As we close the book on 2012 and look to 2013, we are filled with a sense of new beginnings: new initiatives and projects, a renewed sense of purpose or a resolve to do things differently. Many associations struggle to “do things differently” with their marketing. Because of time and resource constraints, marketing often gets the cookie-cutter treatment—just do what was done last year.
I encourage you to take a chance and push the envelope with your marketing in 2013. You might be surprised by the results. One of McKinley’s clients, the Global Association for Risk Professionals (GARP), did just that by working with The Gate Worldwide on a campaign encouraging professionals to become certified as financial risk managers. Instead of the usual staid imagery one might associate with business, GARP depicted business men in the moments after a punch was thrown. No fists are shown, but the sucker-punch image with headlines like “How Can a Financial Institution Avoid Getting Blindsided?” or “Master Financial Risk Now. Or Your Company Could Take It on the Chin Later” grab the attention of professionals who may take the exam and senior managers who need certified employees. The multi-channel campaign generated enough buzz to be covered in a New York Times article.
Humor can be used to push the envelope and establish rapport with your audience as seen in another buzz-worthy association campaign, Doily Decision 2012, created by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII). The campaign, which was unveiled in a YouTube video, leveraged the electioneering of 2012 by asking members and vacationers to align themselves with either the Pro Doily party or the No Doily party. Most members embraced the idea behind the campaign and enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek messaging that promotes the diversity of inns and B&Bs.
Both GARP and PAII created memorable campaigns about less-than-exciting topics (risk management and doilies) by being clever and, in doing so, they made their organizations memorable too.