What's in a Tagline?

New tagline reflects IEEE's culture and personality

8 March 2010
ray "Advancing Technology for Humanity" reflects IEEE's core purpose, or mission, which is "to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity." Photo: Bill Cramer/Wonderful Machine

IEEE has adopted the tagline "Advancing Technology for Humanity," a memorable phrase that summarizes IEEE's essence and reinforces an audience's identity with the IEEE "brand." It recently debuted on the IEEE Web site and in several other select places. In time, you will see it on IEEE print and electronic materials.

I like the new tagline because it is a reflection of our organization's culture and personality. It also reflects what we are all about: advancing technology and benefiting humanity.

As people come to associate these words with IEEE, it will help in our efforts to create greater awareness of our organization, promote the IEEE brand, and tell the world about the contributions of members in engineering and other technology areas. IEEE intends to make the message of the tagline a key component of its brand identity.

I was a member of the Board of Directors' first Public Visibility Ad Hoc Committee, led by 2007 IEEE President Leah Jamieson. The committee established a formal path to increase the visibility of IEEE, its members, and the profession. In 2008, the board approved a program that includes positioning members as thought leaders and implementing a long-term media campaign. The program also includes guidelines for such things as the use of the IEEE name, the IEEE Master Brand, the colors associated with the organization, and the typefaces used to communicate our messages.

All have been developed to visually and intellectually convey the powerful ideas that we bring to every member and customer. Now in its second year, the program also seeks to position IEEE as the voice of the profession. Current efforts are directed at preuniversity and university students, members, and other technology professionals in 10 countries: Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

In addition to increasing awareness and enhancing the image of IEEE among these groups, the Public Visibility Committee determined it was important to strengthen our brand with more consistent messages across IEEE and around the world. To that end, the tagline was chosen last year after extensive research among the targeted audiences in all 10 countries.

"Advancing Technology for Humanity" reflects IEEE's core purpose, or mission, which is "to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity." This statement came more than two years ago from the development of the IEEE Envisioned Future, which lists "service to humanity" as the first of eight core values. Since then we have increased efforts toward achieving our strategic vision that, in part, calls for IEEE to be "universally recognized for the contributions of technology and of technical professionals in improving global conditions."

When the Board of Directors adopted the IEEE Master Brand (the diamond shape or "kite" with the letters I-E-E-E to its right) some 10 years ago, we estimated that the IEEE brand could then be worth more than US $1 billion. On balance sheets, that value is often referred to as "good will." It is used to reflect the portion of the book value of a business not directly attributable to its assets and liabilities. With our increasing public visibility in key global markets, coupled with our 125-year history and worldwide reputation, imagine our value today!

Although a brand may have a monetary value, it is much more than that, especially in the case of IEEE. It encompasses the entire experience an individual has with an organization. Our name, the IEEE Master Brand, the corporate positioning, the tagline, and the look and feel of various communications materials are among the many elements that make up our brand identity. All work together to increase recognition of IEEE.

IEEE will continue to make strides through its public visibility program. But if we want to continue to grow membership and increase our influence with businesses and governments worldwide, we must all support efforts to strengthen our brand identity. I encourage you to get involved by becoming more familiar with the way we are positioning IEEE by visiting http://www.ieee.org/go/brand. Read the IEEE positioning statement. Review the short explanations of IEEE—our "elevator speeches"—and adapt them to your own style so you can respond easily the next time someone asks you "What is IEEE?"

And, if you are one of the thousands of members who serve in a volunteer role, I encourage you to follow the IEEE Visual Identity Guidelines when you communicate about your activities, including the use of the tagline. That will help us build a more consistent image around the world. And lastly, I hope that you will join me in taking pride in being part of our great organization, which is advancing technology for humanity.

Pedro Ray
IEEE President and CEO




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