Defining your chapter brand
Every successful organization has a great brand. Think about any brand that you personally love. Chances are that brand is tied to you because of the emotional and mental associations you have for this organization. These brands are compelling; we know the check mark represents Nike and everyone is familiar with a Coke can. These brands provide their consumer with a strong emotional connection.
You do not just love your favorite brands because they are standardized but you love them because of how you have used them and how they resonate with you on that personal level. A good brand creates feelings of personal connection for its consumers. An amazing brand is one that can convey these feelings to individuals regardless of whether they are using the brand or not. It is important in recruitment, your chapter elevates your brand from just a good one, to instead an amazing brand.
Thinking about your campus and your recruitment process, how is your chapter brand attracting new members? Are people inspired by your brand or are you just another student group who is defined by public perception? Does your chapter 100% know what its brand is?
Most importantly, is your brand unique? We have worked with fraternity and sorority systems on hundreds of campuses. We have really seen it all before. And there is nothing that will lose anyones attention more than the shirt that you feel is trendy and really is being replicated across the country on every campus with fraternities. If we are to succeed in recruiting members, it means we must first focus on creating a strong brand. Check out these tips below for some ideas on how to do this.
Know what your brand is. Before anything else, you must be certain that you are establishing a brand that is well-defined. People should be able to look at your chapter and automatically know what you stand for. What is it that you are doing that others must know about and how are you creating a brand around this? By defining these pieces, you then reinforce them through branding to ensure they are a public part of your chapter image.
You have to be critical of your existing brand and the story you are telling. What is it that is making you unique and are you sure this is really standing out? As mentioned above, we constantly see chapters where the brands are much less meaningful than members think. When addressing your brand, be comfortable looking at it from an outsiders perspective. If you were to ask the average unaffiliated member, will they identify your brand the same way you do? If not, probably time for changes.
Your brand should be unique. Regardless of your community system, you are competing in a market against your peer chapters. Remember that if your brand is the first thing that people recognize about your chapter, it has to be memorable to have an impact. If you are not saying anything unique in your branding, do not expect others on your campus to treat you differently. Being a little creative in your branding goes a long way in selling your experience.
Ultimately your chapter should be confident in its branding. Members should love selling the brand you have created and commit this brand to heart. Once you have created this cohesive brand, your members must be 100% confident in sharing it with those around you. Members should be on the same page with branding and your brand should be so simple that any new member can pick it up easily. Be sure your entire chapter is consistent in how they are using your brand to promote your experience.
Your brand is the first thing that your chapter will be selling to recruits. Your behaviors and chapter performances must constantly reinforce this brand. There are no points in selling a reputation if your members fail to live up to it through their actions. Think back to the Coke example. The brand that Coke is selling is consistent across their experience. You always know what you are getting when you buy a Coke, your chapter must be the same. You cannot promise one thing and deliver another. This is how you lose potential members you invested resources in recruiting.
For more information on how you can provide results-driven programming for your members, visit Recruitment Boot Camp at campuspeak.com/rbc.
Credit // Author: Tim Mousseau