Welcome to the new AVMA

Association debuts logo, brand during annual convention
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The AVMA has a new look and a new outlook.

On July 11 at the AVMA Annual Convention in Boston, the Association debuted a modern logo and other elements of a new brand. The green-and-blue logo incorporates the veterinary version of the Aesculapian staff and the tag line: “Our Passion. Our Profession.” Leaders of the AVMA said the brand combines a fresh look with a member-centric focus.

The Association’s new guiding promise: “The AVMA is the leading organization that protects, promotes and advocates for the entire veterinary profession through the strength and diverse perspectives of our members.”

AVMA Our Passion. Our Profession logo

Because members are the strength of the AVMA, an impetus for branding is to communicate to members why they should belong. The effort ties in with the AVMA Strategic Plan, which has the ultimate goal of growing member value. The Association also will use the brand in communicating with audiences outside the profession.

Behind the brand

Association leaders wrote about the new direction behind the brand in an open letter to members.

According to the letter: “This is a new day at the AVMA, and you’ve probably seen at least a glimpse of the changes we have been making, including our new look. Improvements have been under way for some time to help us better serve you, and our new logo is symbolic of our renewed commitment to you that includes a new way of doing business and a new way of ensuring that we meet your needs now and into the future.”

The letter states that, historically, “membership in the AVMA has been a key way to engage in the greater good of the profession.” According to the letter, “Belonging to the AVMA is still the right thing to do, but we understand that it’s up to us to make sure that the return on your investment is obvious and tangible.”

Members need a strong AVMA “that works on your behalf, protects the value of your veterinary medical degree and provides resources that help you continue to deliver high-quality veterinary services.”

The Association’s new guiding promise:

The AVMA is the leading organization that protects, promotes and advocates for the entire veterinary profession through the strength and diverse perspectives of our members.

Feedback from members suggests that the Association can improve in several areas, including by providing members with information related specifically to their interests and by promoting the value of veterinarians to society. New marketing and communications efforts will focus on delivering information in a way that members can easily access, consume, and use. The Association will work to promote veterinarians through advertising campaigns, public education, and other outreach initiatives.

Brand development

The AVMA started developing a new logo in January 2013. The Association contracted with 88 Brand Partners in January 2014 to finish the new logo and develop the overall brand.

Michael McGuire, president and chief executive officer of 88 Brand Partners, said data gathering for the AVMA Strategy Management Process provided a baseline for embarking on a branding process “anchored in the emerging vision for the AVMA.”

“We look at the brand as more than just a logo,” he said. “It’s really how the whole entire organization is felt by its member base.”

Female veterinarian holding a dog

88 Brand Partners met with AVMA members throughout the brand development process, learning that the Association’s strength is not only in the size of the membership but also in the diversity of the members. McGuire said the Association is “the comprehensive organization of a diverse group of veterinary professionals working on behalf of the veterinary profession.”

The new brand builds on the heritage and values of the AVMA, McGuire said. He said the new logo incorporates the Aesculapian staff in a fresh way in refreshed colors.

The new tag line is the option that resonated most with members in focus groups. When separate from the logo, the full tag line is: “Our Passion. Our Profession. Our AVMA.” The brand’s visual identity extends to fonts, a color palette, iconography, and other graphic elements as well as original photography.

McGuire said the brand will help the AVMA streamline content to “provide the right information to the right person at the right time,” an objective of the AVMA Strategic Plan. The iconography, for example, will provide a cue that information pertains to equine subjects or animal welfare or veterinary students

A defining moment

Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA chief executive officer, said the launch of the new brand is a defining moment for the AVMA.

For the past year and a half, a lot of work has gone into the AVMA Strategy Management Process behind the scenes. He said, “It was building the foundation of a new organization that has been the important part of the effort, and this launch is our coming-out party.”

The new AVMA has strategic business units focusing on three areas: advocacy for the veterinary profession, products and services for members, and accreditation of educational programs.

“We have been providing a lot of services for our members but not doing a good job of telling them all that we’ve been doing,” Dr. DeHaven continued. “We hope that the new look and feel of our communications will help to deliver those messages.”

The old logo had come to symbolize the profession at large, he said, so the AVMA needed a new logo that members could relate specifically to the Association. The profession can continue to use the old Aesculapian staff, and members will be able to use a new member mark.

Male veterinarian entering data on a paper form

Dr. DeHaven likes the way the new logo combines green, the longtime AVMA color, with blue. He also is excited about the new tag line. He said, “‘Our Passion. Our Profession.’ really embodies who we are and why we do what we do.” On public-facing materials, for clarity, the words “American Veterinary Medical Association” rather than the tag line will appear under “AVMA.”

The original photography really captures veterinarians’ passion for the profession, Dr. DeHaven added. The new photos cover the breadth of disciplines and activities in veterinary medicine.

Carrying the flag

Dr. Joe Kinnarney, AVMA president, is carrying a flag with the new logo as he travels during his year in office. He said, “I will utilize our brand to help me bring the message of AVMA being there for our members.”

The percentage of U.S. veterinarians who belong to the AVMA appears to have declined slightly in recent years. Dr. Kinnarney said the new brand is a signal “that we’re taking steps to meet the changing needs of our members.”

He reiterated that the new brand and marketing efforts will allow the AVMA to communicate with members as well as the public more effectively and with a modern face.

“It’s an exciting time for AVMA and the veterinary profession,” Dr. Kinnarney said. “Contrary to what some people will say, it is a good time to be a veterinarian, it is a good time to be a new graduate. There are lots of good things coming down in our future, and we need to bring that message forward. ‘Our Passion. Our Profession.’”

Related JAVMA links:

Growing member value (March 1, 2015)

AVMA seeks to refocus through strategy management (June 15, 2014)

AVMA to replace its logo (March 1, 2013)