|Brian Elder and his Parmesan Bread Bites|
- Brian Edler, the store owner, tinkers with recipes for his Dominoes stores.
- He created a new product now called Parmesan Bread Bites.
- He cooked up his bites for Dominoes execs in the Dominoes kitchens in Ann Arbor (MI).
- They loved it! And, put it on the menu nationwide.
- Then, they produced a “rollout” TV commercial featuring Brian and scenes around Findlay.
Remember, we all (association management professionals, volunteer leaders, board members, committee members) suffer from the “curse of knowledge.” We’re so engaged in the organization that we’ve forgotten what it is like to be a “typical member or prospect” who is not connected to the day-to-day workings of the association.
And, don’t forget to include non-member prospects. After all, they know even less about your organization but may, in fact, be the best ones to help.
How might associations use the Dominoes example?
- selecting topics/speakers for your conference, meetings, webinars
- asking for questions that your blog might answer
- suggesting new benefits for members (the Associated General Contractors now offer members a discounted fuel option ... the idea surfaced at one of its chapters.)
Catherine Gahres, MBA, Mgr, Communications & Govt Relations, Association for Healthcare Philanthropy shared how AHP is engaging members who are active on social media platforms:
- We have used quotes posted on our social media sites as testimonials in later publications. And on several occasions we have shared a discussion from our association LinkedIn group (which is open to members and non-members), in our members-only e-newsletter as a "Heard on the Net" piece.
- As a best practice, we do reach out and ask permission to use the individuals' comments and names. Aside from possible privacy/legal issues, we think it just makes good sense from a member relations standpoint to ask first -- we've had one individual decline and they were glad we asked.
- Those calls often turn into great conversations that net even better information/quotes. And for non-members, the call gives you an opportunity to reach out to a potential member or supporter!
- Several years back, the National Christmas Tree Association held an annual contest on the best use of its consumer marketing materials ... the contest encouraged those in the industry to take the core materials and tweak them so they worked for their small businesses.
- I say “non-binding” because it should be clear that the association has the right to accept, modify or reject the ideas that are surfaced.