Standardization News

Helping Our World Work Better

James A. Thomas

Our new purpose statement reflects who we are today. James A. Thomas considers an evolving ASTM and its new brand.

Before you turned to this page, you probably noticed something different about this issue of SN. In the days to come, you will see other signs of a project recently completed - the "branding," or really the "rebranding," of ASTM International.

Perhaps you will notice a subtle change in the ASTM logo, or a more contemporary look in ASTM publications and promotional material. It's a new look that signifies something much deeper.

Many of you work for companies or organizations for whom branding is an established corporate function. Branding is today's word for how a company or an organization presents itself to the world.

ASTM standards have been branded by reputation for a long time with two keywords: quality and relevance. But some time ago, the board of directors and the staff began thinking of how ASTM as a whole might be described in one clear, simple statement. One thing we knew - we could not leave the definition of who we are and what we do to somebody else.

So part of the ASTM rebranding project is the adoption of a purpose statement: "Helping our world work better." There is a feature article in this issue of SN, written by ASTM staff members, that explains this purpose statement and other elements of the project, and I urge you to read it.

But if you've ever witnessed a technical committee's uncompromising struggle for excellence, if you've ever seen a training session or conducted one in a remote part of the globe, if you've ever helped host a technical expert from another country, if you've ever called on an ASTM staff person or an ASTM colleague for help and gotten even more than you asked for, if you've ever flown across the country or around the world and worked into the small hours of the morning to give the best you have to give on behalf of ASTM, this purpose statement already means something to you. It will resonate.

This organization has always been more than a place to work and volunteer. It's a place where work means something. Something good. Something significant.

In the day-to-day grind of tending to details and the sometimes mundane tasks we all must perform to keep this organization ever serving and ever contributing, we may occasionally lose sight of the bigger picture. Of our purpose. Of who we are and what we do.

When this happens, it may help to remember why the board of directors and the staff undertook this project. It was to present ASTM International to the world in a way that best expresses its character and its commitment, but it was also for us, the members and the staff of ASTM, so that we might remember what our work does when it leaves us and takes on its own life.

We are helping our world work better. And that's something we all can be tremendously proud of.

James A. Thomas

President, ASTM International

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