How membership organisations are evolving their digital identity

Businesses are reviewing their communication methods and evolving their online identities in order to bridge the gap that social distancing has created.

Prior to Covid-19 membership bodies would have carefully curated messages for their websites and social media platforms that portrayed their core values, purpose and mission. While it’s more important than ever to keep those principles to the fore, the need to ensure members feel supported and included at this time means that organisations are having to deliver quickly and use different tools to convey messages and information.

The style of communication on social media has changed enormously. We are regularly hearing from CEOs live from their lounges, learning from quickly scheduled responsive webinars and sharing information on social media more than ever. Knowledge sharing has becoming truly democratised for professional membership organisations, with members of all levels engaging and sharing.

Our desire to socialise and connect means that membership bodies are in a unique position to be able to offer a sense of belonging that has always been present at their core. The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is an example of how a shift in the tone of communications has ensured members feel supported during a time where many have seen their working lives transform overnight. From a very personal address from CEO Alastair McCapra to outreach from CIPR’s benevolence charity provision and a deferred payment scheme for independent practitioners, its message is clear. It understands and is available to help its community.

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is an international organisation, with members from 96 countries worldwide. STEP runs over 500 events each year and networking is a key part of its member offering, alongside training and CPD. The organisation was quick to innovate, building virtual conferences, moving training courses online and developing a global Covid-19 technical hub. Bringing concise content together in one place and delivering it across its social media platforms and e-newsletters has ensured STEP can continue to be as relevant and invaluable to practitioners as it was before the crisis.

It’s fair to say that the rule book has been torn up, traditional approaches have been challenged and we can enjoy more freedom in how we engage online. It feels more human, more real and more collaborative, and certainly begs the question: Is this the way we should always work? 


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