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ASSOCIATION

MSAE.ORG | ISSUE #2 | 2019

®

A TALE OF TWO ASSOCIATIONS

REBRANDING THE MERGED MRA AND CHECK-IN MICHIGAN TOOK STRATEGY, SECRECY

MICHIGAN SOCIETY OF ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVES

MSAE 1350 Haslett Road East Lansing, MI 48823


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TABLEOFCONTENTS

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MSAE STAFF Denise McGinn, CAE Kelly Turner, CAE Chairman President/CEO President Denise E. Amburgey Association Guidance Cynthia H. Maher, CAE Chairman-Elect Executive Director Michigan Plumbing & Mechanical Contractors Association

Chief Financial Officer of MSAE & General Manager of MSAE Service Corporation Maryanne F. Greketis, CMP CTA Career Enrichment Manager Kelly Chase, CMP

Lorraine Goodrich Member Service Coordinator Treasurer CFO Taylor Benavente Automotive Industry Action Group Association Industry Advocate Jared Burkhart, CAE Secretary Executive Director Michigan Chapter – American Academy of Pediatrics

Ryan Handy, CMP Association Community Manager Tricia Marshall Virtual Program Coordinator

Barry Cargill, CAE Past-Chairman ASSOCIATION IMPACT® Executive Director Michigan HomeCare & Kelly Mazurkiewicz Hospice Association Editor Bonnifer Ballard, CAE M3 Group Executive Director Graphic Design American Water Works AssociationBRD Printing Michigan Section Steve Carey, CAE Executive Director National Truck Equipment Association

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MSC BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Treasurer

Michael Moss, CAE Executive Director President Michigan Chapter American Academy of Society for College & University Planning Pediatrics

David Moulton Secretary Member Services Manager SME

Andi Osters Angela Madden Assistant Director Executive Director Michigan High School Athletic Michigan Association of Ambulance Services Association Kimberly R Pontius, CAE Executive Vice President Traverse Area Association of REALTORS® Jack Schripsema, CTA President & CEO Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau Richard P. Seely, CAE Account Executive /Medicare Advisor Member Insurance Solutions, Michigan Dental Association Ara Topouzian President/CEO Troy Chamber of Commerce

© MSAE 2019

Rebranding the merged MRA and Check-In Michigan took strategy, secrecy

P R E S I D E N T ' S M E S S AG E

Printing

Scott T. Ellis Mike Wenkel, CAE Executive Director Chairman Michigan Licensed Beverage Association Executive Director Carey Goryl, MSW, CAE Michigan Potato Industry Commission Executive Director Jared Burkhart, CAE Association of Staff Physician Recruiters

Donna Oser, CAE Director of Leadership Development and Executive Search Services Michigan Association of School Boards

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A TALE OF TWO ASSOCIATIONS

THE EVOLUTION AND DEVOLUTION OF COMMUNICATION

P E R S O N A L AWA R E N E S S 6

HOW TO USE TECHNOLOGY TO STRENGTHEN RELATIONSHIPS

A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE 10

THE POWER OF DESIGN THINKING FOR TECHNOLOGY PROJECTS

I N D U S T R Y U N D E R STA N D I N G 16

PERSONALIZE YOUR RENEWAL CAMPAIGNS

Association IMPACT® is published bimonthly by the Michigan Society of Association Executives, 1350 Haslett Road, East Lansing, MI 48823, (517) 332-6723. Subscribers should direct all inquiries, address changes, and subscription orders to that address. Articles written by outside authors do not necessarily reflect the view or position of the Michigan Society of Association Executives (MSAE). MSAE’s position on key issues will be clearly stated. Manuscripts are accepted at the approval of MSAE, which reserves the right to reject or edit. Appearance in Association IMPACT® does not constitute endorsement of the advertiser, its products or services, nor does Association IMPACT® make any claims or guarantees as to the accuracy or validity of the advertiser’s offer and reserves the right to reject any advertising deemed unsuitable. Advertising rates available at www.msae.org.


