Like any for-profit business, an association’s brand is its most valuable asset. The brand is the glue that holds things together and moves the association toward the fulfillment of its mission and vision. Yet association branding and marketing involve a unique set of needs, including:
- Motivating board members, volunteers and association staff
- Providing association members with an assurance of quality and value
- Guiding the development of new programs, services and experiences
- Attracting and recruiting new members and prospects
- Encouraging ongoing support and sponsorship
An Important Question
A common trap is to attribute high rates of retention to having a strong brand or a solid marketing message. However, high retention rates are sometimes the result of inertia. Or, association members may simply face a lack of alternatives. The question that association leaders should be asking is, “How much more can we achieve with a strong brand and targeted messaging?”
Our Approach to Association Branding
Working with associations across a variety of industries, we spend considerable time gathering input from members, prospective members, executives, sponsors, staff and volunteers to gain perspective on the association’s past and to understand its vision for the future. Our ability to listen carefully and converse comfortably with a diverse set of stakeholders is just one of the reasons that clients hire us. Some of the associations and groups that we have worked with include:
- Association of Catering and Event Professionals
- Association of Progressive Rental Organizations
- Gonzaga University Alumni Association
- Oregon Fuels Association
- Oregon Veterinary Medical Association
- Oregon Society of Association Management
- Portland State University Alumni Association
- Washington Oil Marketers Association
- Washington Society of Association Executives
- Western United States Agricultural Association
Highlights from our work with associations in diverse industries include:
- Providing an industry association in two Western states with ongoing brand and marketing services, including: media outreach and planning; member communications; public education; online content development and content management; and website optimization.
- Surveying several hundred members of a multi-state trade association and using their input to rebrand and reposition one of the association’s key programs to better reflect the values, beliefs and needs of its members. Our recommendations were subsequently adopted by related associations operating in different geographic regions of the United States.
- Helping a professional association identify, collect and leverage members’ stories in written format and in the form of videos and pictures. (Member stories are an essential part of association messaging, helping build relationships and keeping marketing communications ‘real,’ i.e., free of marketing speak and industry jargon.)
To learn more about our association branding services, please contact us.
We engaged The Galvanizing Group’s services to work with our association’s charitable foundation on reworking the foundation’s brand and developing a new brand message. Ellen Galvin was extremely professional and easy to work with. She walked us through each step of the process to help us clarify and distill our key messages and foundation goals from many divergent ones, ultimately creating a brand document that we are using as our roadmap going forward. Ellen’s knowledge, experience and passion for her work made what can be a challenging process for an organization a much more pleasant and gratifying experience for us.
Our organization has improved leaps and bounds with the help of The Galvanizing Group. From a strategic name change of our two largest programs to a customized Internal Brand Strategy, we are finally in a place to where our staff has the confidence to cut past the internal ‘marketing speak’ when speaking with our stakeholders. Our organization (Board of Directors and staff) can now effectively convey our complex program in a way that is simple, effective and consistent.