Posted by Divya Tandan on Jan 17, 2018
Whether your association is competing to hire staff or is running a membership drive, your success rates with both depend largely on how your organization is perceived by your audience. And how they perceive has a lot to do with your organization's branding.
A study was recently released by PNP Staffing Group that found that for associations looking to hire new staff members, the majority of candidates took the organization's mission, reputation, culture and benefits into account before making their decision. The CEO of PNP Staffing Group, Gayle Brandel went on in the report to mention how “salaries are key—absolutely—but brand is very important too. Many, many candidates will come on to work for an association or nonprofit because of their mission—because of their brand.”
 
Similarly, when you're looking to recruit or even retain members, it's imperative that you are able to easily share what makes your association unique, what its core mission, beliefs and values are, so that you can create a positive image within the minds of your audience. This in turn makes them more receptive to your messages, events, and even membership drives. And all of this is done through your organization's brand. Your branding can best reflect the information that's relevant to your audience as well as how you want to be perceived by the community around you, and the best way to get your brand value across is through your positioning statement.
 
Keep it simple and say what you do
 
You need to be able to communicate what your organization is about in a maximum of two sentences. But of course, a positioning statement is not just about promotion. It's about being able to incorporate the association's mission and vision into the minds of your own members, prospective members, stakeholders and your community. It should explain why your association exists in the first place and why it matters, keeping your audience (target market) in mind.
 
What's the benefit? What's the offering?
 

A good positioning statement also tells a story. It outlines the benefit and also tells the listener about what your organization offers to them. For example, "a group full of dedicated professionals that provide solutions to eradicate world hunger" is a great statement for an international food bank association or even community service groups. "Giving a platform to entrepreneurs in the tech space to connect with like-minded professionals to learn from one another to further grow and scale their own business" is an example of a positioning statement for a peer to peer networking group in the tech space that not only tells a prospect about the benefit the organization but also tells them more about the group of individuals that make up the group. 


If you were in an elevator and only had 30 seconds to describe your organization, think about what you would say. If your positioning statement is able to dictate everything you wanted to say in just one or two sentences, then you know that you've kept it simple and effective. If you find that even after sharing your positioning statement, you need to further explain the essence of your group, then your positioning statement requires some more work. A well thought out positioning statement has to entice the listener to want to learn more, and engage with your organization.  
 
The equation to an effective positioning or branding statement is simple: Simple Definition of why your organization exists + Your Offering/Benefit = Positioning Statement

The difficult part is being concise, getting straight to the point, and separating your positioning statement from your tagline.