Building Your Association’s Brand (On A Budget)

Growing your association’s brand or developing one from scratch is a multifaceted process that can quickly become expensive. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a list of tips to better your brand at little to no cost to your organization.


Define Your Personas
It’s important to know who your audience is first before you try to reach them. Who is your target audience? What are their demographics? What are their interests? Determining who your audience is and what their needs are is essential to developing or fine-tuning your association’s image. Your brand should be centered on what your audience wants and include goals and tactics that will deliver that to them.

Create Your Identity
Before you can tell your audience who you are and what your association offers, you need to have a clear understanding of what that is. Talk to your staff, board members and even your volunteers to gain a better understanding of what you do best and who you serve. Even if you’ve already developed a brand, it doesn’t hurt to revisit and refresh the who, what and why.

Design Your Image
Your association’s logo and graphics are crucial components to establishing your brand and presenting it to those who matter most. Graphic design services can be pricey if you don’t have a graphic designer on staff. Luckily, there are low-cost options that are great for associations. LogoTournament is an affordable resource that allows you to set your budget then receive designs and ideas from graphic designers all over the world. You can give feedback along the way and choose the logo you like best. Elance and other similar freelance websites can also match you up with the best graphic designer for your project. Your logo matters as it brings your brand to life and is one of the first things your potential clients will see.

Utilize Social Media
Now that you know who you are and who you serve, you can move on to the tactics that will help expand your brand. Social media is a great tool to create brand awareness and reach your target audience. Share industry news, photos from your association’s events and anything else your audience might find interesting and relevant. Having trouble reaching your audience on social media? You may want to consider implementing paid social media ads. This is a low-cost way to generate leads and put your association in front of potential customers.

Start a Blog
Blogging is another inexpensive way to increase brand awareness. There are a number of free hosting sites, like WordPress and Wix, that offer templates, plugins and support to help make blogging simple and affordable. Create content relevant to your audience and the association industry to raise awareness to your organization and the services you offer. Blogging is a great way to become a thought leader in the industry, develop a strong SEO and drive potential members directly to you.


While this list is not exhaustive, these tips should get you started in the right direction towards broadening your brand. Start with determining who your audience is and why you exist, then create goals and strategies that help present and explain that to your key constituents. By employing some of these free and affordable resources, you can easily expand your brand and your business.