Engagement matters for everyone. That’s what I learned last month at the 2017 Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference (HITMC) in Las Vegas. I had the distinct privilege of serving on a panel that focused on “How to Create Synergistic Relationships with Associations.” While my session was a lot of fun and truly enlightening, I was more intrigued by Gary Rhoads (learn more about Professor Rhoads here: http://bit.ly/2q8fEPy) and his presentation on “Creating Customer and Employee Engagement.” We all know that higher levels of customer and employee engagement lead to more positive business outcomes and higher shareholder wealth. With Professor Rhoads, we focused more on the fact that few companies know how to create engagement. So, how does that translate to your business for Associations? Simple.
Let Members Be The Face of Your Association
Conceptually, most Association leaders think it’s easy. They claim to understand that their members are experts in the field, but when you start to surf through their content or attend an event, most of the people leading the conversation come from outside the membership. While that’s helpful at times, it should not be the only resource. Through your Association, help elevate your members to be those topic-based thought leaders. Think about it like this:
Brand Champions Outside The Executive Suite
An Association with strong Brand Champions outside of the Executive Team and Board are positioned better for long-term success because members are more likely to forgive bumps in the road when they have deep emotional connections and loyalties to a brand (organization). Positive Brand Champions helps an Association navigate through macro-environmental challenges far more easily than those Association who either have little or negative brand equity or those who rely too heavily on leaders to be the face of the organization. Is it important for the Board and Executive Team to be the face of the Association? Yes. But should they be the ONLY face? No.
Developing Inspired Brand Champions
An important step in identifying your potential Brand Champions is understanding where passionate performers come from. Consider for a moment:
5 Stages of Build A Brand Champion
Building a Brand Champion for your Association is a marathon, not a sprint. Its takes time to cultivate the right relationships and form a lasting bond with these members so that they can help spread the work and word of your Association to other members, current and potential. Building a Brand Champion leads to brand loyalty, and with brand loyalty comes increased market share. There are 5 stages of brand experience that lead to positive brand loyalty and building the right Champions:
The Work Isn’t Done After Brand Loyalty Is Built
Once members reach the Brand Loyalty stage, your work isn’t done. The challenge is not only building brand equity to reach widespread loyalty, but also to sustain that loyalty and positive brand equity for years to come. Those renewed memberships are critical to your Association sustaining members and conquering the market. For more ideas on how to build Brand Champions, check out of our next blog on Brand Champions In A Virtual Environment.