Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Introducing STIAL: an example of association rebranding

Guest Post by Jim Schnurbusch, Chief Storyteller, OrgStory [Please see footnote] 
“It was a cold, snowy Wednesday morning in January. The group of 16 had gathered around the table to put the past behind them…” 

Sounds like the beginning of a novel – a story about change, a story about letting go of the past and looking forward to the future. Well, it is. But it’s not a story to be read, it’s a story to be lived. Effective today, 12.12.12, members of the St. Louis Society of Association Executives (SLSAE) celebrated with style and welcomed a more relevant and meaningful membership into the St. Louis Institute for Association Leadership (STIAL).

Why the change, you may ask. The board of SLSAE was aware of the changing dynamics of membership and the changing and emerging needs of a resource that helps association leaders navigate through their various roles at their organizations. To best understand the needs of association leaders, an intensive study was conducted that looked at SLSAE peer organizations from around the country; and, included in-depth one-on-one interviews, online surveys and facilitated group sessions with members, non-members and former members. What was learned helped shape the direction for STIAL – not just the name, but its strategic path forward.

Here are some of the highlights:
  • A new vision for the organization was agreed upon: Stronger associations through stronger association leadership. 
  • The organization’s mission was updated to reflect the needs of today’s association leader: STIAL connects association leadership through ideas, collaboration and education that makes them, and their associations, stronger. 
  • STIAL’s communications must meet the ever-growing need for timely and relevant information. Core messages were adapted to create a “unified voice” for every communication element, including a content-filled, robust and new STIAL website
  • STIAL meeting formats, times for meetings – and of course, programming, were analyzed and are in the process of being reflective of what the study heard members wanted in order to complement their professional roles and the success of the associations they represent. 
  • The value of membership has been researched and new benefits to members created to make STIAL a resource to membership and the reason to Make Their Association Stronger. And, STIAL has a renewed focus on driving new association leaders to the organization as well as young association professionals through strategic marketing and recruitment efforts. 
  • The important role of business partners in the organization has been assessed leading the way to greater opportunities for business partners and prospects of all types to benefit from an association with STIAL. 
The new STIAL is the result of many members’ efforts – those that shared their stories about their membership, needs and wants during the research phase, to those that helped understand those needs and wants and transformed them into actionable strategies that will benefit the organization in the years to come. 

So now, it’s time to write the chapters that will form the new story about STIAL. Where STIAL goes from here depends on the input and feedback of association professionals living and working in the greater St. Louis region.

Celebrate today with STIAL – and Make Your Association Stronger!

The SLSAE to STIAL process started before the cold, snowy Wednesday. At the first meeting of a new SLSAE “Engagement Committee,” a young professional on the Committee was asked why she was not a member of the St. Louis Society of Association Executives. Her response surprisedus. She answered: “Since I’m not an association executive, I didn’t think I was eligible for membership.”

That response led SLSAE leaders to probe a bigger question of who are we and do we have the correct organizational name? After six or eight months of discussion, the SLSAE board contracted with Jim Schnubusch and OrgStory to help us determine the answer.

STIAL officially launches Wednesday, December 12, 2012. You can still Celebrate with STIAL. 

Here is a link that you to register:

Here are 5 Reasons to Celebrate with STIAL on December 12th 
1. Experience a distinctive food event featuring multiple foods & desserts 
2. Help the Circle of Concern’s drive to provide food for the needy 
3. Check a neat location for a future association event 
4. Get a FREE distinctive Celebrate with STIAL coffee/tea mug 
5. Celebrate the holidays and the launch of STIAL

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