N T ’ SPMREESSSIAG D EEN T ’ S M E S S AG E

W B G

Kelly Turner, CAE

#LO

Kellyis Turner, CAE urner@msae.org) the president and CEO (turner@msae.org) the president and CEO of MSAE. President’s Message is aisregular of MSAE. President’ s Message is a regular feature in Association IMPACT magazine. feature Association IMPACT magazine. This is Kelly’s secondinPresident’s Message Kellyleading encourages since she began MSAE inmembers October. to share their experiences and for strengthening Kelly encourages members to ideas share their organization by contacting her or other experiencestheand ideas for strengthening staffbymembers Keep your eyes he organization contactingdirectly. her or other on MSAE’ weekly staff members directly.s Keep yournewsletter, eyes on update, for currentnewsletter, news andUpdate, industry MSAE’s weekly for happenings current news and industry happenings.

Growing, Nurturing Relationships Associations can find success through strong bonds with and among members

R

The Evolution and Devolution of Communication

elationships. We all have them. We all problems start. Like most living things, in need them in some form or another, relationships, stagnation leads to decline. especially in the association industry. Relationships that don’t evolve often end. is worth a thousand he ability to communicate well is quickly information. If a picture Often, too little time is consciously devoted As association professionals, this is a have the perfect becoming one of the most critical skills words, then you better to build, maintain, and nurture our danger zone we need to be aware of and one can possess. I can remember the thrill picture – or emoji – or meme to draw out relationships. Givenand the excitement dynamic changes to call keep relationships freshvisceral for as long of receiving awork phone that intense response you want your technology has caused to social norms, as possible. Each relationship will unique on my parent’s landline phone. I stretched audience to feelbewhen they receive your it is surprising that relationships canbreaking be andmany require nurturing in different and Age ancestors would that cord to the point message. Our Stone maintained over a long period of at to all.get out specific waysofto keep from getting stale.that we have reverted afternoons as time I tried of earshot beitso proud to know The art of conversation, engagement, Relationships don’t have to be something my parents and siblings in an effort to have back to using a form of hieroglyphics and and starting relationships is becoming we struggle a semi-private conversation with friends.with. Approaching pictographseach to communicate. Pictures an endangered skill. Thankfully, the relationship selflessly cantomake relationship help communicate the intent of our association industryThat is inexcitement prime position maintenance less stressful. Viewing was paralleled with the message. However, pictures have overwritten to pursue the art of relationship building. relationships from the purchase of my first cellphone, which the perspective necessity ofof knowing how to spell SEAT TLE SEAT TLE ome to Our Neighborhood. In an environment where a distraction the other person helps to ensure mutual happened to roughly resemble a brick. Next complete words and to demonstrate a exists around every corner, respect, anyour attitude working of caring,knowledge and the of basic grammar. e modern design, lush bedding, was the association Nextel phone that would make tocuisine, Our Neighborhood. pired showers, Welcome free Wi-Fi, fresh professions need to be vigilant in desire to foster a strong partnership. heart jump when it chirped, announcing a aft beverages and livethe entertainment. Enjoy modern design, lush bedding, managing their relationships. that last means call or “alert.” Yes, those were theBuilding good ol’relationships We have come a long way in the area showers, free Wi-Fi, fresh cuisine, reat meetings,spa-inspired too. Whether forming a new relationship fostering gratitude and being patient days, when communication was simple. of communicationwith as a species in some local craft beverages and live entertainment. or rekindling one that has fatigued overto identifyourselves our lifetime of work.in others. One thing Today, we struggle the best in building respects and reverted Indigo We do great meetings, too. se City time, understandingavenue how branding, Each Association issue as in association 2019 is to place messages, pictures, updates Impact is certain, leaders, is the andview Parkway Hotel Indigo technology, communication styles, themed on factors that affect relationships and information. Do we put our newest need to continue to revolutionize how we City, MI 49684 0500 Traverse City biases, and care of oneself changes the our professional and personal lives. announcement on Facebook,inInstagram, communicate to stakeholders both within ons: 877.8.INDIGO (846.3446) 263 W. Grandview Parkway o.com/TraverseCityMI Traverse City, MI 49684 dynamics of our relationship is critical. Join me and the MSAE teamof inour working Twitter, LinkedIn or all of the above, plus and outside organizations.  t: 231.932.0500 @hotelindigo book.com/hotelindigo Reservations: 877.8.INDIGO (846.3446) Human beings have a propensity to strengthen our relationship skills the website and newsletter in hopes of hotelindigo.com/TraverseCityMI to get to a point of feeling comfortable in 2019.  attracting some “likes” and attention? @hotelindigo facebook.com/hotelindigo SAN FR ANCISCO SAN FR ANCISCO in relationships and The thatnext is when the big question is how to post the

ATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME IMPACT 36 > 2019 4 ASSOCIATION ® < VOLUME 36 > 2019

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P E R S O N A L AWA R E N E S S

How to Use Technology to Strengthen Relationships By Jodi Wehling

T

echnology has dramatically changed the way we communicate. We spend less time engaging in face-to-face and even phone conversations and more time communicating electronically. This challenges us to professionally express and accurately perceive emotions in the written form. Absent body language and other nonverbal cues, misunderstandings happen more frequently, and these misunderstandings can lead to mistrust. Technology in all its forms has left America suffering from “infobesity.” Most of us wouldn’t even attempt to read one of the longest books ever written, “War and Peace,” which clocks in at 460,000 words. But, given the estimate that we each consume on average 100,000 words and 34 gigabytes of information per day, breezing through it in a week should be no problem (“How Much Information?” 2009 Report of American Consumers, University of California, San Diego). These statistics make it clear that when sending a message to a colleague, we must first pull their attention away from competing information. Simultaneous to the rise of technology, we increasingly rely on other people inside and outside our organizations to get work done. Productivity with others requires positive relationships, and the foundation of a positive relationship is trust. These three factors – communication technology, information overload and increased collaboration – create an environment in which we benefit from becoming curious about how to use technology to build and maintain trust.

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PERSONALAWARENESS

How to Build Trust Trust in an organization is built through consistent interactions wherein a person’s behavior makes the other person feel safe. According to “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey, there are specific character-based and competence-based behaviors that build trust. Four of these behaviors can be applied to the use of communication technology: ++ ++ ++ ++

Talk straight: Communicate clearly so you cannot be misunderstood. Demonstrate respect: Show regard for the feelings, wishes, rights or traditions of others. Clarify expectations: Articulate shared objectives and create agreement in advance. Keep commitments: Do what you say you will do.

Let’s look at how to integrate these concepts into our communication when using technology.

Which Communication Mode is Best? Even though sending an email may seem more efficient, email begets more email. By sending an email, you guarantee that you’ll get one back, even if you don’t necessarily need a response. And if you cc’d a slew of people, many of them may chime in as well. You’ll also be more apt to be misunderstood and to misunderstand the return message than if you talk to the person. No one method for business communication is best. Strive to take advantage of efficient new tools while not using technology for technology’s sake to the detriment of your relationships. Avoid a “one-method-fits-all” approach by

starting a habit of spending two minutes before each interaction going through this quick checklist of things to consider when you’re determining what method of communication to use. Where applicable, items falling into one of the above trust-building behaviors are identified. This draws a connection between our communication decisions and our relationship-building efforts. ++ What is the other person’s preferred mode of communication? Communicate in a mode customized for the person, not your preference. Demonstrate respect, clarify expectations ++ Will this exchange need to be referred to later by me or the receiver of the information? Certain modes of communication such as texting and video chatting are not as easy to retrieve as email. Demonstrate respect

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P E R S O N A L AWA R E N E S S

++ Are strong emotions possible – either mine or the receivers? If there is potential for strong emotions, talk in person – or if that’s not possible, via video call. Demonstrate respect ++ Is the issue complex or does it require discussion? In-person, a phone call or video call are all wellsuited for back-and-forth dialogue, questions and relaying complicated information. Talk straight ++ Do I need a fast response or could I wait 24 hours on this? People receive dozens of emails a day, so they are not a good method for urgent communication. Text, call or go to their office if you have an urgent need. Demonstrate respect ++ Have we tried communicating on this topic and we’re not progressing? If an email or text thread has gone back and forth multiple times, the tool may be wrong for the topic. Talk straight ++ Would I be comfortable if this were made public? Written correspondence is out of your hands and could be inappropriately or inadvertently shared by the receiver. Demonstrate respect ++ Do I need to double up? Sometimes a verbal discussion is best, but you also need a record of what was said. A combination of verbal communication followed by a written summary might be the perfect combination. Talk straight

Improve Your Skills Although the above exercise will help you diversify your communication portfolio, email is a primary mode of business communication and it’s not going away anytime soon. Poor email skills will not only annoy people but can destroy relationships. By now, most of us know the basics, such as don’t use all caps, write in complete sentences, etc. But for emails to support you in building relationships, you need to craft your messages. The suggestions below aren’t a complete guide to email writing, but provide you

