By: Hamish Champ
October 28, 2013
DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — The Society of Plastics Engineers used the K show to launch a new logo as part of an image overhaul of the Newton, Conn.-based organization.
Willem de Vos, SPE's chief executive, said the decision to rebrand the society had its roots in wanting to increase its appeal among young people who might be considering a career in plastics, and to raise the profile of plastics' usage throughout the world.
"We are living in an increasingly digital world where you need to be more visual in your approach [to stand out].
"The colors of our website as it appears currently reflect what the SPE looked like back when it was founded in the 1940s. We wanted to reflect the changes that have taken place in the world and reach out to more young people."
While SPE's new logo was unveiled at the K show, the organization's new-look website will not be revealed until early next year, said de Vos. "We've got the main site to work on and then 40 other member group sites to change and this takes time."
As well as a new website, the SPE will be launching a series of apps, one of which will feature the society's magazine Plastics Engineering, which also has been revamped.
"The new generation is a digital one and if we want to stay relevant we need to appeal and reach out to them," said de Vos.
But he stressed this would not be at the cost of alienating its existing membership.
"We want to keep the people we have [on board] as well as attract new people to the SPE.
"We need young people to come into the plastics industry, not least because of the [older] age profile of those running many companies in the sector. But changes like these constitute an evolutionary process, not a revolutionary one."
SPE, meanwhile, has global ambitions. De Vos said that while the society remains strong in the United States, it wants to gain more traction in markets such as China and Latin America, not least with a series of high-level conferences, starting with a medical plastics event in China in December and an Antec gathering in Dubai early next year. De Vos describes the latter as the first technical conference in the region.
SPE President Jon Ratzlaff said SPE will partner with various conferences to promote its rebranding, as the organization seeks to adapt to the changes in the markets in which it operates.
"We're bringing speakers from all over the world to our events, in places like China, as well as using quality speakers from the local market.
"Developing markets need a high level of expertise. They recognize that we can offer that."