Posts tagged ‘association’

5 Reasons Associations are Hardwired for Web TV Success – A Glimpse into the Future of Association TV

By StuarSM_12-4-12_edited-2t Meyer

As a primer for this article, I encourage you to watch the short two-minute video below which gives you a glimpse into the future of association TV.

If CNN, NBC or ABC walked into your office today and said they want you to create a compelling TV channel around your association, what would it look like?  What types of programs would you find there?

How about that, you’re already thinking beyond YouTube.

In my years as an association executive, TV coverage in any form was always the highly sought-after pinnacle of our public relations strategies.  From satellite media tours to opening up dialogue with producers of the Showtime original series Nurse Jackie, I experienced the full spectrum.

The challenge of achieving TV coverage always resided in the fact that coverage was scarce, short-lived, imprecise in reaching your target audiences and usually fairly expensive to capture the attention of networks.  When we did finally line up media coverage it was usually limited to research or governmental affairs objectives.

I’ve always envisioned the infinite possibilities presented by a scenario in which associations had their own TV network comprised of targeted channels and programming content.  If we can’t get members and stakeholders to our association in person, it would be the next best thing.

Why?  Simply put, compelling TV and film takes you there with minimal effort required.  As producers, we serve as your guides on that journey and ensure we make stops at all the key story points along the way.  Soon, you’re forming bonds and relationships with these subjects on the screen who have welcomed you into their lives.

The mistake so many associations have made when it comes to video strategy is the mistaken belief that anyone who has a camera in their hands is a producer.  I believe a camera is like an instrument and producing compelling video-based media storytelling, not to mention episodic series and feature-length programming, is an art.  Just because one goes to the art store to buy a canvass, paints and brushes does not mean they are about to paint a masterpiece.

Fear not, it’s all a part of or the evolutionary media and communications continuum.  As for association TV networks, the opportunity is already here thanks in part to high-speed internet streaming distribution, mobility, audience behavior, incredibly robust video platforms, an abundance of creative talent and a big reduction in the cost of the technologies and equipment required to produce high quality programming.

Chances are your association is more prepared than you think.  Here’s five reasons why:

1) BUILT-IN START-UP AUDIENCE:  Associations already have a base membership which provides an audience foundation to build open, which ultimately can reach well beyond the walls of the organization.

2) SPONSORS:  Associations already have sponsors who provide financial support in exchange for positioning, promotional and other opportunities to be aligned with the organization and its members.  These same sponsors become a funding basis for web TV network and programming efforts.

3)  STORIES & CONTENT:  From member stories and public figures to an abundance of educational, research and networking-oriented content, associations have the building blocks for web TV content and programming.

4)  EXISTING COMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE:  Marketing and promotion is a significant key to success in the TV and film industry.  Associations already have the marketing, communications, publishing and PR infrastructure to ensure it’s TV network reaches members on all levels through both promotion and integrated TV content within existing communication vehicles.

5)  A VITAL NEED TO FIND NEW WAYS TO DEEPEN ENGAGEMENT & SENTIMENT: 
Never has there been a time when it was more important for associations to elevate its visibility in creative and compelling new ways.  Today, we live in a literal ocean of information, networking options and subject-matter “authorities”.  The key to the future of associations it finding ways to rise above the noise and web TV is that vehicle.

Start the dialogue today, plan a board education session, initiate creative planning… do whatever you can to take the next step.

With 14 years of association experience matched by a lifetime of creativity in music and film, Stuart Meyer is President and Founder of Social Frequency Media Communications.  He can be reached by clicking here

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January 30, 2014 at 3:07 pm Leave a comment

Social Media – From Trend to Standard Association Business Practice

Having returned from the 2010 ASAE Annual Meeting last week, all I can say is it has been a fascinating year in the slow evolution of the social web’s impact on association business practice.  I can also say  there are many more miles to travel before associations secure a strong future with their audiences.

