As part of the first day’s events during Committee Week, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Frank Hugelmeyer announced that the Reston, Va.-based organization officially was rebranding itself as the “RV Industry Association.”

The reason for the change is to more clearly and immediately convey to legislators and other outsiders that the organization represents the recreational vehicle industry, as opposed to other powersports industries as has sometimes previously happened, RVIA’s James Ashurst told Woodall’s Campground Management.

“Following the presidential inauguration,” he said, “Frank and several of our key leaders were at a an event with the vice president, and they were looking at the letters ‘RVIA.’ Someone asked the question, ‘Would anyone know what that stands for if they weren’t already in the industry?’ It was a great point. This new logo and this new positioning for us, to our external audiences, removed any doubt of who it is we are, what we want to do, and who we represent.”

Having said that, Ashurst added, no one expects those in the industry to let go of using “RVIA” when referring to the organization. There have simply been too many years of its use to think otherwise, he conceded. “RVIA is always going to be RVIA in the industry, but to our external audiences this new marquee, this new brand, removes any ambiguity about who we are and who we represent,” he said.

The revamped website is not only reflective of the new branding, Ashurst pointed out, but also is designed to be a better experience for members to access a multitude of news, publications and other information.

“We’re calling it a ‘Content Management System’ because it’s more than just a website. It’s literally a delivery vehicle in the digital space for all things RV Industry Association,” Ashurst said. “Everything we push out will available on the new site. Everything we send out from a newsletter standpoint will have links embedded in them, which will then draw traffic back to our website. We’ll finally be able to track metrics on the site to find out what members are engaging with and what content they’re engaging with, and that better informs us about what we need to make prominent for our members and for people to access. It’s a lot easier to navigate. It’s just a million percent improvement in terms of our user experience.”

One aspect of the newly revamped website is it’s connected to a single database built off the Salesforce Platform, a leading cloud-based Customer Relationship Management software system, which allows members a single point of entry and account management.

Likening it a “Community Hub,” Ashurst said members will appreciate the “seamless interaction back and forth between the website and our database.” And, crediting the RVIA board for green-lighting the technology investment, he said the new website is a better representation of what “a $50 billion industry deserves.”

“Hopefully, the industry will feel the same way, because it’s been a lot of work,” he said. “But the industry deserves a consistent look, a bold look to our external audiences. This is a great industry and we need platforms to represent just how great the industry is.”

Although the rebranding process and website overhaul began more than a year ago – both were quietly put into effect earlier this year with the intention to work out any bugs before the official launch during Committee Week, Ashurst noted – the projects can trace their origin to June of 2015, when Hugelmeyer, the former president of the Outdoor Industry Association, was hired to the same position at RVIA.

“When Frank came on board, over the course of the first couple of years we looked at the all the various different activities we do as an organization, all the different assets that have as an organization, and all the different resources that we have as an organization, and what became very clear was we were producing a lot of great material and a lot of great information, but we weren’t portraying all of this with any consistency and everything was kind of coming out of the organization piecemeal,” Ashurst explained.

“So, when membership and member communications came over when we completely restructured,” he continued, “we added resources where we needed to and began a journey of refreshing the RVIA logo as well as with our branded products, and the new website.