Home > Carpet Cleaning, Industry News > Exclusive Interview: IICRC Chairman Darrell Paulson on the Truth Behind the IICRC/Clean Trust Rebrand

Exclusive Interview: IICRC Chairman Darrell Paulson on the Truth Behind the IICRC/Clean Trust Rebrand

The IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) startled many in the carpet cleaning industry when it decided to rebrand itself as The Clean Trust last October. While some cleaners were in favor of the name change, others felt the rebrand unnecessary.

On March 17th, the IICRC/Clean Trust shocked cleaners again by announcing that they would be reverting to their former acronym. But why? We spoke to IICRC Chairman Darrell Paulson to get the inside scoop.

ServiceMonster:  Why did the board vote to return to the IICRC brand name?  Was this a unanimous decision?

Darrell Paulson:  The board solicited feedback from shareholder associations, instructors, distributers, general registrants, schools and more, throughout the past few months and considered many options.

Based on the mixed reactions, and taking all aspects into consideration, the board voted near unanimously to change the name of the organization back to IICRC as the main brand and use the Clean Trust as a service mark. This allows the organization to honor its 40-year history, while gaining more awareness with end-users.

ServiceMonster:  Why did the board decide to retain The CleanTrust as a service mark?  What does this mean?

Darrell Paulson:  The original driver of the name change was to help increase traction outside the industry. In registrant surveys taken in 2010 and 2011, name recognition outside the industry was cited as the organization’s greatest challenge and feedback called for stronger end-user awareness.

Through further discussions, we decided to return to IICRC – but using the CleanTrust as a service mark will help end-users, especially consumers, also recognize the name. Our goal is to one day have the Clean Trust be seen along the same lines as the Good Housekeeping seal.

ServiceMonster:  What will the new IICRC/The Clean Trust branding look like? 

Darrell Paulson:  The IICRC will retain the graphic elements of the new branding and logo launched in October. The new logo and colors provides an updated, modern feel. In the coming weeks, we will begin updating all materials, as needed with the new IICRC logo including brochures, the tradeshow booth, certificates, video, etc. We are also very excited to announce a new website that will launch the day of the Certification Council meeting on April 22, 2012.

ServiceMonster:  How should cleaners integrate this new branding into their marketing materials?  Is either brand logo acceptable, or does the IICRC advise a different course of action?

Darrell Paulson:  We are in the process of determining when the IICRC or the Clean Trust should be used. Generally speaking, any industry related materials will be IICRC, and any end-user materials will be the CleanTrust, an IICRC program.

The organization will determine all brand guidelines and detail all decisions at the Certification Council meeting on April 22. We understand that there will be some frustration over the materials changes; we hope to mitigate as many of those as possible by asking registrants to hold any ordering until our brand guidelines are updated and shared. 

However, note that with the continued use of the Clean Trust service mark, all materials that have already been created are still accurate.

ServiceMonster:  How will the IICRC avoid brand confusion between the logos in their own branding?  What should cleaners do to avoid similar brand confusion?

Darrell Paulson:  The organization will clearly lay out when to use the IICRC logo and when to use the Clean Trust service mark for end-users in our brand guidelines.  These will be shared with all registrants – and can be requested again any time through headquarters, following the Certification Council meeting. Whenever the Clean Trust is listed, it will be noted that it is an IICRC program; linking the two together.

ServiceMonster:  According to the Oct. 14 letter by Paul Pearce regarding the Clean Trust rebrand, part of the reasoning behind rebranding the IICRC to The Clean Trust was that it allowed the organization to expand into other service areas, as well as giving it the opportunity to offer home technician cleaning classes and other new classes.  Will the IICRC still be pursuing these avenues, despite the reversion to the IICRC name?

Darrell Paulson:  All avenues to help achieve our mission will continue to be considered; the rebrand will not alter our strategic plans. Our mission has always been to identify and promote an international standard of care that establishes and maintains the health, safety and welfare of the built environment.

ServiceMonster:  The same letter referenced above referred to the need for the IICRC to become both a trade association and institute, stating that the Clean Trust rebrand would allow the organization to exist as multiple entities—a set of standards, trade association, institute, accreditation, and so on.  Is this still the plan for the IICRC going forward?  If so, how will the organization make the IICRC brand work for this purpose?

Darrell Paulson:  The IICRC will continue to move forward with plans for an independent, international trade association (ITA) that will unify the industry and support collaboration to pursue common goals and interests. We are still finalizing the structure and determining the best way to brand the ITA. As we work through the details, we will keep all interested and affected parties informed.

ServiceMonster:  Does this name change have anything to do with the IICRC’s new partnership with the RIA?

Darrell Paulson:  The Memorandum of Understanding between the IICRC and RIA was established to enhance a working relationship between both organizations; it did not have any bearing on the name change.

During the several months of conversation, board members talked to shareholder associations, instructors, distributers, general registrants, schools and more, to understand the sentiment of the industry. We took everything into consideration and explored several options before coming to this decision.

No single individual or association had more influence than any other.

ServiceMonster:  How will the brand update unfold over the coming months?

Darrell Paulson:  The full IICRC branding roll-out will be made on April 22 at the Certification Council meeting. The ensuing weeks, between now and then, will allow time to develop various documents and materials to affect an orderly announcement to the industry, and provide the capability to field questions from certified individuals, registered firms, the media and other interested parties.

ServiceMonster:  Is there anything else you would like cleaners to know about these upcoming changes? 

Darrell Paulson:  We understand that there are many questions and we’ll do our best to answer them. And, as we work through the details, we will keep you informed to the best of our abilities. Please reach out to headquarters for any specific questions.

To stay updated on IICRC/Clean Trust news, visit the IICRC website at http://www.iicrc.org/home.shtml.

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