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items that’ll give the most relationshipbuilding impact. As with the above list, the pertinent trust-building behavior is noted. ++ Respond within 24 hours. By having an email account in the working world, you’ve signed an unwritten contract that you’ll respond promptly to emails. If you have a different standard response time, communicate that. Clarify expectations, keep commitments ++ Reduce unnecessary email for other people. Two quick fixes: a) only use “reply to all” for true group conversations, and b) use “cc” to communicate that the person is being brought into the loop but action isn’t required. Demonstrate respect ++ Write a clear subject line. A trustbuilding email states the specific topic of the email, if a response is needed and by when. Clarify expectations ++ Keep it concise. Make your email short, to the point, and easy to read with headings and bullet points of action items or questions. Talk straight ++ Match the receiver’s communication style. Don’t send a bullet-style person a five-paragraph email. The converse is true; if your colleague likes details, don’t send a one-liner. Demonstrate respect ++ Keep it clear. If the email has multiple female names in the body and you refer to “her,” it may not be clear as to which “her” you’re referring. Make sure the tone is clear, which includes avoiding sarcasm because it’s easily misunderstood. Talk straight, demonstrate respect ++ Customize the signoff. Rather than just including a generic signoff like “Best” to all emails, make the end of the email unique to the person and the content. For example, “Please call me after you’ve had a chance to review.” A genuine expression of gratitude such as a simple “Thanks for considering this” strengthens the relationship and increases the likelihood of cooperation with your

request. Demonstrate respect ++ Make it easy to find. If the subject of an email thread changes, start a new thread so the email can be found easily later by either you or the other person. Demonstrate respect ++ Consider the timing. No one likes to walk into work on Monday morning or after a vacation and find a full email inbox. Use the “send later” function to get the email off your plate while delivering it at a time that works well for the receiver. Demonstrate respect ++ Double-check everything. Make sure it’s going to the right person, the correct attachments are enclosed, the subject line and content are correct, and that spell check is turned on. You can also add the “speak” function to your quick access toolbar to assist in finding errors. Talk straight, demonstrate respect, keep commitments

Be a Star Receiver The burden of communicating isn’t only on the sender. Remember that receiving the intended message is 50% of a successful communication loop. To make sure you’re a star receiver of electronic information, slow down and focus when reading your messages, ask for clarification if you’re unsure or if the email triggers a negative reaction (assume you misinterpreted it and then ask), and use active listening and reading skills to mirror back to the sender what you heard and what you intend to do.

A New Beginning, Not an End More communication technology does not mean the end of strong, professional relationships. It simply prompts us to revisit how we build and maintain them. When we approach technology as one more tool in our relationship-building toolkit, we’ll uncover how it can help us make deeper connections in a whole new way. 


PERSONALAWARENESS

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A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE

The Power of Design Thinking for Technology Projects By John Forsberg

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echnology loves to pull you into the weeds. It tries hard to distract. If you’re planning a new website or software project, technology wants to drag you down into specifics where it thrives on creating documents with loads of bullet points that list features and functionality requirements. But do those bullet points actually solve the issues that brought you to the project in the first place? It’s painfully easy to fall into a feature trap that forgets the very users you’re building the project for!

Utilizing a concept called Design Thinking is a great way to flip the script and shortcircuit (no pun intended) technology from getting in the way of the project goals.

What is Design Thinking? Design Thinking favors a user-centric design approach that puts people over processes, prioritizing the needs of the people who will be using the project above all else. Though “design” is in the name, it’s not just about the aesthetics of the project. It’s about bringing design, business and technology teams together to create a cross-functional team that can share ideas and insights on how to make the user’s experience better. Often on larger projects you will have different teams within your association that have differing mandates, objectives and visions for the project. When used effectively, Design Thinking brings those teams together with all stakeholders collaborating, voting and unifying under a single vision. This framework generates

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user-focused big ideas and solutions while avoiding the trap of focusing on features that are tactical and more focused on the machine.

Design Thinking: Step-by-Step The framework for Design Thinking can be tailored based on the organization and project. For this article, I’ll talk about how my organization uses Design Thinking for most technology projects. As the saying goes, “your mileage may vary!” The typical workflow for a Design Thinking technology project includes: 1. Project rundown with stakeholders 2. Team creates user personas and empathy maps 3. Teams creates “as is” journey map 4. Ideation phase: brainstorming, user scenarios, storyboards 5. Team creates the “to be” journey and experience map 6. User stories are prioritized and product backlog created

Rundown Creating a basic explanation of the project from the team’s perspective. Who are your primary users? What are the problems today? What should the user’s ideal experience be? How will the project create value/opportunity for your association?