Perhaps the most interesting development I’ve seen is the way some of the trendy social media hipsters are starting to lose a bit of interest, which can only mean that we may finally be moving toward the integration of social media strategy into the standard association business model, strategy and operations… but we aren’t quite there yet.

I admire all of the cutting-edge early adopter personalities out there as they are the ones who help push everyone else through the gravitational pull of the association atmosphere to get us all to the point where we can shift our focus to analyze how the business trends of social media are reshaping our world.

Where do we go from here and what does 2011 have in store for us?  My recommendation for you is a series of board and executive management sessions in your association geared toward educational and planning so the business impact and opportunity of social media can, once and for all, be understood and advanced.

In doing so, we move the conversation from the delegation of social media responsibility to the new part-time college graduate hire over in marketing/communications to the place where all strategic business issues are discussed and planned… the Board Room.

As the saying goes, “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”.  Now, let’s get out there and build a strong future for associations.

September 1, 2010 at 9:46 am Leave a comment

FTC Guides Suggest Social Media Policies and Procedures Might Reduce Liability Risks

100_2987At the onset of this post, I want to be very clear that I am not intending to send fear coursing through the veins of senior management nor should this be construed as a “let’s all find another reason to fear social media”.

Quite conversely, part of leveraging a strong social media business strategy is ensuring the appropriate operational controls are in place.  Policies, standardized practices and process are a responsible part of any business strategy and the business strategy of social media should be no exception.

This week, potential liability regarding the use of social media hit home as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released new Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.  Essentially, the new guides will work to ensure a higher level of honesty and transparency in the use of the social web for the purpose of marketing in terms of “pay to say” disclosure and factual representations.

Though I am not  a lawyer (nor have I ever played one on TV) and always encourage consultation with legal counsel, I did read through the 81 page FTC document yesterday and came across an important consideration which I don’t believe has been adequately highlighted.  That consideration is the liability an employer faces for the actions of employees engaging in social media activities either within or outside the scope of their work responsibilities.   The FTC addresses this scenario in response to a question which appears to have arisen during an open comment period relating to employer liability.  Below is a verbatim excerpt from the FTC’s response:

“…although the Commission has brought law enforcement actions against companies whose failure to establish or maintain appropriate internal procedures resulted in consumer injury, it is not aware of any instance in which an enforcement action was brought against a company for the actions of a single “rogue” employee who violated established company policy that adequately covered the conduct in question…  The Commission does not believe, however, that it needs to spell out the procedures that companies should put in place to monitor compliance with the principles set forth in the Guides; these are appropriate subjects for advertisers to determine for themselves, because they have the best knowledge of their business practices, and thus of the processes that would best fulfill their responsibilities.” see page 48 of the complete FTC document for full text

What this means is it is time to create social media policies and practices within your organization which carefully balance innovative business uses of social media with clear lines drawn on unacceptable practices.

While it is my intention to use my Association 2020 blog to add value to our community rather than endlessly promote my consulting practice, Social Frequency Media Communications, this is one instance where I want everyone to know that social media internal policy and procedure development is a core part of my services.  Click here to learn more about Social Frequency Media Communications or feel free to contact me directly at stuart@socialfrequency.net.

October 9, 2009 at 10:24 am Leave a comment

Association Publishing Magazine Features Stuart Meyer in September/October 2009 Issue

Association Publishing ArticleMy advance apologies for the dreadfully ego-centric sounding headline above.  I simply wanted to make sure this posting was optimized for search engine results… or “SEO” as it is called… which translates into posting views and insures that this story might reach a wider audience.

As many of you know, I’ve spent the second half of this year making the transition toward living and sustaining my life purpose.  This wonderful article, written by the very talented Carla Kalogeridis, provides a deeper perspective on how I am working to translate my humbling gifts and talents into my daily vocation as composer, filmmaker and not-for-profit social media consultant.

