PRworks Amplifies an Electrical Trade Association’s Brand

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Winner of a Silver Keystone Award from the Central PA Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America

Electrical Apprentice

All stakeholder segments love our new brand identity. Stakeholders quickly and easily identify that our organization is related to the electrical industry and geographically covers the Commonwealth. Our ‘Amplify Your Potential’ tagline also is successfully resonating with people, conveying the impact we have on individuals who are new to the industry and industry veterans alike.”

Marissa Bankert, Executive Director IEC Pennsylvania

Central PA IEC, one of 51 chapters of the national Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) trade association, found itself at an identity crossroads in 2021.

While the chapter’s coverage area once concentrated solely on eight counties in Central Pennsylvania, its footprint grew to 20 counties extending from the Greater Pittsburgh region to the Susquehanna Valley. The name Central PA IEC no longer reflected the area served. Additionally, Central PA IEC was using the visually outdated national IEC association logo as its own, which was not fulfilling the chapter’s desire to project itself in a fresh, contemporary manner.

Recharging through Research

Central PA IEC engaged PRworks to address its brand challenges. To assess the situation and inform the project, PRworks conducted the following research:

  • One-on-one discovery interview with Central PA IEC leadership
  • Review of national IEC brand and logo-usage compliance requirements
  • Examination of the names and logos of all 51 IEC chapters
  • Demographic research of the association’s key target audiences

The research uncovered the following insights:

  • The chapter’s name was a barrier to marketing to prospective electrical contractor members beyond the Central Pennsylvania region
  • IEC members are encouraged by the national association to use the national IEC logo; however, based on a review of all 51 IEC chapter identities, 27% have unique chapter logos (i.e. a precedent exists for chapters to use unique, customized chapter logos)
  • The chapter needed to appeal to a diverse age demographic: Prospective apprentices as young as age 17 through early 40s; and electrical contractor business owners in their mid-40s through mid-50s

Creating a Strategic Spark

Informed by this research, PRworks collaborated with Central PA IEC in a methodical process to conceptualize a new brand identity that conveyed the chapter’s industry, represented its broad Pennsylvania footprint and appealed to its diverse stakeholder groups.

The key primary audience for the new brand was prospective apprentices and electrical contractor members in Pennsylvania. The construction industry and the education community in Pennsylvania constituted the project’s key secondary audiences.

As the process progressed, it prompted the chapter’s leadership and board of directors to ask themselves a strategic question… Is now the time to expand to become a statewide chapter? Leadership and the board resolved that the answer was yes.

Central PA IEC pursued negotiations with contiguous chapters that covered areas of the state, and agreements were reached to cover all but three of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. (Beaver, Lawrence and Mercer counties continue to be served by IEC Western Reserve in Youngstown, Ohio.)

Based on this strategic development, PRworks proceeded with the process resulting in the introduction of IEC Pennsylvania: Amplify Your Potential.

IEC Pennsylvania logo

Electrifying Results

 While the chapter’s resources did not allow for formal evaluative research, informal evaluation indicated that the new IEC Pennsylvania brand was very well received. Feedback validated that the identity is achieving its goal of communicating the chapter’s industry and statewide coverage area, as well as appealing to its diverse stakeholders.

Says Marissa Bankert, IEC Pennsylvania executive director, “Based on feedback we have received, all stakeholder segments love our new brand identity. Unprompted, members have expressed that they appreciate how the logo creatively represents both the state and an electrical circuit. Beyond our membership, stakeholders quickly and easily identify that our organization is related to the electrical industry and geographically covers the Commonwealth. Our ‘Amplify Your Potential’ tagline also is successfully resonating with people, conveying the impact we have on individuals who are new to the industry and industry veterans alike.”

Summed up by an IEC Pennsylvania apprenticeship instructor: “The new brand is so much better!”

To further improve its brand, IEC Pennsylvania subsequently engaged PRworks to assess its website and refresh its web content, imagery and experience in collaboration with its web vendor.

PRworks also is assisting the chapter by broadening its statewide reach through media relations.

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