Execs to Evolve Communications Strategies by Investing in Tech, More Editorial Content

How do you see your communication strategy evolving over the next five years compared to your current strategy

Brittany Quick-Warner
Eugene Area (OR) Chamber

For the first time in years, our chamber decided to invest in our marketing and communication strategy by hiring a full time communication staff. This shift has allowed us to develop a strategy for how, when and to whom we are trying to communicate, versus the “do all-the-things, all-the-time” approach that we had become accustomed to. Moving forward, we are aligning our communication strategy with new generations who are motivated to make decisions based on value and impact. We are focused on communicating our role in moving the community forward, going beyond marketing individual services and instead articulating our mission and vision for the community.

Jason Camis, IOM
Gardner Edgerton (KS) Chamber

The biggest challenge we see is the enormous amount of information that is being communicated to our members and community from all aspects of society. Over the next five years we are working on a few key areas: what content is delivered, how and when it’s delivered, and to whom. The “who” and “what” go hand in hand. It must be valuable and relevant content, and delivered to the right people.

Segmenting our members is priority No. 1. How and when it’s delivered is the next challenge. We must make sure we use the right communication method to reach our intended audience, time the delivery right, and do it frequently enough to cut through the clutter, but not overwhelm recipients.

Tom Pierson, ACE
Tacoma-Pierce County (WA) Chamber

We recognize that technology evolves at a fast pace, and if we want to reach next generation of business leaders, we need to employ tools to communicate in the mediums that they are using. Our team uses a data-driven approach to measure these tools. We have integrated several digital and social media elements into our communications strategy, including video, Facebook Live, and Instagram stories. We have even begun creating Snapchat filters. Looking ahead, we are focusing on content marketing to provide value and relevance, and show that we are a resource for all businesses and the South Sound community.

Laura Perdew
Communications Director
Greater Irvine (CA) Chamber

Over the past year, our editorial content has greatly increased in response to a more outward-focused communications strategy. Our goal is to tell the story of the city’s assets and economic strengths under the guidance of the Irvine Master Plan set forth more than 60 years ago. Our target audiences are the local, national, and global business communities.

To meet this goal, we redesigned the communications department support staff from a position of developing visual content and technology support to one that assists with written content and media relations. We also have transitioned from an outside vendor to in-house staff to conduct our social media planning and execution. This allows us to be more responsive and develop mission-driven messaging that helps us meet our communication goals, as well as maintaining tighter control of our brand and voice.

In summary, we transitioned from inward-focused communications about the chamber to our membership, to an outward-focused strategy that aims to tell a broader audience about why Irvine is the ideal location for business.

Sherry Taylor
Mason Deerfield (OH) Chamber

We are currently in the process of revamping our communication strategy to be rooted in member and community storytelling. Historically, our communications have been focused solely on upcoming events, and we have been moving away from that over the past couple of years as our team has grown and we have been able to revamp our roles to meet changing needs. I believe what will make us successful is making it a written goal that the team is accountable for, with everyone playing a role in the process.

For example, we committed to one advocacy newsletter per month beginning in 2018 that is focused on educating our members on discussions happening at public meetings, recaps of our monthly roundtables with our elected officials, and upcoming connections opportunities. As a result, we have seen several members thank us for becoming a source of quality information in a realm that we all should be focused on as chambers, and we are seeing increased engagement from our members when it comes to advocacy efforts.

Chris Romer, IOM
Vail Valley (CO) Partnership

Our communication strategy in the upcoming years will evolve in two meaningful ways: 1) Segmentation and 2) “Yes, and.”

Segmentation will allow us to talk to niche markets on the areas of interest to them, and not overwhelm them with other information. It will allow us to be more impactful in our communication efforts.

“Yes, and” means that we’ll need to do what we’re doing now, AND do more. Yes, our communications will focus on email and social. And text messages, and messenger bots, and old-fashioned personal visits and notes and print, and new technology.

Bethany Wiekamp
Communications Manager
Greater Riverside (CA) Chambers

Our chamber is streamlining emails, printed newsletters, social media posts, brochures, surveys, and even printed correspondence to make it easier for a member to digest the value of our chamber.

Our communications will evolve and rely more heavily on statistics collected from emails, our website, social media, surveys, etc. in order to effectively measure and ensure our messaging resonates with members.

I also see surveys as an even bigger resource for member feedback and their high value need. These surveys can be tailored to each member and its specific business needs.

We rely on our W.A.C.E. Chamber Performance survey and internal survey results to gather feedback for specific messaging in our communications. What we think as chambers that our members want to hear is usually not the case.

Our communications strategy is geared toward sharing the value of membership with our members and that will not change. What will change is the delivery method. What keeps me on the edge of my seat is the ever-changing world of technology and how we can integrate the chamber’s value into modern communications strategies.

Technology is constantly changing and while I cannot tell you what will be different in five years, I can say that it will be different. It is important to always evolve your communications strategy over time. This does not mean a complete overhaul, but integrating small tweaks and avoiding a rigid plan keep yourself current.