Rebranding Your Organization

I recently attended an educational session on rebranding your organization and wrote this post on from my notes.

Expectations vs Reality!

Change is hard and most people don't like it.  Who should you involve in getting from A to B?

Do you use an outside group to help in the transition?  Most will tell you this is key!  Get outside expertise to get the ball rolling.

First step is to acknowledge that you need to change:

  • Buy-in first from the CEO and then rally the troops - staff and volunteers
  • Everyone needs to be on the same page
  • Remember, rebranding is not about changing your logo

Brand = Reputation

Define what you want with this rebrand?  Create and align all your program of work that you want to do (hint, get rid of the sacred cows)

Three phases of the launch: 1) Preparation; 2) Internal launch; and 3) external launch.

Plan on at least 12 months, set your strategy and then tell the story - where we were, where we are, where we're going.

  • Culture vs behavior:  Create a culture that will change the behavior.
  • Make the change matter - tell them why we're changing.
  • Stand your ground when the naysayers show up.

You've based your decisions on data (survey work with your members).  Tell the story that they were involved with from the beginning.

Three types of groups you'll encounter:

  1. They love it (small)
  2. I don't know how I feel (most will come around)
  3. They hate it and have already made up their mind (not that many but can be loud).  And by the way, some may find their way out!  That's ok.  Focus on the new, not the old.

Measure and do better as you go through this process.

  • Who moved my cheese book - let them move their own cheese!
  • Use the Horizon Initiative: Chambers 2025 report to help with the discussion on what you want to be.  I'm a fan of the "fund the mission" not events.  I've said it before about getting out of the ribbon cutting business, get into the advocacy business.

You'll find that you'll have more time to focus on moving your chamber forward instead of chasing the next event.

Think about your monthly Board Meeting!  Wouldn't you like to get those down to a quarterly basis?  That way you can focus on getting real stuff done vs writing the minutes and then turning right around to create the next months Board agenda.

It's a never-ending cycle!

In addition, how many times do we complain that we can't get our board members to attend the monthly meeting?

Maybe you'll get better attendance if you move it to a quarterly basis!

Content Strategies for Associations

Let's all recognize that content went online from print.  The days of magazines and newsletters has been dropping for years.

So what should you do?

You need to create a content curation strategy.

That's how inbound/content marketing was born.  Think SEO.

Marketing technology is the next level of the inbound/content marketing model.  You need to track what's going on out there so you can get these folks in your membership prospect funnel.

Outbound marketing, your traditional ways of reaching out to your prospective members and members, is still important as you upgrade your new marketing strategy.

They key is to do both!

Refer to the Horizon Initiative: Chambers 2025 report that talks about how you need to find out what your members really need to know.

So as you curate content, you are playing the role as the filter.  The arbiter is the role you can dominate because you are the facilitators in your communities.  Remember, your members don't have time to wade through all the information.

You can also interpret the content and deliver it to your members.  Remember, we're in the business of solving problems for our members.

The information you curate should be balanced and varied.  It should not only be coming from you or your chamber but from other folks and chambers from around the country.

5 types of curation:

  • Aggregation - common, not useful, you're just giving them a list, top 10
  • Distillation - context and interpretation of the content (think infographics)
  • Elevation - trend spotting, you need the knowledge to spot the trends and tell the story and bring context to the information.  This topic is important.  Think reports and speeches.
  • Mashup - putting two or more pieces of content together to create something new that could be useful for your members.
  • Chronology - the idea that you create content that has a timeline.  Think the 50 or 100 year anniversary and you create a piece of content around successful programs, maybe based on a decade at a glance.

Three ways you can curate:

  • Algorithmic - Google (this is where gaming SEO comes in to play)
  • Social - Reddit (crowdsourcing - since it's based on voting it too can be gamed)
  • Expert - a person or small group (Master in media is a great source).  Experts can be on your staff, your members, vendors or others in your community.  Don't be afraid to use their expertise.  This responds to the balanced and objective views of content.

Concluding thoughts:

You want to be positioned as the thought leader/expert/deliverer of timely and accurate information.  You need to play the role of filtering through all the stuff that's out there and distill it down to bite size chucks that will help your members succeed in growing their businesses.