In October 2008, the Association of Family Practice Physician Assistants launched a strategic initiative to help better identify AFPPA as a leader in primary healthcare and an indispensable resource within the PA profession. Goals included a redesign of the association’s 11-year-old logo and website, and expansion of public awareness and media outreach. In addition, AFPPA expanded their education program by offering a third “regional” conference, to help meet the medical education needs of primary care PAs and NPs (Nurse Practitioners), particularly in the northeast.
O’Neill Communications developed a multi-faceted rebranding strategy. An aggressive implementation plan was launched in the spring of 2009, and by the end of summer, all of these short-term goals had been achieved:
- Created and implemented new logo and redefined corporate ID
- Obtained professional photography and video
- Launched redesigned website with interactive features, video testimonials, and search engine optimization
- Redesigned, produced and mailed three editions of the AFPPA newsletter
- Produced and mailed full-color 12-page conference brochures to 70,000+ potential attendees
- Produced and mailed membership materials, including a 13-minute recruitment DVD, new membership application, conference materials,
- online survey, packaged in a full-color folder, to 20,000+ potential members
- Produced and mailed full-color 8-page mailer soliciting exhibitors and sponsors for conferences
- Launched email messaging campaign to promote membership, conferences, and member news
- Built a blog roll, member forum, Twitter account and Facebook account
- Increased public awareness through press releases, email messaging, and web updates
With regard to the “regional” conference, a geographic survey was conducted to find a location that would be within a day’s drive for most PAs in the northeast. Washington, DC was selected, and since its other conferences were held in the fall and spring, the regional conference date was set for summer. Promotion of the conference included:
Developing and mailing an exciting brochure, highlighting family-friendly activities in the nation’s capital
Creating a bi-monthly email campaign to 100,000+ PAs and NPs
Developing a “summer conference contest” to spur interest in reading conference materials, with a prize of a free trip to an upcoming AFPPA conference
By mid-September 2009, membership numbers were 21% higher than the same time the previous year and fall conference registration had already exceeded the previous year’s final numbers (with almost two months to go in the registration process). A survey of PAs who received recruitment materials indicated all had viewed the DVD (based on 100% correct answers to questions about the DVD) and that more than 80% were currently or considering AFPPA membership. About 50% of respondents indicated they had never attended an AFPPA conference and that same number indicated they were considering attending the upcoming conference.
Within weeks of the “regional” conference kickoff, the new event was rivaling the Association’s Annual Spring Conference in both registration numbers and geographic diversity. Conference registration exceeded the previous year’s final by 36%. In addition, web visits grew 64% – 15 percent of the traffic came from the email campaign. All of the Google keywords that lead people to the site showed remarkable growth (afppa – 100.56%, afppa.org – 307%) – evidence that they were responding to promotional materials. It is estimated that more than 90% of those who joined AFPPA during the month of August did so online.