As a member-based organization committed to growing your association, your success hinges on a stand-out brand, backed by the ability to deliver on your brand promise. But what are the best strategies to become known as the go-to source for current members and grow your base?
It’s not enough to simply tell people about your association and what you stand for. You must set your brand apart from a dizzying array of choices by delivering exceptional value, consistently.
Put three building blocks in place now to raise your association brand to a more prominent position in your customer’s world—think A, B, C:
- Show up authentically as the authority, providing content perceived as useful and valuable
- Maintain a bold presence in the right mix of marketing channels
- Have a clear message that rolls out the red carpet and leads prospects along a clear path
Let’s take a closer look at these foundational pieces for a winning association brand positioning strategy.
1. Be the Authority, Authentically.
To position your association as the go-to source and be seen as a thought leader, first master the know-like-trust factor. In business, as in life, trust must be earned, and the number one way to build trust is to lead with compelling content that connects with customers. Everything you say and do informs your brand, and positioning your association as the authority is the best way to amplify trust.
Start with service. How can you show up to serve—even before someone is a member? How do you surprise and delight new and longtime members? What sets you apart? What is the difference you deliver?
Building brand authority through authentic service
As you add nuance and definition to your unique contribution to members, it’s best to focus on high-value content tied to a clear benefit. Aim for the perfect blend of conversational and authoritative content. Share the knowledge your association has gleaned with the voice of authority. Consider:
- What’s the thing you know inside and out about the challenges members face?
- How can you help prospective and current association members avoid pitfalls and find more success?
- How can you earn member loyalty by providing something unexpected?
Prospects have a sixth sense when your latest post or email is intended only to build your list and secure their enrollment. To build brand equity lead with authenticity.
2. Bold Presence Across Multiple Platforms.
You know you need to show up authentically, but where should you start? Showing up where your members are can drive engagement, but an ever-multiplying array of communication channels may splinter your efforts. With a goal of member retention and increased engagement, it’s usually best to focus on one or two channels first.
The best places for your association to be visible
Social wins the day when it comes to lead generation and shareable content. From YouTube to LinkedIn, Facebook lives to Instagram reels, social media provides a responsive platform that allows you to extend your reach and respond to in-the-moment requests. Instant metrics in the form of likes and engagement are indicators of what content prospects most appreciate.
Consistent brand messaging across channels facilitates stronger customer relationships. Think of your blog and email newsletter as cornerstone content that supports your social strategy and other forms of outreach.
Choose your channels wisely, then establish a consistent presence. Listen and learn in addition to what you share authoritatively and authentically. Consider engaging videos that highlight an industry trend or resources that elevate your positioning as leading the field while also attracting member prospects.
3. Connect Prospects to a Clear Path.
Shaping a standout brand that’s memorable and engaging is about more than what tool you use or what offer you extend. Ultimately, it’s your message that matters. We’re not talking about enticing taglines or SEO keywords. Those are important, but the critical core is the clarity and conviction of your brand message.
Are you being clear in your communication?
When you craft an e-mail or post on social media, choose a single focus. What is the one action or specific step you want your audience to take now? Why does that matter to them?
Does your message highlight a clear path for members?
With a clarion call to action and engagement in place, consider the broader path. How exactly will you help prospects? Do they know what they need to do that will move them toward where they want to be? Do they understand how your association is uniquely positioned to help them?
The more you clarify the steps that move members forward, the more valuable your association becomes. This is how you will rise to the top in a sea of competing options and choices.