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But Enough About Me

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But Enough About Me

Emily Lane, CAE, Program and Brand Manager, National Association of State Chief Information Officers

“But enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?” – Bette Midler in Beaches

Associations have a lot to say – and often, it’s about ourselves. Registration opens soon…check out our latest publication…look at the advances we’ve made on legislative issues...  Though member needs are at the core of these messages, is this association-centric speech the entirety of our communications? Does it represent who we are, our brand? 

Since members are the fundamental reason we exist, why aren’t we talking more about them? Or, more interestingly, letting them speak for themselves?

While an association’s purpose is to be a unified voice of many, should we not also be the megaphone for individual stories and individual voices. This doesn’t water down an association’s brand, it enhances it and makes it authentic. This idea reminds me of the 1980s Vidal Sassoon commercial – If you don’t look good, we don’t look good. Members are best our best assets –showcasing them has the added benefit of making us look good.

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) is implementing this concept in a few ways.  

State CIOs Make a Difference Campaign
In 2015, NASCIO launched the State CIOs Make a Difference campaign to share the many ways in which information technology and IT policy leaders are making a measurable difference for citizens.  NASCIO members are front-and-center, telling their own stories in their own voices.
The participating states gain national exposure with NASCIO trumpeting their successes and NASCIO’s brand – being an advocate for state IT and its leaders – is reinforced authentically.

Perspectives from Partners
Last year, NASCIO’s Director of Government Affairs changed the format of a weekly advocacy update to allow for a more direct exchanged between NASCIO strategic partners and members.

The partners, often another national associations, are asked to share what matters to their members and where our priorities overlap. Rather than NASCIO collecting and then reporting this information, the interview format allows partners to speak to NASCIO members in their own authentic voice while still highlighting the strategic role NASCIO is playing.

Corporate Perspectives
In addition to state policy leaders, NASCIO membership is comprised of companies that provide solutions to states. Outside of two yearly conferences and volunteer committees, there wasn’t much dialog between the two groups.

Just this month, NASCIO will launch a blog featuring expertise and thought leadership authored by corporate members. Again, NASCIO is the vehicle by which important information is exchanged, but our members are doing the talking. 

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