WPI’s Impactful Rebrand Receives Top Association Industry Award


ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership announced on Friday, June 2, that it had recognized Water Professionals International with its 2023 Gold Circle Award in the Rebranding Campaign category.

The Gold Circle Awards competition is the premier association marketing, membership, and communications award recognizing excellence, innovation, and achievement in association/nonprofit marketing, membership, and communications programs.

This Gold Circle Award is a highlight of this rebranding journey that began In September 2021 when WPI was still known as the Association of Boards of Certification. During a board meeting in Portland, Maine, staff members, the ABC FY 2021 Board of Directors, and representatives from the Certification Commission for Environmental Professionals (C2EP) arrived at a historical decision. Based on data captured via a brand health index survey of the ABC name conducted by our branding partner, the David James Group, we concluded 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 who were eligible to vote, unanimously voted to begin the process of renaming ABC, ultimately deciding on the name “Water Professionals International.” We followed up the name with a new logo that was unveiled during our 35th Annual Innovation in Certification Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“We are incredibly grateful and thrilled to have received the Gold Circle Award, an achievement that speaks volumes about our organization’s commitment to our members and their vital work,” said WPI’s President & CEO Paul Bishop, CAE.  “This honor offers us a unique opportunity to showcase the remarkable efforts our members make in protecting our public health systems and the environment. We’re excited that this win will not only elevate our members within the water community, but also demonstrate to our stakeholders our commitment to constantly improving and promoting diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion while advocating for the professionalization of our workforce. We’re truly honored to receive such a prestigious award, which amplifies the dedication and hard work of our members and builds trust and credibility in them and WPI.”



As exciting as this award is, what really excites us is why we won: we were able to demonstrate a measured change in the impact of our new brand on water and wastewater treatment professionals. In the fourth quarter of 2022, we conducted a follow-up BHI survey among members and non-members on the new “Water Professionals International” name and the new logo. Data showed:

  • The response to the name saw a 50% average positive change across the five measured attributes: appeal, relevance to the respondent, fit with the association, engagement, and uniqueness. 
  • The greatest change was an 89% increase in the appeal of the new name vs. the ABC name. 
  • A 43% positive change in those who answered “yes” to the question: “In your opinion, does this logo accurately reflect what the organization does?” 

Other results attributed in part to the rebrand include:

  • 100% member retention and a 15% increase in membership including a 50% growth in membership from First Nations.
  • Our 2023 annual conference (rebranded in 2022) attendance increased by 20%, with 30% new first-time attendees including many international members. 
  • Our certification program has nearly doubled in size.

Read our Gold Circle Submission for the Full Story of the WPI Rebrand

The follow-up data we gathered, additional measurements, and anecdotal information (we have received many positive comments from our community and beyond) show that our decision to completely rebrand our organization was the right decision. We couldn’t have done this without the active support of our Board and the many other volunteers who have helped with this process. WPI is in a great position for growth and continued success; we look forward to what the future has in store for Water Professionals International and the women and men we represent.


For additional information on our rebrand, contact communications@gowpi.org.



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