Midyear Meeting

New logo and membership model will 'improve member experience,' says ABA executive director

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Jack Rives

ABA Executive Director Jack Rives addresses the ABA House of Delegates in Las Vegas. Photo by Mitch Higgins.

ABA Executive Director Jack L. Rives offered the ABA House of Delegates a glimpse of the future Monday, presenting a sneak peek of the association's new branding and new membership model.

Rives presented delegates with the new logo design that was approved by the Board of Governors Friday during the 2019 ABA Midyear Meeting in Las Vegas. While the current ABA logo has existed for more than 40 years, a new logo could assist the association in proving its value to both potential and current members, Rives said.

“How do you change an iconic logo?” Rives said. “Carefully. You don’t need to make it a revolutionary change, you can do it evolutionarily.”

Rives pointed to several issues with the current ABA logo, including that it’s difficult to read and does not place enough emphasis on “bar.” He said there are more than 5,000 associations in the country that begin with the word “American” and end in “association.” A user who visits ABA.com would reach the American Bankers Association, while a user visiting ABA.org would reach the American Birding Association.

“Even though we’ve gotten used to it, those in the business say it is not artistically pleasing or designed all that well in the beginning,” Rives said.

New ABA logoThe new logo was unveiled by Rives at the House meeting.

The ABA worked with marketing agency Finn Partners, which Rives said went through dozens of possibilities before recommending the new logo design. It will be publicly unveiled May 1.

“It’s contemporary, it pays homage to the past while moving forward to the future, and highlighting the look is the subtle colors that are used,” he said. “This was their recommendation, and when you look at the logo that was proposed and compare it with the current logo, you will see how much more powerful the proposed logo is.”

Burkey Belser, managing partner of Finn Partners, told the Board of Governors on Friday that his team received a positive response to the new design from four focus groups in various parts of the country.

“It was received quite well, in fact, that all of the ideas behind it suggest a modern, contemporary association,” Belser said.

Rives said in his address to the House of Delegates that the use of the new logo design will coincide with the launch of the new membership model.

The new membership model is designed to address a decline in dues-paying memberships and revenues, Rives said. Between 2008 and 2018, dues revenue dropped from $86 million to $67 million.

Rives said the new membership model will implement a sensible dues structure, in part by transitioning from the previous 157 different dues price points to five dues price points by fiscal year 2020. The new dues structure was approved by the ABA House of Delegates in August during the 2018 ABA Annual Meeting. Rives added that the ABA will also unveil more member benefits, including personalized content for members and a CLE marketplace that will include 650 courses by early 2020.

“We are going to do a lot to improve the member experience,” Rives said. “We are going to make it very apparent that people get a lot more than what they pay for with their ABA dues.”

Follow along with ABA Media Relations’ full coverage of the 2019 ABA Midyear Meeting and the ABA Journal’s news stories.

Updated on Jan. 29 to delete a repeated sentence.

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