The evolution of a brand


The evolution of a brand

RAPID CITY, S.D. (Sept. 18, 2013) – As society, technology and the marketplace evolve, a brand must evolve as well. Often a brand’s greatest strength can, in just a few short years, become its greatest weakness.

The American Advertising Federation (AAF) has seen it happen with the ADDY® Awards.

From the time of its founding, the ADDYs’ greatest strength was its roots as a local club competition, and it remains so today. Unlike the CLIOs, Cannes, the One Show and the many other international competitions, the ADDYs was the only competition that recognized work that is outstanding when judged against the standards of the local market.

As the competition has grown, as the marketplace has evolved into a more global one, as the menu of media options has expanded greatly, that great strength has also become a weakness.

The “local” feel of the competition has, to many, obscured its size and its national scope.

Entrants forget that the same competition affords them the opportunity to compete regionally and nationally. Indeed, some don’t know it at all.

As a result, the ADDYs – the largest and most competitive advertising awards program – has seen its prestige slip in comparison to that of international competitions such as Cannes, the CLIOs and the One Show.

The AAF was faced with a classic problem of helping a brand through a transition in the marketplace. To start the process, the leaders of the National ADDY Committee turned first to some of the industry’s greatest brand strategists: the panels of national ADDY judges who bring years of experience in diverse industries, markets and media. Their feedback was remarkably consistent:

  •  Other awards competitions are international and very similar to one another
  • America is seen as the world’s leader in innovative advertising, and American work is respected and esteemed
  • The uniquely American nature of the ADDYs should be embraced
  • The fact that ADDY winners represent the best in American advertising – the best of the best, so to speak – should be leveraged
  • The ADDYs is the only competition that begins in smaller, local markets and progresses to the national level

The judges felt strongly that, as much equity as the ADDY name has, it set a limit on how the competition was perceived, and that the market needs to be reminded that AAF’s awards program is a local, regional and, most importantly, American advertising competition.

Their feedback was weighed and considered by the leadership of the National ADDY Committee. This group felt strongly that changing the name of the competition to the American Advertising Awards would be a powerful first step in repositioning the brand. It represents the entire spectrum of advertising: print, TV, radio, cinema, online, non-traditional, out-of-home, sales promotion and more. And it represents the diversity of AAF’s membership: large markets and small, b-to-b and b-to-c, advertisers, agencies, media and suppliers.

This name makes it clear that this competition embraces every aspect of American advertising, and that it does it from the local level up to the national. And who better to seize this market position and conduct the American Advertising Awards than the American Advertising Federation? As always, the AAF is the unifying voice for advertising and the largest organization representing the American advertising industry.

In short, the name change helps achieve one of the most important goals in marketing communications: to establish what makes your product different. And, in this case, better.

American Advertising Awards logo


About AAF-BH

The American Advertising Federation-Black Hills exists to accelerate the success of the Black Hills advertising community by acting as a catalyst for idea exchange and creative energy. It provides education, inspiration, resources and support to the community; recognizes advertising excellence; develops future leaders; and promotes the value that advertising brings to the area’s well-being. Find us online at, on Facebook at, on Twitter at and on LinkedIn at

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