Can A Digital Transformation Help an Association Navigate the COVID-19 Crisis?

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What does it take to bring an industry into the future? Our client, the country’s largest association for the management arm of the finishing trades, has twenty years of insights into the answer.

With nearly two decades of shaping the industry to become the powerhouse it is today, Northern California Allied Trades, or NCAT, had the distinction of being one of most-utilized associations for union work in the Bay Area region, but wanted to expand its reach even further.

The organization functions as three brands under one umbrella. NCAT serves as the parent structure. Northern California Painting and Finishing Contractors, or NCPFC, represents painting and wallcovering trades which can include paints, wallpaper, textured and acoustical wallcoverings and other applications. Northern California Glass Management Association, or NCGMA, represents glazing trades which can include exterior glass installation on high rises and stadiums and specialty etchings on glass interiors.

Members of each association are a diverse configuration of companies, often competitors. NCAT helps the companies could present a collective front to showcase their combined expertise, the scale of their projects, and the skills of their highly trained workforce.

While twenty years of progress and innovation may seem like a long time, NCAT knew it was just getting started. The organization is committed to continually seeking new ways of advancing the industry, and year over year builds on its vision for continued growth. When NCAT contacted Marker Seven to oversee its rebranding and digital transformation, it was clear from the start that it would be critical to honor the organization’s past while at the same time looking to the future.

A new brand would serve as a launch pad for the next evolution of NCAT’s growth. Taking on this project, we knew that what we built would need to serve as a flexible foundation, enabling the organization to pivot and change as it continues to push the industry into the future. 

The process included refreshed brand colors, new messaging, and the development of a custom digital communications platform with both external-facing and members-only components. The technology supports initiatives such as on-demand training, continuing education opportunities, and a secure portal where board members can find agendas, minutes, and documentation for governing the organization.

NCAT CEO Jeannie Simpelo steered the project toward advanced planning from the start. Understanding that change will always come, whether in the form of financial slowdowns or regulatory modifications, she requested features that would help NCAT members stay on top of fluctuations at a moment’s notice. These included an alert system for circumstances with jobsite impacts, member notifications on the progress of labor negotiations, and general communications updates on the state of the industry. This forward thinking enabled NCAT to respond proactively and effectively as new protocols rolled out for the industry in 2020.

The communications platform also includes sections on bid opportunities, manager-specific resources, and online training – both for professional enrichment and for mandatory compliance. Instructional videos and documentation assist companies in understanding legislation and fulfilling union requirements. A resource library also guides new union signatory members thoroughly and clearly about their requirements as employers. Each of these features helped member companies to monitor industry changes and create work pipelines during an otherwise uncertain year.

In 2020, Marker Seven was also able to help NCAT quickly respond to the global pandemic and keep jobsites moving by producing a COVID-19 Safety in the Workplace video specifically for contractors.

The project has been widely embraced by the association’s membership, and the new communications platform will serve as a cornerstone of NCAT’s business moving forward.

If your organization needs a partner who can help you prepare for your short and long-term needs, in any climate, contact us today.