The Canadian Industrial Transportation Association announced that it has rebranded the organization’s name and logo and has also redesigned its website to reflect the change. The organization, established in 1916, said it is “the only association in Canada that fights for a better freight transportation system.”
The association’s name change- from the former Canadian Industrial Transportation Association - Association canadienne de transport industriel to the Freight Management Association of Canada - Association canadienne de gestion du fret, occurred as a result of significant market research within the past year and a half which confirms that a new name and logo “will complement association objectives and help foster growth,” said FMAC-ACGF.
The new identity will satisfy the existing mandate of the organization but will also help introduce the new mission and vision: Satisfying new objectives and moving the brand forward will acknowledge that the association is the respected voice for the shipper community in Canada and has the focus and expertise to advance the transportation industry in an ever-changing global economy, FMAC-ACGF said in its announcement.
To keep things simple the association will not be changing the company slogan as it still represents the shipper community.
“I think this all came to be when we formed a marketing committee back in Aug 2011 with CITA comprised of five or six directors that consistently sit on the board. The whole purpose was to look at how we can target new age groups, and new marketing strategies. Everyone is out there competing for an association dominance-so we were really trying to get the point out about what the association is,” said Mike Cormier, Chair of the association and vice-president, supply chain, with Scotia Investments.
“‘Industrial transportation’ may have surpassed its useful life. We had a lot of good conversation and debate amongst the directors and it took us a while to come up with something that everyone felt good about. But over 90 % of the membership agreed to a name change. One thing kind of led to another as we went down the path. We were looking into new areas of membership growth. All the directors are excited about where we’re heading and where we’ve been,” he added.
Bob Ballantyne, president of the association, noted that ‘industrial transportation’ is kind of an archaic term, and echoes back to the days when railways had traffic departments and industrial transportation referred to freight traffic.
“It was time to change and bring the language into more modern usage, especially when people are using search engines like Google. With some validity, the name CITA was around for almost 100 years. The old names do build up something of a brand over time so you have to consider what you’re losing when you make the change. Our initial impetus was to try and grow the membership-the continuing challenge will be to keep it and grow it,” said Ballantyne.
“Companies that take out a membership do it not because it’s a charity but because they want to get value out of it,” he added.
“Overwhelmingly the membership approved it. There was no real backlash. It really does speak to the next generation coming up and it’s important to engage them and make sure they have a place that’s fresh and new to come into,” said Cindy Hick, vice president of the association.
“It’s really balancing the current generation that’s part of our membership and the generation that’s coming up in the industry. The name change was just one element of the marketing plan. We did hire a marketing company to help us look at different names and to develop a new logo. When you say you’re with CITA it did not resonate with a lot of people. I’m fairly confident that Freight Management Association of Canada will be fairly evident,” she said.
The association hopes that through increased use of social media and established links with educational institutions like Laurier University, where it provides a bursary, and with CITT, where it offers a small award each year, that membership amongst the younger generation will grow.
Kelsey Lemieux, the association’s marketing administrator, and a recent grad of the marketing program at Algonquin College, put together a new strategy and fresh perspective reflective of the younger generation. Lemieux said she has been reaching out to organizations like the US-based Young Professionals in Transportation, which has expressed an interest in moving into a more North American platform via chapters in Vancouver, Toronto, and maybe Ottawa.
In terms of outreach efforts, Ballantyne said the association has been trying to identify and reach out to people who will do some direct sales work with potential members.
“We started this on the West Coast with a gentleman who used to work with the Port of Vancouver. We will do similar things in different parts of the country,” said Ballantyne.
“We’re trying to balance off the needs of current members and spending time on recruiting new members. This is not unique to our association,” added Hick.
Ballantyne said that members will also be made aware that one of the perks of membership is the ability to have as many people as they want participate in conference calls, such as the modal committee conference calls that occur on a regular basis. Essentially the aim is to be “communicating with the younger people in companies, so thatthere is knowledge transfer,” he said.
Members can also have as many member refs as they want, whereas previously this was more limited.
Via a Customer Relations Management system, introduced by Lemieux, the association can “target members directly with information that is related just to them.”
“With everything going out as e-mail there is no significant extra cost to open up so all our member companies can have any number of people they wanted receive e-mail blasts,” said Ballantyne.