User Personas Developing an in-depth look at your users. Who are we building this for? Get specific. Categorize them. Create empathy maps to gain a deeper insight into what motivates the users and makes them tick.

The “As Is” Journey Defining all the steps of the current user process/journey. List the actions, questions and pain points along each of the steps that a user experiences. From the pain points listed, ideate and brainstorm on opportunities where the user’s journey can be more intuitive and engaging. Each stakeholder participates. What are the big ideas we can think of to solve the pain points? Ideas are collated and voted on for agreement on which ideas would be the most impactful and feasible.

User Scenarios and Storyboards The team imagines the ideal future experience and describes the user’s behavior once the big ideas are implemented. Helps to align the team by having each member explain what the big idea means to them. If the team has broadly the same understanding of the big idea, then their stories will look similar, but the specific way each member envisions it, or even just the language they use, will help find subtle variations.


ASSOCIATIONKNOWLEDGE

Experience Map Based on the “to be” journey, product features are cataloged, prioritized and placed into a product backlog, and from there detailed and accurate time estimates, release schedules and scope of work requirements can be created. Here is where you are allowed to get into the weeds! We’ve used Design Thinking on a few projects now and the results are powerful. It forces you to think strategically from the user’s point of view and not on the technology. Here are a few lessons we’ve learned along the way that might help: ++

“To Be” Journey Map Though this looks similar to the “as-is” journey map, this time it’s a future statement, breaking down the tasks we want the users to be able to achieve across the board.

++

++

Make sure that ALL stakeholders are in the room (legal, marketing, operations, engineering, developers, designers). Allow ample time in your schedule, no distractions or meetings, making yourself and your team available for the whole process. Don’t get bogged down in details,

++

staying faithful to the process and user-centric approach. Go in prepared: Who are your users, personas, what upfront information do you have on your users. What problem are you trying to fix in your user experience?

Design Thinking will give you the plan to produce a product that is focused on the user, is something that the key people in your association have agreed to and have “buy in,” while also reducing the risk in terms of expensive rework later down the road, and also dramatically reducing the risk of building the wrong thing. Most importantly, it keeps technology where it should be: Almost seamlessly invisible to the user’s using it. If you’re interested in finding out more about how i2Integration has used Design Thinking for technology projects, contact Lisa Powers at lpowers@i2integration.com. 

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C O V E R STO R Y

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COVERSTORY

A Tale of Two Associations Rebranding the merged MRA and Check-In Michigan took strategy, secrecy By Rich Adams

W

hat are three key things to keep in mind when merging a $15.9 billion industry accounting for 440,600 Michigan jobs with a $10 billion section of the economy creating 155,194 jobs? According to Emily Daunt, senior director of marketing and communications for the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA), they are communications, communications and communications. Daunt, explained constant and consistent communications with stakeholders, members and the public were vital to the recent successful merger of the Michigan Restaurant Association and Check-In Michigan, which represents the lodging industry. From the time the merger was approved last July until the official announcement in November, Daunt worked with key players in both associations to craft a communications plan that would be reassuring to existing Restaurant

Association members and welcoming to those in the incoming lodging industry.

“Our goal was to get our message out to as many places as we possibly could with the rebrand because we wanted people to know, ‘this is who we are now and this is what we’re doing for the industry,’” Daunt said. “We really tried to hit on as many avenues as we possibly could.” The challenge was keeping mum about the merger while bringing in those with the need to know to align the rebranding announcement and more.

“Timing was obviously a challenge just in general because we had outlined a timeline from July to the end of the year, where things really had to happen quickly on top of the goals we had already established for the rest of the year as an association,” Daunt explained. “There were a lot of meetings and a lot of discussions. Every single decision we made, from what kind of coasters to get to what kind of signage to do, communicates a

ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® <ISSUE 2> 2019 13


C O V E R STO R Y

message to members, to potential members and to the general public.” To make a “great splash” on the day of the announcement, Daunt said the Nov. 14 workday started very early as all social media handles were switched, the new website was unveiled and a newsletter went out to current members explaining the merger, as well as a personalized letter from MRLA CEO and President Justin Winslow, informing members of the new association. In addition, a video was sent to members in an email blast specifically dedicated to the launch and explaining what it meant to both associations. “We did a press release that morning and had interviews set up for different board members in different regions across the state saying here’s why I am on board with this and here’s why you should be too,” Daunt said. “We wanted our social media presence to be very aggressive, so we had that video and another video showcasing the new logo, allowing us to introduce ourselves and say who we are.”

