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History Supports Rebranding of Healthcare Distribution Alliance

HDA 140th Anniversary Exhibit

In celebration of its 140th anniversary, HDA created a special presentation and exhibit on its history, displayed at the Business and Leadership Conference (BLC) 2016 in Colorado Springs, CO. Photo courtesy HDA

The Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA), a trade association representing primary pharmaceutical distributors, was preparing for a major rebranding effort that coincided with its 140th anniversary. They wanted to tell a compelling story that spans 140 years of effort to protect and promote the medical supply chain, so they hired History Associates to research and prepare material for use in their marketing collateral and events. The length of the alliance’s history, which stretched back to the United States centennial and included several name changes, provided History Associates with both the opportunity and the challenge of examining over a hundred years’ worth of information.

Providing Historical Context for Change

History Associates examined the alliance’s archives and gathered additional sources at the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and other local and remote repositories. The team of historians researched significant events in HDA’s past, such as its support of the Pure Food and Drug Act, its advocacy on behalf of members during Prohibition, and its efforts to promote a safe and secure supply chain during World War II. History Associates created a new, dynamic narrative presentation that helped place HDA’s rebranding efforts in the context of its long history of adapting to new challenges.

Telling a Memorable Story

HDA announced the rebranding at its annual Business and Leadership Conference in Colorado Springs, and asked History Associates to provide the content for a special exhibit for the show which would emphasize both the organization’s new name and extensive history. History Associates staff provided guidance to HDA’s graphic designer on panel flow, word count, and organization of the content that was gathered by the firm. With a short turnaround time, the team of historians completed the additional research and image acquisitions, and then wrote, revised, and delivered a script to the HDA designers.

As the annual conference drew closer, History Associates provided advice on the type of display cases HDA should acquire for the exhibit. Historians also wrote labels and worked with HDA to ensure the proper packing and shipment of the exhibit components.

At HDA’s request, a History Associates research historian traveled to the conference in Colorado Springs to supervise the exhibit and act as a “historian on demand.” Once on-site, he ensured that the case layouts of the exhibits were correct and gave informal talks about HDA’s history to conference attendees. The historian’s presence allowed visitors the chance to examine, ask questions, and observe objects up close. The historian also provided support to the HDA staff and ensured the safety of artifacts in the exhibit.

Creating a Foundation for the Future

The anniversary celebration at the conference was a huge success. Attendees enjoyed seeing the exhibit artifacts – in particular, a menu from the last time an HDA conference was held at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs back in 1922. The presentation of HDA’s history also received an enthusiastic response. After the meeting, History Associates’ foundational work also allowed for HDA to design and launch an online historical timeline. “The goal, as we announced the rebranding of our organization, was to celebrate our past and embrace the future,” noted John Parker, Senior Vice President, Communications of HDA. “With History Associates’ help, we were able to tell our story in a meaningful and memorable way through the presentation of unique images, artifacts and fresh narrative.”

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