Founded in 1904, the American Association of Geographers (AAG) has a longstanding history of excellence—but the organization’s legacy brand and outdated website left members, staff, and other stakeholders frustrated with their experience. AAG was long overdue for a brand refresh, and needed to strategically rethink its approach to geography in an ever-changing world.
More specifically, while the founding members of AAG cultivated exclusivity and prestige—making it difficult for outsiders to access the benefits of membership—a new generation of leaders wanted to take a sharp, intentional shift towards a more inclusive organization that would promote accessibility and advocacy in the real world. While rightfully proud of its tenure and accomplishments, the AAG was ready to adapt to a new century.
We couldn’t wait to help them get started.
By conducting stakeholder and subject matter expert interviews, and facilitating brand and messaging workshops, we uncovered leadership’s desire to be a resource for all geographers, whether or not they were registered members of the AAG community. In our creative brief, we identified key insights and opportunities for the brand, and offered a number of strategic recommendations to help AAG better serve its existing members, appeal to prospects, and provide value to all site visitors with an interest in geography. On the technology side, we audited the organization’s existing solutions to provide more specific technical recommendations related to marketing and operational needs.
Building on the groundwork AAG laid down over the course of several branding workshops, we began work on a new brand identity that would reflect the organization’s core values, while providing a consistent, enjoyable experience for users. After presenting several mood boards, we arrived at the best direction for the AAG team, and proceeded to build out foundational and applied messaging, a new brand guide, and information architecture for the new website.
With a firm grasp on what AAG needed, we got to work developing the new brand and overhauling the organization’s decade-old website. Using AAG’s new association management system on the Microsoft Dynamics platform to integrate with the new website, we set data scalability with connected APIs that keep membership and event information current. We also migrated content from far-flung, disorganized pages into several easily identifiable buckets, giving visitors and members alike easier access to important information. Finally, we gave non-member stakeholders the ability to create free accounts on the new website, so that they could also enjoy AAG’s rich content.
Through this approach, AAG was able to share with the world a new platform—a website that both attracts and delights visitors and members in a way that has not yet been experienced within the field of geography. Once a sitemap cluttered with archived reports and happenings, www.aag.org now inspires visitors to engage and dig deeper into the subject. For members, the formerly limited and underused membership portal has become a dynamic hub for networking and collaboration.
Alleviating marketing and operational technology challenges, the new AAG website has improved user experiences for visitors, members, and AAG staff. The finished website makes content easy to find through intuitive navigation and indexes. It is ripe for engagement, reflecting simplicity, wonder, approachability, and relevance.