“Everything really flipped over that morning,” Daunt explained. “It was exhilarating.” The feedback from members of both industries has been overwhelmingly positive. “I think having that communication – and we did that both digitally and in print – helped everyone feel good about what’s happening, and all the feedback I got from that was positive and helpful,” Daunt said. “Everyone’s excited to see what we can do together.” According to Daunt, the merger occurred because the associations go hand-in-hand with one another in terms of industry and legislative goals. The idea had been kicked around for a few years before the possibility gained ground last spring. The two industries under one umbrella association will strengthen both legs of the hospitality business.

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Our goal was to get our message out to as many places as we possibly could with the rebrand because we wanted people to know, ‘this is who we are now and this is what we’re doing for the industry - Emily Daunt “This was done to better serve the hospitality industry in Michigan as a whole,” Daunt explained. “Better together than apart. We had been doing a lot for the general hospitality industry already, so it just made sense to naturally flow into that officially.” She advises any other associations considering a merger to ensure there is a solid communications plan in place long before the groups combine. “You want current members to feel secure. You want the incoming members to feel welcome,” Daunt said. “You want every to

feel the sense of team morale, to say ‘hey, we’re all pushing the boat forward together as one industry.’” According to Daunt, there is no such thing as too much interaction with members when making such a bold and surprising move. “You can never over-communicate,” Daunt explained. “People worry about maybe annoying someone and that they will eventually just shun you, but in the specific situation of rebranding I don’t think you can possibly over-communicate.”


COVERSTORY

She also said every piece of the rebranding puzzle is important, and planners should not rush through a decision just because they want to check a box on their list For example, the new MRLA logo features a pineapple – the international symbol of hospitality – along with strategically sized wording. “We kept the word ‘restaurant’ first because we were that association first, and then we added ‘lodging’ and made that text a bit larger so that even though it wasn’t first, it was still equally encompassing,” Daunt said. Even the specific pineapple in the logo took a great deal of thought. “We spent a very long time looking at many different variations of a pineapple,” Daunt said, laughing. “You’d be surprised how many you can create.” 

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I N D U S T R Y U N D E R STA N D I N G

SIGNS & GRAPHICS Personalize From the Event Sign Professionals

Your Renewal Campaigns By Dave Moore

A

s a publisher of nine magazines, we spend a ton of time and resources improving our subscription and renewal numbers each and every day. It is our lifeblood. And, repeatedly, our association clients ask, “Hey, can you do that for us?” The answer, certainly, is, “Of course we can!”

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Browse our online brochure at

Recent investments in new technologies in both software and print production have revolutionized what we can do for our publishing business and your membership marketing. There has been a MAJOR technology breakthrough. In the past, anyone could personalize basic salutation copy, but now you can personalize every area of text and graphics to show the members you know them, you know their business and


I N D U S T R Y U N D E R S TA N D I N G

you can help them more than they realize. Personalization is key to an effective member communication and retention plan. We recently had the opportunity to help the Small Business Association of Michigan with its dues renewal campaign. This campaign is part of a larger retention strategy that has been serving SBAM well for several years. “Retention really starts on day one, the first day a member joins our organization,” said Lori Birman, CAE, vice president of membership and development for SBAM. “Retention is a year-round process that culminates with the dues renewal campaign.” “The Village Press Demand Creative Service variable printed technology integrates well with our overall member retention and growth strategy,” said Rob Fowler, CEO of SBAM. “These mailings, combined with our attention to member onboarding and retention strategy have improved our retention rate.”So, let’s walk through the new

