In a world full of associations, standing out from the crowd is a must. In some cases, there are dozens of associations within a single industry that are all vying for the attention of potential members, making it even more important to separate your organization from the pack. So what can you do? Read below to find out what authenticity means and how your association can harness the power that it provides.
What is Authenticity?
Let’s face it, most associations tend to all sound the same. They communicate very similarly compared to each other. Especially within the same industry, many associations provide similar services and benefits to their members, and in the end, each association’s message simply becomes one more voice in the crowd appealing to the same group of people.
Authenticity is what allows that voice to stand out. It doesn’t happen overnight, and not everyone fully grasps its importance, but those who understand the power of authentic communication are the ones who break through the noise and find success. Authenticity means finding your voice as an organization and using that voice to communicate uniquely to the audience you want to reach. It means communicating genuinely in a world that is growing more automated. Once your audience realizes there is something different about your message – something real – they will tune in to what you have to say.
How Can You Harness Authenticity?
There are several things you can do to be more authentic in your communications. Follow some of the strategies below to get started:
- Storytelling: More than anything, it is important to recognize that storytelling holds the key to authenticity. What is the one thing about your organization that is guaranteed to stand out from others? Its story. Tell the story of your association, of your members, and your mission. Appeal to the passions of your audience by showing them what your organization truly is, and highlight the stories, perspectives and qualities that make you different from the rest.
- Involve your members: Nobody knows what prospective members need more than your current membership list. Knowing this, reach out to those members and get them involved in the communications process. They are the ones who will have unique perspectives to share, so let them tell your association’s story from their point of view. Consider creating a form for them to share their stories and tell you about themselves, or maybe even let them write some blog posts for your association’s website or newsletter. The opportunities are endless.
- Consistency: Make sure that your messaging is consistent. Update your organization’s brand guidelines to ensure accuracy and consistency across all platforms. This will help you establish who you are internally and in turn allow your audiences to recognize and understand your association more clearly. The more consistent you are, the more authentic you will become and the more you will stand out to the world around you.
- Honesty and Transparency: Within your association, make sure that you are straightforward and truthful with your members. Answer their questions, respond to their needs, and keep them updated on the ongoings of your organization. With so many things now becoming automatic and digitized, the personal touch and quick response of association staff can go a long way in communicating genuinely and authentically.
What does authenticity mean to your organization and what steps will you take to get there? Maybe it is one of the four ways mentioned above or maybe those sparked another idea for you. Which ever way you choose to get there isn’t important. The important part is that you become aware of authenticity as a goal and intentionally strive to work towards it.