Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Storytelling a great way to get Association message out

A few weeks ago, USA Today’s Michael Wolff wrote a compelling column about NYC mayor Bill de Blasio’s use of a video to “control the narrative” regarding his daughter’s drug problems.

The column offers some really good tips for associations and association story telling to communicate with members and/or the public.

Key points:

1) Control the narrative
  • “Among the most prevalent and up-to-date phrases in business, politics and savvy American life is ‘controlling the narrative.’ That is, telling it your way, before someone else gets to tell it — and possibly tell it better — their way.”
  • Whether your association is dealing with external or internal audiences, your communications strategies and messages should be designed to “control the narrative.”
2) Story telling
  • “Storytelling is now the highest form of commerce. Where before, wide video access had many barriers and middlemen, now, it has none. Everyone can speak directly to everyone else. This process, occurring at the intersection of technology, pop culture and millennial behavior, is ever more complicated and fast-changing, and consumes more and more time and resources, involving a wide-ranging search for talent. It's a new business without a precise name yet.”
  • Interviews with members and/or volunteers and/or staff that let them share their stories offers a great way to personalize core association messages. And, such personal stories make your association feel more personable and real.
3) Be first to tell your story
  • Some call this “getting ahead of the story.” When you release the story first, you set the stage for how it is told and the central themes. If you wait, you must react to what others have said. That is much tougher. (Just ask UPS which got hammered over the Christmas holidays. See 7 Things Brown Can Show Your Association.) 
Many associations offer magazines and newsletters. They are great places to share stories. Other tools associations can use for storytelling and controlling the narrative include:
  • videos
  • blogs
  • website and social media posts
Are you crafting compelling stories to control the narrative about your association?

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