Association Marketing Strategy

Your Association Brand: Is it Credible?

While walking into the American Heart Association, you cannot help fixating your eyes upon the massive heart logo that embodies the AHA’s existence. The AHA’s brand conveys a feeling of strength, health, and expertise.

Similarly, the United Way logo consists of one cupped hand holding a human, demonstrating their affinity for showing mankind generosity during times of need.

These two examples of well-established association make a strong connection between their logo and their brand. Due to their long history of providing valuable services, the brand (and their logo) convey a sense of confidence and credibility.

Building credibility certainly takes time, and it is achievable only when an association chooses to set themselves apart through their brand, which includes the services offered, communications, community/industry involvement, website, content, logo presentation, and engagement throughout the membership process.  Below are three ways you can create a stronger brand credibility in your association.

Website Presence

Consider your website an actual building, with murals, logos, literature and friendly support staff waiting to assist member needs. The look of your website needs to reflect the brand and your content must be up-to-date, valuable, and tailored to your audience. An active calendar of events, ability to join online, news articles, and industry-related news will all help establish your association as being credible in your industry.

Additionally, with the increase in mobile device usage, it's essential for your website to be mobile-friendly. In fact, many project mobile device usage to be greater than desktop usage by 2014. At WebLink, we build all of our clients’ website using responsive website design, to allow for an optimum viewing experience across desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets without the extra expense and hassle of a separate mobile website. Being on the forefront of technology and making your information easy to access is important to the credibility of your association brand.

You’re Able to Show ROI

Helping your members get the most out of their membership and being able to demonstrate that value is key. And while your association likely delivers value in many different ways to your members, most don’t understand the true value you provide. You may still have members who join your organization just because they think they should. But as people are busier and budgets continue to be stretched, you’ll be forced to show ROI. But don’t worry - your brand will be better for it!

One way I’ve seen associations demonstrate ROI is through an online referral report that generates the number of impressions and click-throughs your website has produced for each member. Many WebLink clients actually find that this report alone can justify their members' renewal each year. Whether your organization’s membership benefits include business referrals, ongoing education, discounts, networking opportunities, legislative activities and more. be sure your brand communicates and quantifies these benefits.  

Authoritative Content

Do you ever read an article and wonder what exactly makes that writer an authority in their field; in other words, why you should listen to the advice being given? To start, it’s important to distinguish the difference between an expert and an authority. Experts have a lot of knowledge on a subject but people may not care. An authority is an expert who has an audience that listens, and trusts the advice given.

There's no magic formula to becoming an authority, but you can start by consistently providing great content. To be credible, your organization must be leading your industry with powerful and through-provoking content. And when writing, consider the benefit to members and benefit to your industry/community. If your audience sees value, you'll start to gain the authority you're looking to achieve.

How do you measure if you’ve succeeded? Other associations, businesses, and members should look to you for advice and actively engage with your content. Check out Curt Moss's blog on How to Start Content Marketing for Your Association or Chamber for more great content ideas.

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