Last December, the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care (AAWC) leadership, staff, and key stakeholders embarked on a brand and marketing assessment to shift our brand, brand promise, and brand experience from its current form — a transaction-oriented, unidirectional experience — to one that more adequately reflects the true nature of the organization: relationship driven, human-centric, collaborative, and responsive. Using a facilitated process informed by a survey of key stakeholders, including Board and committee members and AAWC supporters, the assessment yielded 3 themes that now drive the AAWC’s brand:

Accessible: Every member’s ability to interact with the industry’s best and obtain information from this multidisciplinary organization whose desire is to become intuitive and innovative;

Connected: Endeavoring to change the perception of being a transactional-based organization and moving toward creating a connected wound care community; and

Collaborative: Selfless members and leaders underscoring the multidisciplinary and inclusive nature of the AAWC and a contemporary approach to delivering the education the AAWC strives to provide.

These themes have helped focus member communications and branding of the AAWC message. For example, the new AAWC video, now featured on the AAWC home page, showcases members’ experience with the Association. The themes also have helped formulate new member-centric, value-driven initiatives including:

  • A hands-on compression workshop on venous ulcers at SAWC Fall;
  • Journal Club monthly webinar series; and
  • AAWC Wound News You Can Use  — a new weekly electronic publication that launched in October.

Beyond the success of these programs, the Board recognized the need for a broader, more strategic approach to the requisites of members and prospective members. For the past 2.5 months, the Board and staff have developed and executed a strategic planning initiative that yielded 3 bold objectives, each to be supported by appropriate research and evaluation to ensure their successful implementation and impact. Information used to inform the plan included input from a membership survey along with results of a former member and a leadership survey. The AAWC Board is grateful to the 362 members who responded to Dr. Serena’s invitation to participate in this important exercise, yielding an impressive 17.5% response rate. The results include representation from all of AAWC’s clinical membership categories throughout the United States and internationally, most of whom work in wound clinics (42%) or hospitals (28%) and who identify with the Baby Boomer generation (54%) or Generation X (31%). Of those that responded, about half have been members for more than 5 years, 21% for 5 to 9 years, and 14% for more than 15 years. Respondents reported that they value each of AAWC’s programs and services equally, with SAWC Spring and Fall rating the highest, followed closely by the Professional Resources section on the website, Pressure Ulcer Summit, the Podium to Practice track, and Journal Club and Scholarships. The AAWC similarly was rated highly on how well it is delivering on each of these programs. When asked about new services members may find valuable, most ranked regional education events with single topic symposia the highest (>80%). More than 70% of respondents felt the AAWC’s multidisciplinary focus remains important to the work of both the Association and the profession, but the AAWC received a score of only 3.8 out of 10 for how well it delivers on its mission. Most respondents appreciate that the AAWC collaborates with other organizations to further the Association’s mission, and nearly 100% agree that the AAWC should continue in this vein. Approximately 32% of respondents are aware of the Healthcare Public Policy committee’s work on their behalf, 70% agree on its importance to the profession, and more than 60% view AAWC’s public policy work as valuable to the membership. Open-ended survey questions yielded vast amounts of insight into what members are seeking for new and improved website features, public policy initiatives, and what the AAWC can do to increase its value to our members in the wound care profession.

We are in the process of using these data to create a detailed strategic planning document with an operating budget and infrastructure to support its implementation. Members can look for additional details on strategic planning, coming soon to the AAWC website.