Learn how to build your association’s brand awareness so your members and potential members will recognize and understand your value proposition.
Your brand is what sets your association apart. Keeping your association’s brand fresh, consistent, and recognizable is an important part of association marketing. And building brand awareness is key to making the most of your association’s brand.
What is brand awareness?
What do we mean by “brand awareness”? Simply put, building brand awareness is about optimizing awareness of your association’s brand with your target audience. Your target audience is likely the industry you serve or represent. They are the people you want to encourage to do things like join your association as members, support your organization as sponsors and event exhibitors, or post their jobs on your online career center.
Strategies to increase brand awareness
Let’s explore some brand building strategies to help you stay on track when it comes to understanding your association’s target audience, setting an association marketing plan, growing brand awareness, and measuring your success.
Understand your members
Have you asked yourself who your members are lately? What are their preferences, interests, and career stages? To build brand awareness, it’s important to understand the demographics of your members and what membership benefits they want.
Surveying members yearly is a great way to get answers to these questions. Having this information will help you understand your members’ needs and formulate a membership marketing plan that encompasses program creation, events, activities, and other member benefits for your association.
The 2022 Association Trends Study by Community Brands offers some great insights to help you better understand members. For example, when asked why they joined their association, members in the study list networking, job opportunities, certifications, and career advancement as top reasons.
Have a well-designed website and logo
Your target audience must be able to understand, navigate, and take action on your association’s website. Otherwise, they might become frustrated and give up trying to find information, join, or register for one of your programs.
Make sure your brand elements – including your association’s logo, design colors, and images – are familiar to your members and to the broader industry you serve. The best way to ensure brand recognition is using your brand elements frequently and consistently at events, and on marketing materials, publications, websites, social media, email messages, and other communications. To keep things consistent, your organization should have branding guidelines that reinforce key brand elements, such as the correct logo colors, fonts, sizing and how the logo can be utilized for partners and organizations.
Make a plan
It can’t be overstated how important a marketing plan is for every association. Whether your organization is small or large – a marketing plan is essential. It can help to define your organization’s goals and align marketing activities with objectives to help you reach those goals. Your marketing plan should be completed at the start of every year and should be reviewed and updated quarterly.
- Keep your marketing plan simple and easy to read.
- Organize your annual marketing plan in four quarters and focus on one quarter at a time when creating it.
- Make a list of the goals your organization wants to achieve for the year, and then allocate the plan throughout each quarter to achieve clear objectives that help you reach those goals.
- Leave an open section in the marketing plan so that you can document what you achieved for each goal and what steps still need to be completed.
- Set a calendar reminder for each quarter to review and update your marketing plan.
Put the plan into action
Now that you understand the goals and objectives of your marketing plan, it’s time to put the plan into action. Think about how your brand and messaging will reach your current and potential members. For example, consider your association’s career center.
The 2022 Association Trends study shows that career resources are a big draw for members. Including your association’s branding on your career center, marketing the career-building opportunities on it, and helping your members see the resources available to them can help attract new members and job seekers to your association.
One effective approach is story telling. Telling a story to your members is a great way to help market your membership benefits and build brand recognition. Member testimonials are great story telling tools. You can have members share videos about how the association has supported their career journeys. Another idea: find a member that has recently excelled in their career by using resources found through your association’s career center. Your annual conference and online community are great ways to connect with members to gather these types of stories and testimonials.