New Identity and Unprecedented Growth for CFA Institute

By June 7, 2017 No Comments

In 1997, when Jim arrived to the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR), the organization had fewer than 50,000 candidates in its signature Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program on top of a substantial brand-identify problem in the marketplace. Across nine years, Jim built a marketing/communications function that would literally would re-define the organization. First on at the docket was to find a voice and an image that was representative of a leading, global organization of investment professionals, something Jim accomplished with more persuasive, but always-elegant narrative and contemporary, global imagery that told the organization’s story through the eyes of its constituents. This initial effort led to a surge in CFA candidates, nearly doubling enrollment over a five-year period. Jim then delivered on the unthinkable, achieving consensus for a name and branding change from AIMR to CFA Institute, aligning the organization’s brand with its core identity in the marketplace before persuading all but three of 150+ chapters to align their names with the CFA brand. By 2005, CFA candidate enrollment had leveled off, and Jim was nearly alone in the belief that more aggressive marketing could bring a new reality. Engineering global marketing and public relations strategy around market research, Jim’s efforts led to a sustained surge in growth to the CFA Program, nearly tripling the size of a program that many believed had reached its peak.

Jim led a months-long effort, first, to build consensus for name change to “CFA Institute” and corresponding rebranding effort.

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