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Client National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Disciplines Branding, Design & Content

A New Brand for a Traditional Field

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The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, known colloquially as NAPNAP, is the world’s oldest organization of nurse practitioners (NPs). But their brand hadn’t been touched in nearly two decades.

As the number of pediatric NPs grew and their industry became more complex and influential, NAPNAP’s leadership recognized that 2020—designated the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife—was the ideal time to reconsider how the association presented itself to the world.

So, NAPNAP hired us to rebrand them. Just in time for a global pandemic to hit…

The Questions to Be Answered

NAPNAP quickly rerouted priorities and resources to support their members on the front line of addressing COVID-19, and yet the association’s leadership refused to abandon this project. Their commitment to continuing the rebrand was as gratifying as it was savvy: What better time to reimagine what an organization is and does than when so much is on the line?

We began by concretely defining the problems to be solved:

  1. The NAPNAP visual brand was outdated. Their logo felt old—an especially grievous communication sin given how cutting-edge NAPNAP’s members are.

  2. Branding guidelines were either outdated and/or incomplete. A strong brand touches everything. Thus, the countless pieces of content that NAPNAP created each year—from research studies to continuing education courses to advocacy news—made the organization seem siloed and scattered.

  3. NAPNAP didn’t know whether their name, and especially their acronym, was impairing their ability to fulfill their mission. While NAPNAP was catchy and memorable, there was some suspicion that it made the association seem less authoritative in pediatric health care.

  4. NAPNAP needed a plan to launch its new brand. NAPNAP has local chapters across the country, many with their own branding. Headquarters needed to give chapters the tools and support needed to spread the word that the association had a new look and feel.

With our marching orders in place, we mapped out a plan. There were four parts:

The Brand Workshop

Our designers flew to New York City to conduct a Brand Workshop with a diverse cross-section of NAPNAP’s constituency—including staff, board members, association members, etc. The goal of our Brand Workshops is simple: Dive deep into the brand’s intricacies in order to determine, once and for all, what’s good about the brand, what isn’t, and how to make it sing.

We believe these Brand Workshops should be much more than just one long conversation. Interactivity is key. In this sense, it is truly a workshop. With NAPNAP, we asked key questions, conducted exercises in small groups, got them on their feet a few times, and wrote everything down.

Brand workshop documents
Our Brand Workshop resulted in a full Brand Recommendations report.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway was that NAPNAP needed to shift its focus from “Pediatric Nurse Practitioners” to “helping children.” Because the association had decided in its recent strategic plan to expand its membership to include a broader community of NPs “who care for children, adolescents, and teens,” the messaging and brand needed to reflect this expansion.

As we wrote in the Recommendations section of the “Brand Recommendations” report:

By making the primary brand message about children—and caring for children in a way that is true to NAPNAP’s core values—FNPs (Family Nurse Practitioners), students, and nurse practitioners with a range of specialties and degrees will be drawn to the association. When they arrive, they will be welcomed by the brand with open arms.

While the project wasn’t scoped to include the development of an official tagline for the association, our research naturally revealed an excellent opportunity for a new “hero message.” The difference between a tagline and hero message is simple: a tagline almost always accompanies the organization’s name, while a hero message is more informal and appears on the homepage, videos, etc.

Here’s what the hero message became:

NAPNAP's homepage with the hero message: "Experts in pediatrics, Advocates for Children
NAPNAP’s new homepage now features their hero message.

Conducting a “Name” Survey

The Brand Workshop made one thing clear: The association wasn’t sure about their name. So we decided to go to the source—prospective members—with a name survey. The survey would gauge perceptions of NAPNAP’s full name and acronym to determine whether the new logo should prioritize the full name or the acronym.

It was key that we surveyed non-members, as they weren’t members for a reason and, as such, their impressions of NAPNAP’s name were especially persuasive.

Our Naming Survey Analysis outlines the results and recommendations from our survey of prospective members.

The survey delivered some clear and promising insights—including the fact that NAPNAP’s brand is healthy and impressions are positive. But deeper in the responses were some nuanced findings. Among these:

  • The current name made certain specialties, including “Family Nurse Practitioners,” feel as if NAPNAP wasn’t for them.

  • Those who didn’t like the acronym really didn’t like it. One commenter called it “childish” and “inaccurate.”

In the end, our recommendation, based on research, was that the association use its full name whenever possible. It was more popular, more descriptive, and more professional than the acronym version. That said, “NAPNAP” isn’t going away altogether, as it’s still a popular search term for existing and previous members.

The New Logo

We came up with dozens of new logo options—each built on a unique concept that bolstered the larger branding goals, e.g., inclusiveness, modernity, professionalism, etc. After crafting countless logos, and then iterations on those logos, we eventually narrowed it down to a set of distinct approaches. With a final choice selected, we did some last-minute tinkering and landed here:

NAPNAP's new brand guidelines
After dozens of iterations, NAPNAP landed on their preferred approach—and a new logo was born.

The new logo works for few reasons: It’s simple without being simplistic. It looks good at any size (an often-overlooked aspect of good logo design). It puts the focus equally on members (nurse practitioners) and the people they help (kids). When combined with the association’s full name, the logo is the cornerstone of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners new visual brand.

Launching the New Brand

What good is a beautiful new organizational identity if nobody knows about it? So, we worked closely with the association’s communications team to develop a plan for rolling out the rebrand.

NAPNAP's rebrand launch plan.
We developed a Rebrand Launch Plan to keep NAPNAP on track while launching their new brand.

These launch plans have become a staple of our projects, as the details of launching a brand, marketing campaign, fundraising effort, etc. are often more tricky than the big stuff such as logo design and messaging platforms. The plan, which fills 22 pages, includes tactics for:

  • Staff Involvement - including meeting schedules, who should do what, training scripts, etc.

  • Equipping Chapter Leaders - including steps to take before, during, and after the launch to ensure each local NAPNAP chapter understands, gets excited about, and is equipped to adopt and evangelize the new brand.

  • Website Quality Assurance - including instructions for precisely how the association should incorporate the new brand on its redesigned website.

  • Launch Day - including a moment-by-moment schedule that includes all available communication channels, including website, email, social media, etc.

  • Post-Launch Plan - including recommendations for following up with chapter leaders, conducting a complete brand audit, membership renewal messaging, etc.

NAPNAP letterhead email
NAPNAP’s new letterhead and email.

How the New Brand is Doing

Using the launch plan we developed, along with all-out support from their staff and board, the association launched the new brand in September 2020. The responses flooded in immediately, with one member declaring she “loves the new vision,” another saying “these are great, much-needed changes,” and yet another pointing out she was “very impressed with the careful consideration to the logo…and clarifying our identity to the public.”

Beyond the anecdotal success came the analytical wins. Average monthly website views jumped to more than 53,000, while approximately 1,600 new members joined by the end of the calendar year.

We’re honored to have worked so closely with the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. The work these highly-skilled, highly-educated health care professionals deliver—often at times of a family’s greatest stress and worry—is invaluable. Helping them tell their important story more clearly and emotionally is one of the biggest feathers in our cap.

Is it time for you to evaluate your organization’s brand? Mighty Citizen can help! Reach out and let us know how we can be a partner.

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