Scenes from UAG’S annual conference: Peter Sheahan of ChangeLabs presents the keynote address.
Erik Hokom Scenes from UAG’S annual conference: Peter Sheahan of ChangeLabs presents the keynote address.

The United Aqua Group, formerly known as Aquatech, announced the rollout of several branding programs at its annual conference.

While the group adopted UAG as the name of its umbrella corporation, Aquatech remains the brand for its builders, Aqua Value for retailers and Aqua Commercial for its commercial contractors.

Held Feb. 3-7 in Phoenix, the event drew 650 attendees from 165 companies.

At the opening session, UAG Vice President of Marketing Tracy Thomas outlined the new branding tools, including a set of three, minute-long videos for members to post on their websites or use for local television commercials. One is more design-oriented and geared to high-end clients, one humorous and family-oriented, while a third targets retail customers.

The group also has developed several short “viral” videos meant to launch this spring and spread quickly through social media. They are for Aqua Value retailers.

“We feel like it’s doing something a little bit differently than everybody else in the industry,” Thomas said. “We’re really trying to create awareness so if people think of building a pool or want to buy pool supplies or get service [they’ll] ... have our brands top of mind.”

UAG also updated its website and created Web templates for members. While the sites were created to ease the process of posting and changing content, UAG can perform some maintenance for an extra fee.

The materials are part of a push for members to reinforce the branding. It is hoped that all companies will incorporate the Aquatech, Aqua Value and Aqua Commercial monikers in their names.

“Even though builders and retailers are in local markets, they become more relevant if they’re affiliated with a national brand that has standards of professionalism and quality,” said Jeff Fausett, CEO of the Las Vegas-based organization. “In this day of digital marketing, having a national brand elevates your presence on the Web to a whole other level.”

Peter Sheahan, CEO of ChangeLabs, a global consulting firm that has helped companies such as Apple and IBM work through transitions, gave the keynote address. He encouraged attendees to see their businesses with a new perspective to help respond to changing times.

The group also bade farewell to longtime chairman Ron Atlas of Paragon Aquatech, Wheeling, Ill. He retired after serving on the board for 15 years, the last five at the highest post. Don Gwiz of Lewis Aquatech in Chantilly, Va., has taken the helm.

In the past year, the UAG grew to include 280 members.

Next year’s event will take place Feb. 2-6, 2015 in Puerto Rico.