Wednesday, July 22, 2015

You're Going to Wear THAT?

Who hasn't heard something similar from someone they know well at some point? That's how I was introduced to the term "Canadian tuxedo." (if you don't know what a Canadian tuxedo is, I'll save you the Google, Oxford Dictionary search by saying it's a denim jacket worn with jeans).

We just launched a new brand identity that includes a name change that more accurately describes who we are. It's been a long time coming.

Why is it so hard to do for yourself what you do every day for others with such ease?

And why has it taken so long?

Because we haven't gotten around to it? Because we're difficult customers? Partly true. But it really comes down to perspective. It's just hard to stand back and look at yourself objectively. Doing it for my company made me realize how challenging it can be from the other side.

People change. Companies evolve. Every so often it takes a look in the mirror to see how we're doing. It also helps to have a trusted third party give you their candid thoughts. You  might get there faster if someone says, "wear this, not that."

Our new threads:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Five Ways Members Experience Your Brand

Most membership organizations struggle with their brand identity at one time or another. Member demographics change, industries evolve, and technology disrupts everything.

Are You Steak and Lobster, or Burgers and Fries?

Over time, members build a perception based on interaction with your organization. You may think you're branded as steak and lobster, but the reality may be burgers and fries (which may not be bad.) Here are some ways members experience a brand, and some questions to think about:

1. Publication. Whether you're publishing in print or online, a magazine or other periodical is a proven way to touch your members on a regular basis. Are you delivering the information they want? Is it presented in a fresh, modern way — different from your competitors?

2. Website. Is your website designed from your own internal perspective — by department? Or is it designed to easily deliver what your members — and potential members are looking for?

3. Phone. If you've ever called American Express, you know the service you receive is very different from what you get from the cable company. Which type of service are your members getting from you? Have you called in to find out?

4. Social media. It's never been easier to monitor the chatter. What are your members hearing from other members about you? What are competitors saying? What are YOU saying?

5. Advocacy. Do your members make the connection between your advocacy efforts and the advancements made within their profession or industry?

The best way to answer a lot of these questions is to talk to members. Ask them what they want, how you're doing, and what you could be doing better. You may find that your brand is not exactly what you thought it was.