Earlier this year, as a step along this journey, I voluntarily composed a theme song (click here to listen) for the Association Forum to be used as a source of motivation for all the not-for-profit association professionals out there who have weathered a very difficult year.  The title of the theme song is “Go the Distance” which pretty much says it all to anyone from any walk of life who has endured this year of economic heartbreak and setbacks.

Within the past couple of months, I was contacted by Association Publishing Magazine about their interest in writing an article about the story behind this piece of music.  If you click here you can read the full article.

As the journey continues, I also invite you to support my current documentary film project, Imprévu – The Kenneth von Heidecke Storywhich is an inspiring story about a blue-collar Midwestern kid from Chicago who faces unimaginable triumph and tragedy in pursuing professional and international acclaim in the world of ballet.

When I first met Ken, I knew this was a powerful story that had to be told in a way that is as uniquely creative and as beautifully artistic as his life.  This film will not be your typical documentary, but rather an emotive and inspiring cinematic journey that well leave audiences reflecting, and hopefully acting upon their own inexhaustible purpose and calling in life.

Please join the official Imprévu film group on Facebook by clicking here where you can read our production diary dating back to 2008, listen to clips of film music I’ve composed and see our growing collection of production photos. I also welcome you to spread the word.

September 14, 2009 at 10:17 am Leave a comment

2009 ASAE Annual Meeting Opens with a Bang in Host City Toronto

For those who may not know, the 2009 ASAE Annual Meeting is taking place this week in Toronto.  I was on hand for half the meeting and must say both ASAE and the host city of Toronto have pulled out all of the stops this year.  From volunteer leadership and networking to education and new business tools, the ASAE Annual Meeting brings together our community to  experience what being an association executive is all about.   

For those who weren’t able to attend or for those looking to re-live or share the experience of the opening reception, I happened to capture some rough video from my iPhone of the exciting pyro fireworks finale, which features the 4 Canadian Tenors, which you can view below.

Social Frequency_symbolSocial media is a conversational business strategy, not just a set of tactics.  Looking to develop and/or manage the right approach ?  At Social Frequency Media Communications we help your association join its future… already in progress.  For more information, visit  www.socialfrequency.net .

August 17, 2009 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment

Using social capital measurement as a predictor of future success or failure within your association

I’ve been truly blessed in my career to be able to combine a wide breadth of professional experiences with an even larger variety of teachers who I’ve had the good fortune to cross paths with.  As you move along in your career journey, the combination of these elements begin to reveal patterns which illuminate potential truths that may often be overlooked by the general population.  Time-tested universal logic and wisdom becomes tools for us all to apply to our associations.  In this posting, I will share with you what I believe to be one such truth as it relates to the state of our association world.

If you ask the typical association executive how he or she might predict whether or not their association would succeed or fail in the future, chances are you might hear a seemingly canned response full of management, operations and strategic diagnostic assessment covering everything from strategic planning to long-term investment portfolios to new product/resource development to technology to membership recruitment to research to competitive educational programs to advocacy to etc to etc to etc.  I think you get the picture.  

While in many ways the above elements are certainly crucial to a healthy and functioning association, I believe the true answer, above all else, is social capital… and not just social capital, but the highest degree of social capital possible.  

Social capital has been defined by writers, such as Robert Putnam (in Bowling Alone) and Peter Block (in Community – The Structure of Belonging), as the overall quality of relationships and cohesion within a community.  

Putnam suggests that social capital is about acting on and valuing our interdependence and sense of belonging… the extent to which we extend hospitality and affection to one another.  Building on Putnam’s assessment, Peter Block suggests that “we need to create a community where each citizen has the experience of being connected to those around them and knows that their safety and success are dependent on the success of all others.”

Personally, I’ve seen the factor of social capital drive success and failure in a variety of “community” settings throughout my career, ranging from my sixth grade rock band and high school football team to the world of state/national politics and, yes, our beloved associations. 

In essence, on paper an association might give the healthy appearance of being poised for a strong and secure future only to be disintegrating from the core.  Could your association be disintegrating at the core over declining social capital? 

