Everything came down to the 8-second rule. In 8 seconds at 8 feet away can a shopper find what they are looking for in an 8’x8’ array of products? As a marketer of a top consumer brand, my team developed products, packaging, merchandising and placement around the 8-second rule. 8 seconds was the amount of time the average shopper took to scan the shelves and determine which package to select. My product, often a very small box, had to stand out and quickly convey at least one key benefit to moms in just 8 seconds. That’s a tall order isn’t it?
Did you know that the 8-second rule applies to your organization?
You don’t sell consumer goods, like I did, but the 8-second rule still applies to you. Online or offline 8 seconds is the time you have to make that all-important first impression. That’s why getting your association’s brand story right is so critical.
Take a look at your home page, Twitter bio, Google search summary and LinkedIn company page. Can someone read the copy and immediately understand how your association will help them?
Most associations message around three not-so-compelling platforms: we’re the best, the benefits list and the vague phrase.
We Are the Best
Our association has been around since 1943. We are the largest, best, premier, top, leader or only organization in this field. While it is good to know the magnitude of the organization, this confers trust, each prospective member still wants to know how joining will help them either solve their problems or propel them toward their goals.
The Benefits List
We provide education and professional development. We provide resources, data, articles and networking. We run the largest annual conference. Our association focuses on advocacy and standards. Prospective members have a hard time making the leap from the benefit listed to why each benefit matters to them. Better to make the link for them. What problem does each benefit solve?
The Vague Phrase
We promote excellence in our profession. We are the future of our industry. Schools, businesses and other organizations are our members. While these vague phrases don’t scare anyone off they don’t attract anyone either. When members read your copy they are thinking, how can this organization help me – right now?
3 Steps To Improve Your Story
The first step is to clearly understand the key problem that your prospective members have. Next determine solutions for their key problems. These solutions can be offerings that you already have or new products designed to solve their problem. Finally, simply and clearly state how your organization can solve that problem. Create the one sentence version as well as a slightly longer version.
You have 8 seconds to tell your story. Designing those first experiences around the 8-second rule can propel awareness and interest in your association.
Many associations are marketing in a way that doesn’t resonate with members but a very few have figured out how to create marketing that matters. Find out about modern member marketing on http://www.smooththepath.net where Amanda Kaiser also discusses story telling for members, innovation and member insights. Follow her on Twitter at @SmoothThePath.