Whether you are recruiting new members, seeking sponsorship or selling exhibit space at an event, the value of your brand has a huge impact on how people perceive your efforts and respond to your “ask”.
Your brand is not just a logo – it is what people think of you – your reputation. A lot of organizations engage in revenue-building activities without giving a second thought to what kind of organization their prospects are buying into. If I am going to consider joining your association, investing in exhibit space, sponsoring an event or even donating for an activity, I want to know that I’m associating myself with an organization that is viewed as relevant (and valuable) to my customers or colleagues.
Equally important to your brand is your value proposition. It is the unique value that you deliver to the marketplace. It’s what separates your organization from all the others.
When your brand and value proposition are aligned, everyone clearly understands what you stand for and what you can do to help the individual or organization that wants to join, exhibit, sponsor, donate, etc. For example, if your organization is the only one that represents the real estate sector in Canada, then I may join because it is the most efficient way to connect with other professionals in my sector. Or I might sponsor a national conference because it is an efficient way to reach real estate professionals in Canada.
In order to get a good start on assessing your brand and what you need to do in order to build it, start with these key questions. Be honest in your self-analysis!
- What does our core audience (members, exhibitors, sponsors, donors, stakeholders) think of us?
- If we don’t like what they think of us, what do we want our brand (reputation) to look like?
- What do we need to do to either reinforce our existing brand or reposition our brand and earn the trust of our core audience because they feel we are living up to our “promise”?
For example, if you say to your association membership that you are the industry thought leaders on innovation, what are you doing to demonstrate this leadership position on a daily basis? Are you featured in the news regularly as the expert on the issue? Do you hold events that bring together industry stakeholders? Do you issue white papers on trends in innovation? The bottom line, is what are you doing every day to reinforce your reputation and value to the market?
It’s easy to see how a solid brand and value proposition leads to good things for other facets of the operation – more people will want to join you, more will invest in sponsorship or donate and more will want to be part of your next event. So, when thinking about branding for dollars, focus on building your brand and value proposition and the rest will fall into place.