By now, you are likely focusing your thoughts and analysis on your various membership segments and the degree to which they may or may not feel a sense of cohesion and belonging within your association.  You may even be contemplating how well your association’s bundle of resources, opportunities and networking structure is advancing social capital at the individual and group level.  Finally, I’m almost certain that as a seasoned association executive you are wondering how you can measure, benchmark and track social capital and it’s impact on the growth, activity and success of your association.

At this point, if you’re thoughts are precisely at the same place as my thoughts above then I would heartily congratulate us all for overlooking the a significant foundation and factor for the successful cultivation of social capital within our associations… our staff. 

Yes, it is true that we are all “paid” staff and in keeping with the traditional fallacy of economic enrichment let’s celebrate for a moment the desperately flawed assumption that a clear definition of job responsibilities, adequate compensation, leave time and fringe benefits automatically assures a high degree of social capital and personal investment within our staff structure. 

Simply put, unless the heart is beating the rest of the body isn’t going very far.

It is quite possible to have the most talented and experienced group of people comprising your staff structure yet fail miserably for a lack of cohesion and sense of belonging (aka social capital) which, if unaddressed, may only worsen over time leading to decline in social capital cultivation with members/volunteer leaders and the ultimate “extinction” of staff.  Your workplace will become overly stressful, the best and brightest won’t likely stick around and those who do remain are likely the ones whose only goal within your association is to collect that paycheck. 

Think of your staff as a mirror image reflection of the social capital within your association.

Okay, so here we are.  We’ve pinpointed the source of social capital, right?  I’m afraid we’re likely wrong once again.  After all, our staff is in place to answer the marching orders of our governing boards and councils and if these volunteer member leaders fail to espouse the creation of social capital with membership and staff alike then the leadership is to blame, right?   Well, let’s not jump to hasty conclusions just yet.

Ultimately, I believe the most powerful source of social capital creation with your association is none other than you… regardless of your role or scope of responsibility.  Our volunteer leaders certainly have a great deal of authority within our associations, but remember that leaders come and go while staff remains the constant, leaving you with considerable influence.  

When we commit ourselves to living and measuring our own success by the impact we have on the success of others, the ideal environment is created all around us for the cultivation of social capital.  More broadly, I also believe you can apply this principle to any aspect of your life. 

Let’s face it, if we aren’t helping others succeed aren’t we in a way allowing them to fail?  Granted, sometimes we take great satisfaction in seeing others fail, such as anyone major league baseball team playing the Chicago Cubs (sorry, couldn’t resist); however, we are talking about the construction and maintenance of an environment of intended cohesion and belonging, not a competitive environment.  Think Chicago Cubs fans unified around the ultimate success of that elusive world series pennant, not the more general community of major league baseball fans, with the one caveat being if the day were to arrive when the future of major league baseball as a whole is threatened.  Though alliances is not intended to be part of this posting, there clearly is significance in terms of social capital well beyond our own associations that I might address at a later date.  

Nonetheless, if you characterize the conditions within your association as intensely competitive, then it may already be too late.  Think of it this way, social capital is the essence of the phrase “good-of-the-order”. 

For some reason, the primary motivation in the traditional management world is more often than not negative motivation.  In essence, we are often conditioned to believe that if we do a good job then our economic security is assured and that if we fail it may ultimately cost us our jobs.  The topic of “risk” always factors prominently in the minds and weighs heavily on the shoulders of association executives, especially at the CEO level.  But regardless of your role, ask yourself which of the following most closely resembles your association:

Association A:  If we take a calculated risk, our primary concern is the impact of failure.

Association B:  If we take a calculated risk, our primary concern is the impact of success.

In other words, some associations camp on the question of “what if it doesn’t work”, while others work from the perspective of “what if it does”.  Which of these two environments do you think has the greatest abundance of social capital and potential for future success?   

