Nothing is more foundational than an association’s messaging. In fact, here’s the blunt truth: You’re only as strong as your messaging.
Weak messaging is all about you--most mission and vision statements, for example. Strong messaging is all about members and potential members--what their challenges are, and the specific ways you can help them overcome those challenges.
What do you want members and potential members to think, feel, and do?
How do you hone in on your most compelling messages? You do it by answering a simple question: What do I want members and potential members to think, feel and do?
Maybe you want them to think: Wow, they’re doing a lot for members.
And you want them to feel: I trust them. They get it.
Which leads to what you want them to do: Get even more value by becoming a more engaged member. Or, for potential members, seriously consider becoming a member.
Seeing the Big Picture
It’s hard to develop strong messaging on your own. You’re likely so used to the messaging status quo that you can’t see your association the way members (especially unhappy ones) or potential members do.
So, consider hiring messaging experts. The cost won’t be high, the process can move quickly, and chances are you’ll never regret the investment. Because if your messaging is weak, nothing else you do can compensate. If it’s strong, everything else will be more effective.
Jim Reil is Creative Director and Senior Writer at inMotion. Since 1979, inMotion has helped dozens of associations grow, restructure and innovate. Clients include the Canadian Automobile Association, Canadian Council on Aviation and Aerospace, Consumer Health Products Canada, the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, the Canadian Wood Council, the Canadian Curling Association, Forest Products Association of Canada, Canadian Wildlife Federation, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and many others.
Many organizations find effectively communicating with their membership to be difficult. Using a message that is about what's important to your members rather than what's critical to your organization even more so. In his CSAE publication, Creating Value for Members: A Strategic Guide for Associations, Donald Belfall gives your association a place to start by shining a light on the need to deliver real value to members. When you better understand what your organization offers that your members value, and why, you can better address the message needed to communicate that value.