Once you have developed a platform for your brand, you will have the foundations to start building a message that identifies why you are different and compels people to find out more.
You might be thinking
“but I already know what my message is. We run archery competitions and events for people who like archery or want to learn”.
That is a not a message. It’s a definition of your product (or service) and not good enough to stand out in today’s ultra-competitive environment. It is really just saying “this is what people do when they get here.
What I’m talking about is a clear and compelling statement that sets you apart from the crowd and makes people think ‘Wow!’
To develop a really great message, you need to ask yourself some very simple questions that you may find very hard to answer!
1. Who are you?
Write down a quick, clear no frills, no spin description of what your sports organisation does. This should be a maximum of one sentence.
2. Who is it for?
A simple description of your primary target market and your secondary target market if you have one. Again, a maximum of one sentence.
3. What are the top three problems you solve for the market?
Why is it that people come to you instead of going somewhere else or doing it themselves? Write these down as three ‘dot points’, not long sentences.
4. Why are you different?
Three to five ‘dot points’ that are very clear about what makes you different. If you are really struggling to find anything, it’s an indication that you need to develop some points of difference. These need to be things that your competitors are not doing, or not doing well.
It’s really important here to identify things that are truly different and set you apart. For example, saying that “we provide really great service” or “our staff and volunteers are really friendly” is nowhere near good enough. People expect these things and they do not differentiate you – anyone could say those things. In today’s world, they are the most basic of things that you need to have just to be in business.
5. Why should anyone trust you?
Prove your credibility. Do this by explaining your achievements, what you have done well as an organisation or feedback you receive from people.
Some sports organisations dismiss this as being unimportant. I often hear people say “Oh we don’t have to do that because everyone around here knows what we have achieved and they trust us”.
This is a very dangerous thing to do. Just because you live and breathe your sports environment, that doesn’t mean everyone else does too. People do not know how good you are, or that they should trust you. It is absolutely critical to ensure you gather all the evidence you can to provide your credibility… unless of course you want to carry on just like you are now.
6. What emotional benefits do you deliver?
How do you want people to feel when they interact with your club or association? Do you leave them feeling elated, relieved, excited, relaxed or something else completely. Write down three emotions that summarise how you want people to feel when they interact with your sports organisation.
7. What is your Big Idea as a sporting organisation?
This is the why. It needs to make an emotional connection with people and make then realise that they are dealing with an organisation that really cares about making the world a better place?
Sound a bit ‘airy fairy?’ I’m not suggesting that you make this your key marketing message, but you need to have a higher purpose rather than just churning people through, taking their money just so you can survive until next season. How is your sports organisation going to really contribute to the community and become a compelling, engaging brand that people want to be part of?