David W. Akridge, CAE, Deputy Executive Director of the American Inns of Court sits down with Shelley Sanner, CAE to discuss how McKinley has helped AIC articulate their brand.
David: My name is David Akridge. I’m the deputy executive director at the American Inns of Court Foundation.
Shelley: What’s really unique about your members, David, is that it’s the legal profession and at McKinley we have a lot of experience in that sector. But I really didn’t get the sense of what it was like until I was there and saw everyone interacting and your mission to provide young lawyers with a chance to get in front of judges and actually practice the art of law.
David: Our work with McKinley helped clarify for us the need to have a consistent message throughout the organization. And despite the fact that we are a very locally-based, grassroots organization with chapters all over the country, we need our members to have a consistent set of expectations for what being a member means; and our prospective members to have a clear idea of what they’re going to get when they join an American Inn of Court. And McKinley has helped us through the branding work to clarify that message.
David: The McKinley approach—at least for the work that was done for us—was a significant effort up front to understand our needs, our members and our culture, because I think there’s a lot about culture that you just have to see. But the investment at the beginning of the project, in making sure you really knew who we were and knew the profession that we work within was incredibly valuable.
McKinley is unique in the association community because of its engagement with the community; it’s not just a vendor. Specifically, the people who work at McKinley are every much a part of the association community, as the people who work in associations. And that’s a way that they bring value to the community—beyond the services they provide—because they make their collective wisdom available, in many ways for free, through sessions that they do at conferences and the breakfasts that they host. And you don’t even have to be a current client to be able to take advantage of that, and so McKinley really stands out in my mind as being one of the leaders of the community and I think we are all enriched by that.