The way professionals perceive their profession is central to the way the profession is seen by others. When a group of independent HR Associations in Canada came together and rebranded to CPHR Canada, it changed everything.

CPHR Canada

How can a membership association build brand value and drive member engagement?

“We continue to see great results for CPHR Saskatchewan and our members from the CPHR branding and our increased profile nationally and provincially. We continue to receive positive responses from government to self-regulation and other important HR-related discussions, that we see as a direct outcome of the branding and communication efforts. And, we’re seeing an increase in engagement with members who are looking to be part of the CPHR Saskatchewan board and leadership.”

Gary Mearns, MBA, CPHR
Chair CPHR Saskatchewan


  • independent brands across eight provinces
  • recently formed coalition
  • strong competition
  • trademark disputes underway
  • professional designation change
  • French, English and bilingual applications
  • complete lack of brand awareness


  • elevate the profession of CPHRs among membership, the business community and government.
  • position CPHR as the national voice of the profession.
  • rebrand the designation on people’s business cards and the associations as CPHR.
  • visually align across eight associations.
  • communicate national and international issues from CPHR Canada.
  • establish direct relationships between members and their provincial associations while demonstrating national and international presence.
  • achieve 65% member satisfaction with the CPHR designation / brand in each associated province.
CPHR Partner video - New Flyer.


CPHR Canada is the 27,000 member association that represents the human resources profession across Canada.

Through their eight member associations, they certify practitioners as CPHRs: Chartered Professionals in Human Resources.


The Ontario Human Resources Association announced that they would change the nationally accepted designation for human resource practitioners of CHRP into a three tiered system of CHRE (Executive) CHRL (Leader) and CHRP (Practitioner). They made this unilateral change despite requests and protests from the balance of Member Associations across Canada. In doing so, the designation proudly earned and held by the rest of the Country was devalued to entry level.


The eight Member Associations across Canada declared a strengthened vision and mandate for the profession, under a single, stronger designation. CPHR Canada and the member associations had recently established consistent minimum requirements for certification, and a national Code of Conduct; each of the provincial associations was moving forward together toward self-regulation, and they were accrediting Post-Secondary Education programs across the country that align with CPHR educational requirements.


They renamed the designation, the national association and each of the provincial member associations under the CPHR banner.

They needed a brand that would:
  • position them as the national leader in a market where Ontario has chosen a different path and wants to establish themselves as the national voice.
  • reflect the evolution of the human resources function and its reputation. Over the past decade, the profession has advanced from a largely administrative role to a strategic business leadership resource.
  • support the members to proudly refer to themselves as CPHRs and see professional value in the transition.
  • support the member associations in their bids for self-regulation.
  • establish CPHR Canada as an international leader.


Define a Forecast that the national and provincial boards and the leadership teams of the member associations could:

  1. Establish a communication process that was centrally developed and managed, and provincially disseminated, allowing for consistency in base messaging and timing and specificity in tone and delivery within each Member Association.
  2. Establish a name, logo and logo hierarchy system that made sense nationally, provincially and in relation to individual member designations, in both French and English.
  3. Create a brand that accurately reflects the profession’s evolution to date and positions CPHR well to continue toward self-regulation and greater career advancement for members.


BY 2020

CPHR is the recognized, respected and trusted human resources certification in Canada and our reputation is growing around the world.

Business, industry and government hold CPHR as the benchmark for human capital management. Employers are increasingly demanding the designation.

CPHRs are proud advocates of the profession. All HR professionals hold, or are working toward, their CPHR designation.

CPHR Canada is the voice of the Canadian HR profession, at home and abroad.

We consistently provide a strong value proposition for CPHRs, the profession and employers, through certification, standards and regulation, advocacy, research and influence, based on our expertise.

We are results-oriented, resourceful, accountable and forward-thinking.

We bring a unified and collaborative pan-Canadian HR experience where differences are acknowledged and best practices are emulated nationally.


The major challenge was bringing together eight associations from coast to coast and developing a brand that positioned CPHR as the national voice of the HR profession among membership, the business community and government.



We help employers and employees realize their potential for success.


CPHR continually offers leadership in HR competency.


We help employers and employees realize their potential for success.


Impactful, Professional, Credible, Influential, Visionary


ASSOCIATION MEMBERS: Especially for association members, CPHR Canada is the professional HR association that elevates the CPHR designation and advances HR careers.

BUSINESS LEADERS: Especially for business leaders, CPHR professionals are the experts in managing your employees to help your business succeed and grow.



The brand challenge was to create a visual identity system that was easily recognizable at three levels (personal, provincial and national) across nine organizations and two languages.

There are few brands that people associate with their personal careers as profoundly as their designation brand. While you may associate well with your employers’ brand, your designation brand is aligned to your name throughout your career.

It was imperative that CPHRs could take personal and professional pride in their designation and could see their professional position reflected there.

Provincially, it was important that consistency was established across all participating provinces, but that each province felt they could adapt key components to meet their needs. It was also imperative that the provincial brand reinforce the relationship with their members, and provide the provincial associations with the visibility and credibility they will need to seek self-regulation.

Nationally, it was imperative that CPHR establish their position as the national voice for the HR profession, in light of Ontario’s contrary position. So the brand needed to reflect their national and international leadership role.

There was one clear key to the solution across all levels – to elevate every aspect of the brand to strategic business leadership. The profession has evolved far beyond the image of HR as the soft, nice to have, side of business. It was time for the brand to fully reflect this truth.

In terms of the visual identity, we needed to incorporate standard imagery, colour palettes and patterns throughout. Each provincial logo was versioned from the CPHR logo proper. This unity in style allowed the organization to leverage the awareness of brand to the benefit of all.


Marketing materials in support of the brand included designation certificates and lapel pins for CPHRs across Canada. The provincial associations needed stationery, website design, website sliders, e-newsletter templates, signage options, banners and powerpoint templates.

On February 1, 2017 CPHR Canada launched their designation brand. This included announcements of CPHR Canada as the new national association name and two provinces launched their provincial association name changes on that date.

CPHR Canada launched with a news release to national outlets and stakeholder communication to government and business associates, as well as HR associations outside of Canada.

Each of the provinces announced the designation re-brand on their websites and through e-newsletters to members first, then government, business and educational stakeholders in each province, followed by news releases in each of their jurisdictions.

The balance of the associations rolled out their name and brand changes similarly in the following months. Location signage, certification certificates and lapel pins were rolled out, as appropriate, in each area.

In April 2017, an awareness campaign was launched, directed at business leaders across the participating provinces.


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