NABS’ new direction

The organization's executive director Jay Bertram on its new strategy and updated look.


Pictured: The previous NABS logo, left, and the refreshed logo, right.

NABS Canada has undergone a refresh, creating a new strategic approach and brand identity aimed at bolstering both awareness and appreciation for its work and donations.

“When I came on board, I seriously looked at the name,” says Jay Betram, NABS’ executive director, who joined the organization last April.

Many people don’t actually know that NABS stands for National Advertising Benevolent Society, or those who do may not know what that really means, he says. Still, the organization ultimately decided to take its existing asset and make it better.

As a result, the charity – which offers free support to people in the media, marketing and communications industries facing unemployment, illness or financial difficulties – will now be known officially as NABS, much like, say, CIBC, he says. The branding will always be presented as lowercase (“nabs”) and won’t be referred to with its full name. In part, the organization also wanted to veer away from the focus on “advertising,” since its work covers all facets of the communications industry, he adds.

“When we figured out where we wanted to go, we realized that our brand presentation was not in keeping with our ambition,” Bertram says. So, along with the refreshed strategy and commitment to the acronym, NABS has refreshed its logo with the help of a graduate from the Ontario College of Art and Design, Ladan Nur. The new logo, which features a pair of people connecting, aims to reflect NABS’ work.

With increasing pressures in the industry from consolidation, company layoffs and changing or eliminated job titles, there has been an increased need for the services NABS offers, Bertram says (the organization serves about 2,000 individuals per year and demand for services in 2017 was tracking 25% higher than the previous year). That was the impetus to discuss its purpose going forward, with a vision to now “be the voice and champion of our industry’s human capital.”

Currently, NABS’ funding comes from the reselling of donated media. That will continue but it’s also looking for new revenue streams, including increased donations, he says. It will also be broadening its target to client-side marketers, who are facing similar pressures to those at agencies, Bertram says.

NABS has already begun proactively expanding its products and services to keep pace with issues hitting the industry, such as creating its “RIPE” workshops for industry talent over age 45. Next month, it will launch a new national fundraising initiative.