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IAAPA Debuts New Brand – January 2019

The association begins its second century with a new look


For 100 years, IAAPA has proudly united and empowered the global attractions industry.

As the largest international trade association for permanently located amusement facilities and attractions worldwide, IAAPA represents 6,000 facility, supplier, and individual members from more than 100 countries—and those members are more diverse than ever. As the industry and association evolve, so must the IAAPA brand. Therefore, the IAAPA Board of Directors developed a task force to re-evaluate and update the brand. The association’s new look and updated logo are the result of thoughtful planning, consultation, and care—along with a hint of tradition.

While the industry’s roots come from the pleasure gardens that spread throughout Europe, the growing industry and its members found an early need to speak with one voice. In 1918, an organization for the owners of “open-air amusement interests” formed in Chicago. Just like the name of the “National Association of Amusement Parks” changed time and time again to reflect the growing needs of its members, the same is true today.

Inside the Three-Year Plan

“As IAAPA approached its 100th anniversary, a global Branding Task Force of 10 volunteer members was established that represented all four regions—Asia-Pacific; Latin America and the Caribbean; Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); and North America—along with many different types of attractions, manufacturers, and suppliers,” explains Jeff Klocke, chair of IAAPA’s Branding Task Force and general manager and vice president of Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier.

This branding task force was challenged to research, strategize, and provide design work to launch the next chapter in the IAAPA brand—using data, not emotion—directed by founding task force leader Alexander “Al” Weber Jr. As a respected CEO at Paramount Parks, Palace Entertainment, and Apex Parks Group, along with a tenure as interim CEO at Six Flags, Weber had a strong history of leading change.

“He said, ‘Check your gut at the door,’” recalls David Mandt, IAAPA interim executive vice president. “Al insisted decisions made by the task force needed to be driven by data, not by emotion.”

To understand the needs of IAAPA members in the 21st century, Weber and team initiated a global survey, with a robust 2,200 members responding.

“We wanted to be sure if there were strong opinions, we could address those,” says Mandt, who was excited to see responses from each region held strong parallels. The data showed IAAPA members worldwide look to the association to fulfill the same three functional needs: see what’s new and exciting, network and learn, and get information on what’s happening.

The forward momentum continued in Weber’s honor after his unexpected passing in autumn 2016. His wife, Bonnie Sherman Weber, a Six Flags executive, continued to lead the effort before passing the torch to Klocke.

“The goal was to build a new future-proof IAAPA brand to be ready for its 101st year and beyond,” says Klocke.

IAAPA enlisted the help of Brandimage, a global branding agency responsible for assisting established organizations tell their story. The company has also helped Keebler, Kellogg’s, 7-Eleven, and Air France stay relevant.

Shiny New Logo

Eleven new Pantone colors and the sense of forward motion bring inspiration to IAAPA’s new logo. The triangle pieces of the new logo are representative of IAAPA’s diverse membership made up of various types of companies (family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums, water parks, theme parks, along with manufacturers and suppliers) in different regions, and representing a variety of professional disciplines.

Each triangle piece does not touch its neighbor—that’s because the association is even more dynamic when members come together. At this point, they form a spark of inspiration. Once inspired, members take those new thoughts and ideas back to their organization.

“The magic is created when our members connect with each other,” says Mandt. “When members connect, they are inspired.”

Building The Future Strategically

  • Thanks in part to Al Weber’s original vision, the branding project has also influenced IAAPA’s new strategic plan; inspired a new purpose, vision, mission, and core values; and impacted the design of IAAPA’s new headquarters office.
  • “The branding work and the association’s new strategic plan are interlinked,” says Andreas Andersen who led IAAPA’s Strategic Planning Committee. “Branding is not only about a logo, it’s about who we are as an organization—and where we want to position ourselves in the future. In that sense, branding is strategy—and strategy is branding.”
  • Through the branding research, IAAPA learned members want more connection, more diversity, more IAAPA. Therefore, the new strategic plan addresses these issues.
  • The data has also helped inform and clarify the mission of IAAPA, which is to inspire, grow, and protect the global attractions industry through member connections. The branding work will also be reflected in the design of IAAPA’s new Orlando headquarters.

Missing is the former logo’s carousel horse. Yet, turning the horse out to pasture did not come lightly.

“The feedback showed the carousel horse didn’t represent the entire industry,” explains Mandt. In a modern era where IAAPA members include escape rooms, miniature golf courses, and indoor water park resorts, the carousel horse felt dated, according to survey respondents. Yet the swirls around the horse in the previous IAAPA logo influenced the pinwheel of inspiration in the new design.

Brandimage initially presented close to 100 logo options to the task force. It took multiple rounds of revisions to find the ideal mark that conveyed the essence of the association’s new brand story.

“None of these selections are random,” says IAAPA Vice President of Marketing Suzanne Pfordresher. “A lot of thought went into this.”

Much thought also went into the typeface of the new IAAPA brand. Its simple lettering is confident and bold. Gone is the purple color, replaced with a deep blue that conveys trust. A keen eye will notice little flanges on the top of each letter that evoke motion and the promise that IAAPA is moving forward.

“While the IAAPA brand has a new look and feel, the association will continue to serve its members and uphold the highest levels of professional standards,” promises Andreas Andersen, CEO of the Liseberg Group in Sweden, who debuted the new look with Klocke at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2018 in Orlando, Florida.

The change also comes with a new way of referring to IAAPA: “The Global Association for the Attractions Industry.” This new tagline continues to represent the expanding membership base.

“There’s a lot of bravado to it,” says Pfordresher.

More than a Logo

One important element of the association’s new communication strategy is the development of five sub-brands that emphasize five key lines of programs, products, and services IAAPA offers, including: Expos, Connections, Education, News, and Public Affairs. Each sub-brand has its own design and color application, while coordinating with the master brand design.

“The research helped us better understand what our members want,” says task force member Linda Round with JRA. “We learned members want more IAAPA and more ways to connect.”

Therefore, the goal of dividing up the sub-brands helps constituents better understand all the ways they can connect with IAAPA. This includes more networking events scheduled worldwide in 2019, to IAAPA’s growing Expos, which under the new brand work will be renamed. Asian ­Attractions Expo becomes IAAPA Expo Asia starting this June in Shanghai, China. Euro Attractions Show will now be named IAAPA Expo Europe with September’s event in Paris, France. The annual IAAPA Attractions Expo held in Orlando each November will be simply rebranded IAAPA Expo.

“There was confusion about what IAAPA offered beyond trade shows,” says Mandt. By placing additional focus on the Connections, Education, News, and Public Affairs sub-brands—members will discover more opportunities to move their career and business forward, find representation in support of the industry, and enjoy inspiring stories and the latest news. The new colors and titles for the sub-brands will begin appearing in member communications this month.

Purpose Statement:

We exist to connect the diverse and dynamic attractions industry, for the good of us all. Through this, we grow and improve our people, our companies, and our industry.

Learn more about IAAPA’s new brand: www.IAAPA.org/new-IAAPA-brand