to make sure you understand who are the constituents you’re trying to reach, understand what their pain points are, what their concerns are, what their expectations are, and probably the single biggest advice is just listen. And listen on an ongoing basis. Obviously we started, did a significant amount of research up front and interviews which we used to create our brand story. But the advice that I was share going forward is you can’t stop at a single point. You need to keep talking, listening, or I should say listening and responding. Because people’s perceptions, needs change. And you need to adapt your message to suit those changing needs. But most important thing’s listen to them.
DOUG SIMON: Yeah. One of the things that’s interesting that you touched on is the idea that you’re changing the brand story. Now, that’s also going to get resistance from some of your constituents. How do you work around that?
MARK HILL: Well, the first thing we found out was that the current– the perception of our brand wasn’t resonating, and it wasn’t relevant to nonmembers. So not only wasn’t it really appealing to our existing members, it was somewhat outdated, but it certainly wasn’t relevant to the newer members and younger trade coming into our industry. So, we had that starting point to build our brand. And after we listened to them and really found out what their needs and wants were, we were able to create a brand story which actually we called the heart of creativity. And this was a new message, but it really responded directly to what they were telling us they needed and expected from an association like ourselves.
DOUG SIMON: Awesome. Well, congratulations on your success with that program and thanks so much for being with us. My guest, Mark Hill, President and CEO of the Association for Creative Industries.