It’s been about five or six years now since the word ‘branding’ first hit my ears. Initially, I heard the word and thought cars, soda or aspirin...not a home inspection association. Strange, I thought, that home inspectors are talking about branding. After all, people know who we are. But after thinking about what it means to our Society, it became crystal clear there is more meaning to this than sales, the fanfare of loud music or kids walking on stilts...it’s about promoting our name and what we stand for...about promoting professional excellence to the homebuying public.
In our world of home inspectors, the word ‘Branding’ can evoke strong feelings in some individuals, feelings that generate equally positive and negative reactions. Because of the long-held belief ‘we can’t please everyone,’ your leadership has little choice but to address both reactions. As I see it, the two responses can have equal weight and can be healthy within the working world of inspectors. To say someone who disagrees with the program is any less devoted to the Society’s ideals is, well, simply rubbish. The concept of the branding program was timely and good for the Society from the moment it was first conceptualized to the day it was implemented, even to the present day. However, there are things and actions we could have done differently and better... hindsight and the rear view is always clearer than the exercise of forward thinking.
To our members who may have been offended by the program or forced into an uncomfortable decision, I apologize. Just maybe this statement is long overdue in the minds of some. That said, now is the time to band together and continue the work to move this business toward a true profession. In no small part due to a long history of devoted past leadership and a professional staff, ASHI is fortunate to be a strong and healthy organization poised to make this happen.
ASHI has invested significant time, money and resources into the Branding project. If a similar proposal was presented today, it should be supported for all the same reasons. We are living with the same issues. Having learned by our mistakes, and a few were certainly made, there are things we can do better and successes from the project we are continuing to build on every day we open our doors on Lee Street for business.
Unfortunately, the concerns that drove the Branding vehicle back in the day, such as addressing silly and publicly confusing qualifications by competing groups, are still here with us today, alive and well. We continue to fine-tune our public messages to distinguish ASHI as the industry leader, and many of these concepts were developed during the Branding evolution.
Now that the Branding project is behind us and its elements infused into many corners of our Society, the Board of Directors approved a motion to ‘welcome back’ those members who left us for philosophical and ideological differences. We recognize many may want to return and, until now, there was no clean mechanism for that to happen. This is a one-time offer available to Members who left us in good standing. The program offer runs from July 1 to December 31, 2006. For the cost of membership, a person can return to the fold without being penalized. If you know of someone who is waiting for the right opportunity to return...this is it. My hat is off to the ASHI Board of Directors for having the insight to approve this motion. If only one person returns, it will be, in my mind, a true success.
I have always believed membership in this Society is more than simply paying dues; it is belonging to the most professional and respected association in this business that takes your local voice and amplifies it on a national stage.
Realize that ASHI has been branding now for 30 years, and that we will continue spreading the word about who we are and what we stand for well into the future.