Retention really starts on day one, the first day a member joins our organization. Retention is a year-round process that culminates with the dues renewal campaign. - Lori Birman print renewal campaign our team recently updated for SBAM. For some background, SBAM has three paid dues levels that offer a varying amount of membership benefits. Effort 1: Upsell! The new renewal campaign kicks off with a letter notifying the “Basic” level member of the benefits of “Premium” and “VIP” membership levels. Likewise, if the member is already “Premium” there is an upsell to “VIP” without acknowledging benefits at the “Basic” membership level so a member won’t seek to drop to a lower level of membership. This letter is personalized, front and back, in four-color. This letter does not include an invoice; it is a

reminder of the member benefits currently available, as well as the member benefits awaiting an upgraded membership level. Effort 2: The Transactional Invoice. This invoice is three versions, four-color, front and back, personalized on both sides: (1) Offering an upsell message for “Basic,” (2) message for the “Premium” upsell to “VIP” and (3) the “VIP” member reminder of the many benefits available. We purposely remove any options for selecting a membership at a reduced level. Also, each eligible member has a checkbox to donate to the “Small Biz PAC” or “Small Biz PAC II.”

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248-990-3675 www.motowndigital.com ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 2> 2019 17


I N D U S T R Y U N D E R STA N D I N G

AUDIT PREPARATION SERVICES ACCOUNTING & OUTSOURCED SOLUTIONS FRAUD & RISK ASSESSMENT TECHNOLOGY CONSULTING IT VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT

AUDIT SERVICES

517.323.7500 www.manercpa.com www.manersolutions.com

18 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 36 > 2019

Effort 3: Thank the member! Sure, you can say “thank you” in the text, but this effort incorporates a graphical header with a personalized thank you and notification of SBAM’s 50th anniversary. There is a perforated tear-off renewal form at the footer asking for the membership upsell as well as a PAC contribution. Available “Membership Packages” are displayed in full-color on the reverse side. We are able to print these materials as needed, without having to pre-print large quantities of inserts and forms. This allows for easy updates to membership packages without wasting materials or missing opportunities to alert members of new products.

part of our history.” The membership levels and PAC calls to action are a tear-off footer, once again, personalized to upsell based on the member’s current level.

Effort 4: Commitment to Small Business. It’s important to recognize the member’s passion and commitment for SBAM. We use a full-color chronology of important events in SBAM’s history on the right side of the page, from the founding of the association through today, and you will see the year the individual member joined is inserted into the chronology. SBAM is reminding the member, “We’ve been helping Michigan’s businesses, and you, for a long time, and your membership is an important and recognized

The final letter uses a very colorful header graphic of the high-profile services SBAM offers. In this photo, you will note two versions: (A) shows a listing of services with checkmarks next to the two services the member has purchased from SBAM; and, (B) the version on the right lists the services without the checkmarks to note that the member is not currently utilizing any of the services. Again, from the start, SBAM is showing and reminding its members of a larger value proposition and continuously

Effort 5: The Shell. This accompanies SBAM’s magazine, Focus, in a polybag alerting the member: “Sandy, this is your last issue.” It details Sandy’s membership number, “member since” date, member level, and has PAC info and “Important Upcoming SBAM Dates” on the reverse side. For all of our clients, and for our internal publications, The Shell is the highestperforming effort. The “ask” is delivered with the value proposition of the publication.


I N D U S T R Y U N D E R S TA N D I N G

selling their value. And with these new technologies, we are able to articulate this valuable variable information inside of eye-catching graphics. We are able to tell a much bigger and better story for the client! As with the other efforts, the footer of the letter is a tear-off membership renewal form, personalized, with PAC donation opportunities.

association and the association’s importance to them.

Personalization of member messaging has historically has been limited to text. Now, you can communicate and sell on an even more personal level. Associations can show members specific value propositions, tell the member things they need to know (e.g., member identification number, membership level, member since date), and remind them of their importance to the

In the bigger picture, in addition to upselling from “Basic” to “Premium” to “VIP” and delivering a PAC offer, we are helping association clients offer additional years and lifetime member options, selling “chapter” memberships, digital and online membership services, and much, much more, all integrated into one membership renewal program. 

Through the variable data printing technology, you can deliver an effective upsell message. Associations know A LOT about their members. Now is the time to use affordable technology to communicate on a personal level with your members.

BRDPrinting.com tel 517.372.0268

|

fax 517.372.4922

912 W. Saint Joseph, Lansing, MI 48915

Ownership. Pride. Responsibility.

Your job. Done right.

Seamless, secure project facilitation.

From pre-press/graphic design and printing, to bindery and mailing — your project is in-house and under control.

We’re professionals — and it shows in everything we do.

ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 2> 2019 19


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I,you,she or he...by Jaume Plensa at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

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Association IMPACT 19: Issue 3  

Association IMPACT 19: Issue 3  

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