A new brand name and messaging platform helped merge two associations by gaining buy-in + inspiring connection.
The Northwestern Lumber Association (NLA) was considering a big growth opportunity that involved merging with another regional association. They knew they needed a name that would represent their unique contributions to the building material and lumber industry and feel welcoming to reach more members working in that field. The merger required a lot of organizational change, and there was a desire to streamline and improve internal communications and member outreach, which included their website, trade booth materials, various email newsletters, and a monthly magazine. Northwestern Lumber Association, in its new configuration, needed a brand foundation and a name that would help tell their story.
The NLA team wanted a name and brand messaging that would accurately define their work, their members, and their purpose while aligning with strategic goals related to growing their organization and retaining current members. They knew that merging organizations could create confusion and they wanted to take the opportunity to better communicate the ways they support their members and their focus on elevating the building material and lumber industry. The new name and brand needed to set a strong foundation to:
- Better define their organization
- Retain existing members
- Grow their organization
They also wanted a name that felt current while honoring their history. And, the brand messaging had to inform a new website, updated marketing materials, and effective communication.
The Mercury Method™ started with discovery. The Mercury strategists and brand advisors gathered insights through workshops and exercises with the staff, board members, and task force participants. Then we layered in production meetings with the Mercury project managers and designers.
The existing organization had a long history. Members are retail lumber yard owners and managers focused on sustaining local retail in their community. The new name needed to convey that this organization offers them:
- A networking cohort that understands their unique business and the related economic and environmental challenges they face
- Resources for products and services, staff education opportunities, and advocacy
- Turnkey business support that allows them to thrive
The new name and integrated brand guidelines would need to reflect the value that this organization offers to current and future members.
"The process helped me look at our association from a “big picture" perspective to see what we should focus on. I also really enjoyed learning the research that goes into rebranding an organization. Everyone on your team had so much knowledge and insight to share. I loved hearing the various perspectives I had never thought of. Mercury thoroughly reviewed where we were and helped us make solid goals for the future of our association while giving us a much-needed facelift in the process!"
— Melanie Hultman, Director of Communications of BLD Connection
The Mercury Team proposed a functional name: BLD Connection. This name does what it says: the organization “builds connection”. BLD is an abbreviation for a functional word: build. The abbreviation cleverly doubles as an acronym for: Building Material and Lumber Dealers. BLD Connection is not only a name, but a call to action inviting every member, and industry partner to do just that: Build Connection!
One of the first acts of the newly formed, merged association was a unanimous vote by the board members of the Northwestern Lumber Association and the Mid-America Lumbermen’s Association to select this name – BLD Connection resonated with them and was the right name to move the organization forward together.
The existing magazine – named Connection – got a brand adjustment and is now BLD Connection Magazine.
Comprehensive Rebrand Launch
The Mercury team collaborated with BLD Connection on a comprehensive brand launch and updated materials and tactics, including:
- A strategically timed press release distributed to members of the press, industry partners, associations, and industry magazines
- Membership boxes mailed to BLD Connection members with a plaque, a gift, an FAQ sheet, and membership paperwork
- Member-facing materials including a redesigned trade booth, a rebranded magazine, new email marketing templates, and a new website and member hub
- Recommendations for operational efficiencies related to communications frequency and flow