Chicago-Based Associations Among Top-Ranked in APCO’s TradeMarks Study

January 9, 2019

Unified Voice, Media Relations, Social Media Gain in Policy Effectiveness

Chicago (July 22, 2015) – Chicago-based American Hospital Association (AHA) and National Association of Realtors (NAR) were top-ranked on four key characteristics of trade association reputation and public policy effectiveness according to the latest TradeMarks study from APCO Worldwide. AHA scored highest in member representation, events and information resources; while NAR ranked top in local impact.

The study surveyed more than 300 Washington, D.C., policy leaders to determine perceptions of what makes an association an effective public policy advocate in the eyes of its key audiences and assessed 50 leading trade associations in the United States, including associations based in Chicago. Outside of Washington, D.C., Chicago is the nation’s leading association headquarters city. Chicago also boasts more health care associations than anywhere else.

The study found having a unified voice, social media and media relations are now more important for trade and professional membership associations to be effective. Among the other five most important elements needed to make a trade association effective: multilateral impact (working effectively with regulators, legislators and political officials in the executive branch) and bipartisanship. In the inaugural study lobbying, multilateral impact, local impact, membership mobilization and coalition building were found to be the most important attributes, respectively. The TradeMarks Model is based on 15 characteristics in total.

“The latest results from our TradeMarks study confirm what we at APCO have been seeing with all our clients: social media presence is becoming a key driver of brand equity,” said Tina-Marie Adams, managing director for APCO Worldwide’s Chicago office. “Communicating with a unified voice and having a positive perception in the media are now considered more important to a trade association’s effectiveness than member mobilization or lobbying.”

A key element of the TradeMarks study is the ability to link perceived effectiveness to the outcomes associations are seeking with their efforts. The model shows a one-point increase in an association’s TradeMarks Index will result in greater and more positive consideration, partnerships, engagement, dissemination and recommendations from policy leaders on behalf of associations. This analysis enables trade associations to measure the return on effectiveness resulting from their investment in building their reputation.

APCO Worldwide’s Chicago office will host a breakfast on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 8:00 a.m. at 10 S. Wacker Drive to provide insights from the TradeMarks study and show associations how they can increase their effectiveness and build strong reputations. For more information, visit APCO Worldwide’s Chicago office page. For more information about TradeMarks, please visit

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