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.