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Inside the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber’s Rebranding

Inside the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber’s Rebranding

On April 1, 2023, the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber launched a new website and brand. This was the culmination of a long rebranding process in partnership with Imbue Creative, the Chamber’s strategic marketing partner.

We wanted to take you inside our rebranding process so you can get a better sense of how rebranding works, what factors influence decision-making, and how the Chamber is evolving to meet the needs of membership.

Why Rebrand?

Like many organizations post-pandemic, the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber assessed the needs of the business and nonprofit communities. We took a hard look at how we could strengthen our position as a trusted resource, advocate, and growth engine for members.

“After Covid, we had to redefine ourselves and reinforce our value and relevance to membership,” said Hal English, President and CEO of the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber. “We were moving to a new CRM (customer relationships management) system and saw this as an opportunity to completely revamp our website and make it more responsive to the needs of our members. We also realized this was the right time to modernize our branding to reflect who we are today as an organization.”

Imbue Creative provided research and insights into member engagement, event participation, demographics, messaging, positioning, and more, as well as analysis of other chambers and their differentiators. Imbue also managed a persona development workshop with Chamber staff to gain a better understanding of current membership and how the Chamber was perceived in the community.

“There’s no denying that coming out of Covid, this was not the same Chamber as in February of 2020,” said Gretchen DiMarco, Vice President of Operations for the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber. “We’ve recognized that this is a different organization. We have a different way of doing things. It feels like a different product. Updating our brand to reflect this evolution was a logical next step.”

Rebranding would continue to honor the Chamber’s proud heritage, which dates back to the founding of New Jersey’s first chamber of commerce, The Board of Trade of the City of Trenton, in 1868. At the same time, the new branding would modernize the look and feel of the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber and ensure all brand assets provide maximum value and clarity to members.

The New Chamber Logo

From a purely functional standpoint, the goal was to create an icon and word mark that would work well together and independently and could be easily reproduced.

From a brand image perspective, the goal was to elevate the look and feel of the logo with a dynamic, bold design that would convey innovation, energy, and strength.

“We’ve created a modern logo with vibrant colors to replace the classic fonts and colors of the previous version,” said Erin Klebaur, President of Imbue Creative. “The new logo maintains the professionalism people associate the Chamber with but also has a fresh design that connects with a new generation of leaders.”

The new logo icon features an abstract, geometric “PM” in rich blue with a bright green “leg.” The blue color continues through the “PRINCETON MERCER” word mark, which also includes an elegant gray to differentiate “REGIONAL CHAMBER.”

“Whether we’re printing business cards or tablecloths, or stitching golf vests, the logo reproduces extremely well,” Gretchen said. “The icon can stand alone and identify the Chamber as clearly as the word mark, which now has a bold, modern font. The overall aesthetic is very forward-looking and forward-thinking.”

The color of the green leg in the icon can be changed to reflect individual Chamber programs while maintaining consistency in structure.

“Because each of our signature programs had different logos and colors, some people didn’t know that these highly successful programs and events were associated with the Chamber,” Hal said. “I love that the new logo allows for a unique nod to each program with a simple change of color. This creates a clear connection between the Chamber and these programs.”

The New Chamber Website

While the logo is the visual representation of a brand, a highly functional, visually appealing website that meets the expectations of users is essential to successful branding.

The Imbue team provided the Chamber with data that showed why members visit the website, what information they look for, and how easy it is to find that information. Imbue also helped the Chamber identify core values and truths, which provide a framework for all messaging used to engage and communicate with members.

“We wanted the new website to be responsive to the wants and needs of members,” Gretchen said. “We used the data Imbue provided to streamline the website’s structure and content and increase visibility of what’s most important to users. People can find the information they need in fewer steps, and we’ve added features that make it easy for users to submit blogs, post jobs, and add events to our nonprofit community calendar.”

The new website features authentic photos of actual members rather than stock images, as well as strategically placed calls-to-action to guide users on their journey through the website. The updated visuals and messaging, combined with a simpler structure, also create more value for advertisers and sponsors.

The website was built using the GrowthZone system, which offers a membership management solution specifically designed for chambers of commerce. Because GrowthZone is integrated with the Constant Contact email platform, all new or updated member data is automatically synced, eliminating manual steps that were redundant and prone to error.

Gretchen and the Chamber staff spent three months “cleaning” data, including the elimination of nearly 40,000 bad emails. This enables the Chamber to collect more valuable data and respond to member needs with greater speed, efficiency, and impact through a single, unified system at no additional cost.

“There are tremendous cost savings,” Hal said. “People are often surprised when they learn the Chamber has a staff of seven people. We need to be good stewards of the money we receive from members and sponsors, so we leverage technology to ensure our time is well-spent. At the same time, it’s very important to me that we relieve our team of undue stress and eliminate unnecessary work.”

Extending the Brand and Adding Value

Of course, a rebranded website is just the beginning. The new Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber logo is now featured in email and newsletter templates, social messaging, PowerPoint presentations, print collateral, promotional materials, and more.

Templates and processes have been streamlined to simplify the process of creating and sending various types of communication while maintaining brand consistency. Again, these updates allow the Chamber staff to focus on higher value tasks and deliver more value to members.

“Rebranding is so much more than creating a new logo,” Erin said. “It’s virtually impossible to measure the true value of the internal and external elevation an organization can experience through rebranding. You elevate your internal culture by reinvigorating your team. You also elevate external perception by showing members and the community you’re committed to improvement and positive change. The impact is tremendous.”

Measurable Results

When Gretchen presented the new website with the new logo to the Chamber board, they responded with a round of applause. Member feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. People are excited by what they see.

“I want people to feel that pride of association,” Gretchen said. “I went to a community event and one of our board members was wearing the fleece vest with the new logo. You could see it across the room. Our members and board are proud to be part of the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber. The rebranding experience is a great step in strengthening that sense of pride.”

The Imbue Creative team has been monitoring and analyzing website data and the results have been eye-opening.

“It’s not just the buzz we’re hearing, but the actual stats,” Erin said. “Website traffic and engagement have tripled. This sometimes happens when you launch a new website, but the numbers are still riding high, which shows that the streamlined structure and content are working, and people like the new look and feel. The numbers we’ve seen have confirmed the stories we’ve heard from people who visited the new website.”

Rebranding, like every Chamber initiative, is driven by a simple question.

What can we do to better support you and help you achieve your goals?

Rebranding has enabled us to better understand the needs of our members so we can work more effectively on your behalf – planning better events, making better connections, providing more valuable resources and information, and offering better opportunities to promote your organization.

When the Chamber succeeds, members succeed.

“Our reputation is stellar, but it takes work to maintain it,” Hal said. “There are always opportunities to improve, and our rebranding is already paying dividends. We’ve shown people we’re moving forward. We’re offering innovative ways to help members grow instead of becoming stagnant. People should know the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber is not only relevant, but we’re thriving – and, more importantly, so are our members.”

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