The Opening Keynote is a big moment at every ISTE annual conference and expo. But this year it was more significant than ever to ISTE. In a world debut, ISTE President Kecia Ray and CEO Brian Lewis unveiled the organization’s new brand—including its new vision, mission, logo and tagline—to a packed house of 6,500 ISTE 2013 attendees. Audience members got a first taste of the updated look and feel as they cheered for a video about the new brand positioning, then leapt to their feet to catch T-shirts bearing ISTE’s new logo, launched into the crowd by ISTE board members Mike Lawrence, Kathy Schrock, Kari Stubbs and Laurie Conzemius.
The big reveal may have been over in a matter of minutes, but ISTE’s new brand has been in the works for more than a year. “The path to the newly defined brand started with a single, yet powerful question in the final CEO interview last summer,” said Ray. “We asked, ‘How would you use membership, advocacy and partnerships to build the ISTE brand?’ and Brian responded that he wouldn’t. He said he would use a newly defined brand position to drive membership, advocacy and partnerships.”
ISTE officially launched its strategic rebranding initiative in September 2012 during a retreat where the ISTE Board of Directors and staff came together to reflect on who the organization serves, what it does and why its work matters. In January, the organization convened a cross-functional branding task force made up of ISTE leadership, staff members, and a group of education nonprofit, corporate and policy leaders from around the world. Tasked with painting a clear picture of ISTE from many different perspectives, the group was able to establish a new vision and mission for the organization, which the board unanimously approved in March.
“Our brand exploration has helped to clarify who we are and how that understanding will drive what we do as an organization,” said Lewis. “We’re thrilled to launch the new brand and look forward to an exciting year ahead.”
The new vision and mission, in turn, informed the creative development process for ISTE’s new logo and tagline, “Connected learning. Connected world.” The logo’s color palette updates the former logo’s colors with a more vibrant green and modern blue. ISTE’s previous globe design is still implied in the curve that sweeps through the logo, which is also meant to connote upward movement.
“I thought it was more modern looking,” said ISTE member Pam Quantz, a library media specialist at St. Joseph’s Academy in Brownsville, Texas. “It emphasized the global reach that the institution has, and I think it’s really more reflective of the organization as a whole.”
Members have already begun spotting the new branding as it is revealed throughout the conference center, on staff members’ uniforms and on ISTE merchandise on sale at ISTE Central. Attendees present at the brand launch received metal luggage tags with the new logo, and those who were not able to attend the keynote can pick up their complimentary tags in ISTE Central while supplies last.
In the year ahead, members can expect to see the new brand alongside the old brand as ISTE completes its transition. They can also expect to see more changes! ISTE is committed to continuing to deliver the world’s premiere ed tech conference and expo and to providing social platforms for its members to connect and collaborate. But it will also be increasing its focus on advocacy, partnerships and its definitive education technology standards. In 2014, members will get a new website, a re-imagined member magazine, and even more opportunities to connect and collaborate.
“We have a lot of important work to do,” Lewis said. “This is just the beginning.”