How Associations Tell Their Stories



Associations need to tell their members’ story.
I realize that takes additional effort, however, you’ve got to capture that content. When it comes to communication associations focus on their value proposition and on their own success stories though rarely do they tell the success stories of their members. What I’m finding increasingly around membership development is that it’s the stories that members have that are the most important.
There’s a fantastic opportunity in today’s world to tell these stories using any and all digital communication platforms. They’re built for this kind of organic, rough, and authentic type of communication. Which is, by the way, is what you’re going to get from your association members when you ask them to be a part of your association’s story.
As an example, I have a story from a member about how they’ve been affected by a regulatory issue and how an association helped them. I use this example often, because it’s true and it happened, association member prospect had a problem they didn’t even know existed about a regulation in California. They had product that was going to be illegal to sell to consumers in that state. They didn’t know about it until the association made them familiar with it. That was an easy sell once they were aware of it, once they knew the association was monitoring the situation and, in fact, they were negotiating with the regulatory body about some of the provisions in this regulation. That association prospect signed up right away. That’s the kind of information or storytelling that we need.
Further, if you have an educational or training program worth its salt, I know that you have individuals that could tell a story about how it made them a better executive. How they became a better executive made their company better, more profitable, more innovative, more relevant in the industry. That’s the thing that’s missing in the educational storytelling that might be valuable to your industry and, not only your prospective members, but your existing members because they’re the people that buy the training and the educational programming the most.
Finally, I want to talk about business development and storytelling. If we don’t have stories about how your members are working together, or how they’re collaborating on projects, then we’ve got a real problem with our value proposition. I was in a manufacturing association meeting the other day where a member told a story about how they were getting ready to buy a new piece of equipment. They called a competitor, and another manufacturing member, that had the piece of equipment so they could visit and see that piece of equipment in action. That’s only possible in associations. Those are the stories that we must tell because it’s relevant, because it’s real, because it actually happened and the people in the industry are the storytellers themselves. This is essential in this world that we’re in.
Can you imagine those stories being broadcast on Facebook, captured in video on LinkedIn, or a part of your Twitter feed? You want to be an association storyteller? That’s the way to get it done.


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