As association executives at any level of management or responsibility, our role is not only to ensure the execution of marching orders issued by our governing leadership, but also to serve as dynamic leaders and facilitators of social capital within our associations at all levels.  Let’s face it, if social capital disappears from your association, the next vanishing act may be that of your association. 

Think of social capital as a measurable predictor of success, stagnation or failure within your association.  Why?  Because the degree to which members, leaders and staff feel a sense of cohesion, belonging, purpose and investment within the association will directly impact future output and action at all levels.

From the very beginning, the driving principle of associations has been rooted in the recognition that our success ultimately depends on the success of others.  Put another way, if our success is driven by the desire for personal gain and not the ultimate success of others, then there is little chance for survival on both an individual and collective level.  However, if we focus our energy and service on helping others succeed for the good of the whole, then we all succeed.  After all, I don’t know too many people who if given the option would prefer to fail than to succeed. 

Now for the million-dollar question, how do you cultivate, measure and track social capital?  Well, if you’ve read or heard me talk about my concept of Association EQ, then you likely know what I’m about to say.  I would argue that social capital is not driven by logic, rather it is rooted in emotion.  Remember, we are talking about a “sense” of belonging, cohesion, healthy relationships, connecting, and experiences as contributors to social capital.  I might suggest a slightly simplified definition of social capital as “a cohesively unifying state of emotional well-being”.

Regardless, my point is the measure of social capital may very well be the measure of emotion as behavioral economics suggests that the majority of people base economic decisions based upon emotion rather than logic.  So, if the desire of your association is to strenghten and expand your base of people (including members, volunteers, staff and other stakeholders) then you must measure the degree of emotional attachment to your association as a whole and in its parts.  Here’s where it’s time to get real in bringing psychology into play.

At this point, I have reminded myself that my goal was to write a blog posting rather than a book.  Given the many dimensions of this issue materializing in my mind I am going to create a related series of postings in near future to further explore ideas for putting social capital cultivation into practice within your association.  Stay tuned!

September 19, 2008 at 10:08 am Leave a comment

Using History to Bridge the Gap Toward Your Association’s Future

It’s often said that you can’t get to where you are going unless you have an understanding of where you’ve been.  Your leaders lead from where they stand using their unique point of reference… for better… for worse.

If there is any question of how powerful history can be, one only need look back to the role of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution to see how these documents continue to shape our future as a country. 

In the future, I’ve long held the belief that the core mission of associations will not change, rather it is the way in which our missions are achieved.  Put another way, we’ll be playing the same game, it’s only the playing field which is changing and expanding.  As association professionals, it is up to us to help guide our associations to adapt to this new playing field which is full of seemingly limitless opportunities to achieve what has historically been our purpose and mission.

As we manage our own evolution, the closest distance between two points in creating a bridge to the future is not to focus on how “different” the world will be, but rather building from the perspecive of what will build upon the same… people coming together to engage and advance a profession to create a strong voice which will shape the future of the profession.  

Be careful not to fall into the trap of the “otherworldly” language spoken in the web 2.0 and beyond world to cast a confusing shadow of what is at the bottom-line of these technologies.  

One suggestion would be instead of introducing and explaining the functionality of new technology, such as blogs, social communities, wikis, Twitter, etc, focus on the core capabilities as it relates to mission and how such capabilities can strengthen and expand mission, member engagement and participation.

Let’s use a wiki for example.  Instead of suggesting your association launch a wiki, start instead with painting a scenario in which like-minded members with specific expertise connect with each other to contribute and strengthen the associations conent-matter which is presented to both members and the public… all of which is not dissimiliar to what associations have been doing for hundreds of years. 

Chances are, if you stand up at your Board meeting and suggest the association launch a wiki, every word you say after that moment will likely sound more like “blah-blah-blah-blah” to your Board members. 

So, my point is to use history and tradition as a tool to connect your association with its future.  SM

August 22, 2008 at 5:36 am Leave a comment

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