Membership Pro Tip: Good Branding Means Better Engagement
What you provide members isn’t always tangible. Sometimes it’s about a sense of belonging that makes a member feel special, which benefits them personally, professionally, and more. Achieving that starts with a solid brand.
Promoting products and services to members makes sense, but there is something more compelling. Members want a deep connection with their association and to feel positive about themselves because they are a member. “Having a strong brand allows an association to attract members, regardless of the specifics of the programs and services it offers,” said Jennie Winton, founding partner of Mission Minded.
A member’s positive affinity with an association could make them feel more confident, connected, or that they are growing professionally. That means associations need to do the research to find out what members want that will make them feel good about themselves.
How Does It Work?
Building the right brand strategy starts with analyzing your current brand to identify your audiences. “You want to understand who the best target audiences are for your organization,” Winton said. Also, look at the competition to find out who else is trying to attract the same people you are and what else competes for their time and attention.
In addition, consider what makes your organization different from the competition. What do you offer that members can’t get anywhere else? And that doesn’t mean offering three conferences instead of the competition’s one.
Then, distill the difference down to its purest essence to reach your brand positioning, Winton said.
Why Is It Effective?
“It’s a crowded, noisy world out there, and when members have any reason to think about not renewing, if your brand isn’t strong, powerful, and clear and making them feel great about themselves, they’re not going to be engaged members,” Winton said. “Having a strong brand is linked to deeper member engagement and continuous, loyal renewal,” she said.
What’s the Benefit?
If you have a strong brand, it makes it easier for members to commit and engage with all you have to offer. A strong brand is an invitation for people to say yes, which increases retention. “The more people feel belonging, the more loyal they will be to you,” Winton said.
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