The word has been stuck in my brain since we first started talking about Corey Perlman for MC LIVE! 2020 and I read about his keynote, Authentically Social. Maybe it’s because of that, but ever since then, I’ve seen the word popping up EVERYWHERE. (Even in Callie’s blog post yesterday - you go, girl, crush those public speaking gigs.)
Honestly, it’s great! We should all strive to be more authentic in our professional and personal lives. And brands should definitely strive to be authentic about themselves, as well as their products and services.
But, in the age of Instagram influencers, data security, and “fake news,” a brand or person’s authenticity can easily be challenged.
Which begs the question: how can your association or chamber not only BE authentic - but show it too, without seeming, well, inauthentic? To me, it all comes down to three things:
1. Be helpful
Providing content that’ll help a member overcome a challenge. Making an introduction between two members who would benefit from working together. Giving a member a few extra perks during a crucial time for their business. Whatever it is, ask yourself how you can help - with every interaction, with every member.
The small things do matter - and moreover, the small and private things matter. Not everything has to be on social media! Don’t feel like you need to show the world every single thing you do for a member. They'll do that for you when they tell their network all about how great it is to be a member, in part because of those small things. Simply being known for going above and beyond is way better - and more authentic - in the long run.
2. Continue building value
Never stop tweaking your benefits package. That doesn’t just mean adding more benefits for the sake of making membership seem more appealing. As some benefits lose their relevance, don’t be afraid to take them away, too! Being authentic means providing the benefits that members will - say it with me - benefit from. You have to be able to fulfill the expectations you set when they joined, while continuing to grow that value over time.
If you don’t already, do a “benefits audit” annually to determine what you could drop and what you should add. And make members a part of the process with a survey - you may be surprised by what they have to say!
3. Make mission-minded decisions
The is the big one. Your organization’s mission is its guiding light. If you’re ever unsure of what to do, in any situation, ask yourself: what course of action would take our mission further? What would move the needle more?
It may not always be super clear, but you’re guaranteed to act more authentically if you and your fellow staff are making decisions that work toward the common goal of fulfilling your mission...which is what it's all about!
At the end of the day, you have to choose authenticity over everything else - actively live it day in and day out, with how you serve your members and your mission. Do that, and your organization will exude an authenticity that can’t be questioned.
At MC LIVE! 2020, we’ll be exploring that theme a little more: how do we continue to be authentic in the work we do? Get in on the conversation and register to join us: