A mime, a Dixieland band, and Visit Phoenix President and CEO Steve Moore walk into a trade show. This unlikely trio opened the first-ever Creativation show to much fanfare in January at Phoenix Convention Center, where Association for Creative Industries (formerly Craft and Hobby Association) nailed the rebranding of its annual trade show from MEGA Show to Creativation, and of the association as a whole. Behind the name change is a push to appeal to a younger demographic of manufacturers, retailers, designers, emerging businesses, influencers, bloggers and creative professionals.
Andria LaJeunesse, CEM, vice president of events and education at AFCI, shared how the team executed an association rebrand and launched an all-new annual conference that this year attracted 338 exhibitors and more than 3,000 attendees from 54 countries.
Who attends Creativation?
We support the entire creative industry. That’s one of the reasons for the name change: to encompass everybody. Our buyers range from small mom-and-pop scrapbook stores all the way up to Michaels, Jo-Ann, Hobby Lobby and more. Those people come to buy and fill their stores for the entire year. Our exhibitors are the manufacturers.
What was your first step in the rebrand?
We hired agency [Verse Brand Strategy] to help us through the process and identify what changes needed to be made. We knew we needed to revamp not only the show, but also the association as a whole. They did interviews with members at our trade show last year and with former members to get a better understanding of why they weren’t getting value from the association anymore.
Why did you want to announce the association name change at the show?
We felt it would be best announced at the show once we [could] say we were committed to change. That’s why it didn’t come at the same time as the announcement of the new show name. When people walked into the show on the final day, everything was rebranded, including [staff]. We planned it so there would be buzz leading up to the party that night.
How did you come up with the name Creativation?
In a staff meeting one day we started throwing around names. We wanted the word “create” in there, and thought of “innovation,” “destination” and “creation.” I don’t know who said “creativation” in the meeting, but everybody sat back and said, “That’s it.”