The Association of Consultants to Nonprofits held an educational event on November 14, 2019 in Chicago. Titled “Making Your Story Stand Out”, the panel focused on helping members identify the best way to tell their stories and get more exposure for the organizations that they represent.
The panel included:
- Randy Ford, First Story Strategies
- Curt Gruber, Paul Gregory Media
- Nathan Jenks, Zweck Strategies
- Amber Mentor-Truppa, Shriver Center on Poverty Law
The overarching message from all of the panelists was to get a clear understanding of the goals of the organization before embarking on any media strategy.
While each of the panelists took time to describe their perspective on how best to work, it seemed that Curt Gruber was able to really put some of the best substance behind the conversation. He articulated the need to differentiate between Product and Brand and talked about the importance of Strategy before Tactics. Curt spent some detailed time outlining the importance of STP: Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning. He went through the brand equity pyramid from Professor Keller. The important memory is that you cannot get to the top of the pyramid if you don’t do everything right. As someone who has worked in multiple sports organizations, Curt emphasized that you cannot control the game. Since the result is out of your control, you have to use the platform of the event to sell products and develop partnerships that tell the story about who you are as an entity.
Jenks focused again on the message of strategy before tactics. He spoke about the distinction between BIG B and little b. The little b is the tactical stuff like material and web content. The BIG B is thinking holistically about how it all works together. He says that the three main items are 1) the LOOK; 2)s the STORY; and 3) the EXPERIENCE.
Mentor-Truppa spoke about the importance of listening to stakeholders but also giving them a voice to ensure that board members and your strategic planning team. The reason for that is the importance of having the planning team hearing directly. It is much different to get a filtered message than engaging with those asking the questions. It is almost impossible to divide the content into bite size pieces if you do not understand where it originated from. She feels strongly that a lot of the media relations function should be built in-house because there are important relationships to be developed with journalists.
ACN seems to have a strong base of support and provides terrific content and resources for those consultants who work with nonprofits. For more information, visit their website at https://www.acnconsult.org/ .com