Do you know your Club’s story? Can your Board and your staff confidently answer that question? If not, it’s time to put in some work.
Storytelling can captivate an audience, evoke emotions, and memorably convey your message. Storytelling is the most effective way to build brand identity, rally members around a capital project, and motivate employees. Why? Because stories elicit emotion.
Consider your most recent big purchase, “Did you feel good about it?” Notice the word, feel, that is an emotion. The right story will sway you, but you need to know what you are selling. Yes, selling because everybody is selling something, whether it’s a product, a Club membership, or an idea. Nike is selling you an attitude (Just Do It), Southwest Airlines is highlighting a passenger-first approach with low costs, and your favorite insurance company is selling you the peace of mind of knowing you are protected.
From browsing the websites of dozens of Clubs, most believe their story is their history. They list when they were founded, and the rest of the “About Us” page reads like a resume with dates and a quick blip of what they accomplished. This approach does not work because it reads like a middle school history exam. Off the top of your head, can you tell me when the Revolutionary War started? Probably not. However, you do know why it was necessary. The “Why” is the motivation for your story. How do your members feel about belonging to the Club? Describe the atmosphere, build a narrative of whatever it is, and then share the vision. Show me pictures of your members having fun, not empty dining rooms or a vacant swimming pool.
For stories to work, you need characters, people smiling, enjoying the company of others, and using the amenities. Solve a problem, explain why your lifestyle is the one for me, and back it up with visual words like “Imagine” and “Discover.” Those words transport us, create intrigue, and, most importantly for you, keep prospects reading about your Club.
Crafting your story takes time and expertise. Get a facilitator to help you brainstorm ideas, whiteboard the emotions, and establish your point of view. You then need to rework the mission and the vision statements to identify what was revealed. Then, teach the team the new messaging and share it so that it becomes memorable, builds community and loyalty. Post it on the menus in your restaurants, member bills at the bar, or the video screens throughout your clubhouse so that it becomes a part of your fabric.
You, too, are a brand. People choose to join your Club, so in this competitive marketplace, make their decision an easy one.