Looking Forward To The Next 50 Years: A New Name And A New Look

In September 2021, blocks away from the busy waterfront of Portland, Maine, staff members of the Association of Boards of Certification, the ABC 2021 Board of Directors, and representatives from the Certification Commission for Environmental Professionals arrived at a historical decision. All parties recognized that ABC needed to better define our organization and the critical role we play in public health. After a half century of being known as the Association of Boards of Certification, those present unanimously voted to begin the process of renaming ABC, the first step in an organizational rebrand.

When an organization like ABC goes through a rebranding initiative, the assessment of the current brand must begin with how members and prospective members perceive all aspects of the organization.

This assessment encompasses the past, the present and the future. ABC has a rich history filled with important people, events, and milestones, which all come together to create the perception of what our brand is all about. As the organization grows and moves forward, it’s important that our brand not only support our rich history, but also pave the way for our promising future.

A Data-Driven Assessment And
A Consequential Decision

For years, organizational leaders had felt that our name was not only restricting our ability to grow and increase our influence, it was not communicating our mission to foster competent water and wastewater professionals.In the spring of 2021, ABC engaged the David James Group—a marketing communications firm experienced in association branding—to begin the rebranding process, beginning with a brand assessment. Our goal was to take the steps to ensure that how our organization is perceived by water and wastewater industry professionals is accurate and relevant—regardless of member status.

Key to the decision to rename and rebrand ABC were data from an ABC brand input survey conducted by DJG. At the heart of the input survey was DJG’s Brand Health Index. The BHI measured the extent to which the ABC name resonates with our audience in terms of five components: appeal, relevance, engagement, fit with the association and uniqueness. Input from 225 survey respondents (34% ABC members; 65% non-members), especially the Brand Health Index, supported the need to rebrand the ABC organization and to revamp the logo. Findings included:

ABC's Brand Health Index (BHI). Chart showing the results from survey respondants.
  • The ABC name appeal tends to be mid-range on the 10-point scale
  • The fit of the name was also mid-range
  • The uniqueness of the ABC name struggles to rise above the mid-point on the scale
  • While the relevance of the name scored the highest of the five components, the survey determined that the ABC name, by itself, is not a major driver of engagement with the brand.

In addition to the brand input survey, ABC commissioned Bâton | Global, a strategy and research company, to conduct a competitive analysis of the water and wastewater treatment industry. B|G’s findings have also informed our rebranding process and are helping to define opportunities and shape our roadmap for current and future initiatives.

We Are Now Water Professionals International!

Moving forward, the “Association of Boards of Certification” will now be known as “Water Professionals International.” “ABC” is being phased out and “WPI” is our future. The Water Professionals International name speaks to the incredible women and men we serve and underscores our growing global impact. This new name better communicates that our organization is the central water industry authority that ensures water and wastewater professionals are prepared to meet the standards that their communities can trust in.

Along with our new name, we are excited to roll out our new tagline “Superior Water Starts Here™” and our brand in this new unveiling video.

Water Professionals International - Super Water Starts Here - logo breakdown

Where Do We Go From Here?

2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of our organization. A good part of 2021 was spent laying the groundwork for the next 50 years. With a new name, a new logo, clearly defined brand messaging, and an optimistic outlook on the opportunities we have to positively impact public health and the environment, we are excited for what is to come. Over the next year, you will continue to witness the evolution from ABC to Water Professionals International; most notably will be an all-new website that will not only feature WPI’s new look, but a much-needed improved user experience. Look for that later this year.

Change has come to ABC—and that’s a good thing. We are excited for the future of Water Professionals International, and we are confident that the work of countless individuals in 2021 has set us up for incredible success over the next half century!

Celebrating 50 years from 1972 - 2022 - circle graphic with Superior Water Starts Here tagline.

If you have any questions regarding our rebrand or strategic plan contact Paul Bishop, CAE, Water Professionals International President and CEO.