What’s in a name? As Shakespeare famously wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The challenge is to get everyone to recognize and use the new name.

Let’s face it,  very, very few people are thinking of the United Servicers Association when they see the letters UASA.  Adding appliance to our name will help set us apart from the national acronym.

The History of the UASA Name Change

In 1992, when our founders formed the association, there was tremendous enthusiasm for emerging technologies.  By the end of that year, there were 26 websites on the Web!  The founders wanted a name that would stand out in an online landscape that was poised to explode. They threw a net to gain membership, and what more recognizable name than “UASA”?

At the time, they imagined a growing membership of companies from electronics, air conditioning, plumbing, and other trades. Including the word, appliance risked limiting the association’s potential membership appeal.  Logical thinking for the time,  but over the intervening  27 years we’ve recognized the need for a name that will speak to the special needs of appliance repair technicians and business owners.

Since 1992  the  UASA  (that’s us,  not the country) has become North  America’s leading appliance repair association, but our goals today are even bigger. We want to make an even greater impact on the industry.

As we reach out to potential new members and sponsors, we’ve realized that we’ll need a name that will help them understand our mission.  Previously, each meeting had to start with a five-minute explanation of the UASA  acronym, followed by assurances that we’re trying to improve the appliance repair industry,  not just the service industry generally.

Five years ago we began to tackle the issue in earnest,  with discussions about making a major name change that would better represent our industry.  Of course,  there were valid arguments against the change – after all, UASA  had been around for over 20 years and was well established. So, for the time being, we decided to stick with UASA, but with an agreement that all communications would include the entire name, United Servicers Association.

At the ASTI this year, sitting with Randall Erkelens and Jennifer Lester of Philosophy  Communication, the discussion turned to how a name change would better describe the association. Randall and Jennifer recommended a “soft” name change,  a minor change to the current name. They suggested  “United Appliance Servicers  Association,” or “Appliance Servicers Association.” Nothing major – but adding appliance would describe us more accurately. We all thought it was a fantastic idea (and an example of why you should attend every ASTI  – the conversation included a lively discussion of networking, exchanging ideas, and learning from each other).

Taking a Vote: What Name Should We Use?

After talking over the soft name change with the board and industry leaders, it was decided to conduct an industry survey: 1. Should we change the name? and  2. Which name do you prefer? The survey had our best response ever, with  79% agreeing that we should make the change.

“United Appliance Servicers Association” won with 45% of the votes. “Appliance Servicers Association”  came in a close second with 34%. Thanks to all who voted!

Now the tough job begins.  It will be easy to change the name on our website, email signatures, and letterheads, but persuading the industry to use United Appliance Servicers Association or UASA will be a bigger challenge. Please consider supporting our mission by joining today: www.unitedservicers.com/register.

Read the original publication of this article in The Retail Observer.