The Society of Women Engineers (SWE), founded in 1950, is a nonprofit educational and service organization. SWE consists of more than 18,000 student and professional members throughout the U.S. and was established to promote the benefits of an engineering career to young girls, support and advance professional women in engineering and technology, and honor their life-changing achievements.

In the fall of 2003 the executive director of the Society and Bostrom Corporation, the Society’s association management firm, embarked on a branding and marketing initiative to solve several communications and branding obstacles within the society. For many years the Society’s committees, volunteers, local chapters, and staff oversaw various communications within SWE. As a result, SWE’s Web site and collateral lacked consistency because of the many different styles, messages, colors, etc. Without a cohesive look, SWE’s constituents could not gain a full understanding of the Society’s mission, goals, and image.

“SWE has many audiences that range from its members to corporate partners to academia to the media,” says Betty Shanahan, SWE executive director and CEO. “We needed a strong, consistent voice to deliver the precise message to each of our distinct audiences. In addition, more than 400 chapters needed tools to implement the many member recruitment and local programs that take place.”

“The contemporary woman engineer is innovative, energetic, and committed. We needed our communications to appeal to that profile and project that positive image to academia, industry and the general public. Bostrom’s full implementation of a branding and marketing communications strategy provided a platform to deliver credible, professional messages and materials that resonate in today’s corporate and engineering cultures.” – Betty Shanahan, executive director and CEO of the Society of Women Engineers

Bostrom’s Solutions for Success

Bostrom initially performed an audit of the Society’s communications approach and tools – both electronic and paper. With SWE’s strategic plan, objectives and mission as guidance, Bostrom and SWE consolidated the materials and updated the look and feel of the Web site, logo, member kit, press kit, and program collateral. This not only gave SWE a stronger voice but provided significant cost savings.

Working with the executive director, the internal research SWE accumulated from its members, and the design firm, McKnight Kurland, the logo was updated and the tagline “Aspire, Advance, Achieve” was created. From there, Bostrom delivered an entire set of materials and Web site infrastructure along with logo guidelines and a communications plan for staff and sections to follow. This foundation gave the Society a platform to build upon to increase their exposure in the media and obtain stronger, additional partnerships in industry and academia. The Web site not only provided a more professional, more organized approach but also levels of security for SWE members-only material and leadership tools.

SWE has increased its membership, its corporate funding, and its media attention through the support of Bostrom’s branding and marketing initiatives. In addition, its members have embraced the new tag line and leveraged the materials to build a stronger, more powerful association.