by Matt Mattson
Absolutely nobody ever joined nothing, so you’ll never convince anyone what you’re not.
(That first sentence might take a couple read-throughs before it makes sense. But like some sort of Zen proverb, the more you read it, the more it will matter to you.)
Here’s the point. Great marketing doesn’t normally feature what you’re NOT. Nike didn’t get great by saying they were NOT REEBOK. They became something else. They created shoes, clothing, and a lifestyle for people. They were positive, not negative. People don’t buy Coke because it’s not Pepsi — it’s because they’re Coke people.
So what are you? What is your organization about? What are you trying to accomplish? What are you FOR?
[WATCH THIS VIDEO FOR A COOL EXAMPLE OF WHAT I MEAN]
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a lot of stuff on social media from fraternities and sororities about what they’re NOT. “We’re not [a stereotype, hazers, drunks, dumb, sexual assaulters, bitches, douches, buying our friends, racist, sexist, homophobic, hegemonic, etc.]!” we shout.
So, what are you?
I was at a campus a while ago — it was a branch campus, not the “flagship” school in the state, and they took pride in not being like those obnoxious Greeks at the big school down the road. But when I asked, “So if you’re not those ‘big school Greeks,’ what are you?” they were a little stumped.
It makes us feel better to do marketing that reinforces what we believe we’re not. But it doesn’t inspire or enchant anyone new to want to be a part of what we’re doing.
An undergraduate sorority leader said to me not long ago, “It’s almost like saying we’re not a stereotype has become our new stereotype.” That is very true, unfortunately.
You have to be about something. You have to be for something. You have to be doing something.
What’s your story? What’s the single, compelling, and consistently-reinforced story your members tell the world about your organization?
Is it interesting? Is it inspiring? Is it captivating, fascinating, or ensorceling?
Or is it predictable? (Hint: “Leadership, Scholarship, Service, Brotherhood/Sisterhood,” or some variation of that, couldn’t possibly be more predictable. Don’t get me started on “GO GREEK!”)
My favorite quote from the marketing world is, “Your brand is not the story you tell about yourself, it’s the story other people tell about you.”
So maybe I should be asking a different question, “What is the story you hope other people are telling about your organization as a result of your organization’s marketing, recruitment, and operational choices?”
Smart, discerning, “high quality” student leaders aren’t interested in groups that aren’t going anywhere. They want your organization to BE ABOUT SOMETHING!
Great teams have great coaches. Who is coaching your team toward achieving your growth goals?
Recruitment (not to mention marketing, new member onboarding, and retention) are all highly specialized parts of the fraternity/sorority experience. Most people didn’t join a “recruitment club,” they joined a sisterhood or a brotherhood, and that means that the recruitment part of the experience doesn’t come naturally for most of our members. We’ve seen this come true for years — recruitment coaching is a key component to an organization’s long-term success.
At Phired Up, we believe that one of the 7 Indicators of a High Performing Growth System is Growth Coaching. Without positioning an advisor, a Phired Up expert, or some other professional as a long-term well-trained growth coach, an organization will almost always experience a high level of inconsistency. Our Phired Up team has been coaching fraternity/sorority headquarters staff and volunteers for years, and this premium service for headquarters remains in high demand because it delivers consistent, predictable, and above-industry-average growth results. We know that every chapter, every inter/national organization, and every council should have its own coach who is trained in the highly specialized skill sets that drive recrutiment results.
We train advisors to be coaches.
We coach headquarters professionals.
We coach inter/national volunteers.
We coach individual chapters.
We coach council and community leaders.
At Phired Up we believe in coaching as a vital ingredient in long-term growth. We are proud that our team of coaches, consultants, and recruiters are some of the most engaged, knowledgeable, and experienced professioanls available. But whether you engage us or find some other way to consume growth coaching, we know that your team deserves a coach that believes in you, challenges you, and helps you succeed at the highest level possible.
To learn more about growth coaching services from Phired Up, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your Phired Up representative.