It Takes More Than a Sharp Flyer

The Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce has until recently, operated under very traditional chamber standards. In 2018, it was evident that some drastic changes needed put in place to remain relevant to their business community.

  • Feeling Relevant 25% 25%
  • Traditional 95% 95%
  • Willingness to Evolve 98% 98%

Challenge

As the market for business networking continued to broaden, the Chamber was finding a greater competition for building up and retaining membership, which was a major factor in operational budgeting. Additionally, within a six-month timeframe, recruitment for a new executive director was to commence and clear direction was imperative for that new hire to have a strong start.

Approach

Making change required taking a comprehensive look at brand fundamentals and an open mind from the organization’s leadership. By working with the interim executive director to build a town hall and focus groups, we could determine themes in what was important to members. We cross referenced that information with outcomes of a discovery session with leadership. After additional research and analysis, we could build a brand strategy that was both accurate and attainable.

Outcome

With defined strategic pillars of the organization, the Chamber has a better scope to work within as it makes day-to-day decisions. Programming plans were strengthened by reducing and refining offerings; complementing them with intentionally personalized networking. Clear positioning was a great launch into new signature programming that is exemplary of all four strategic pillars and a source for non-membership revenue. The brand strategy gives a clear pathway for the incoming executive director to implement, allowing their time to be dedicated to building relationships over solving puzzles.

For me it was the fact that it’s difficult to move forward strategically if an organization can’t articulate its direction. The exercise with Hoyden helped take all of the planning and work done over the last several years that was meant to redefine the chamber…and articulate it as a plan for moving forward. It helped move us from planning to action.

Ashley Hutchison

President of the Board of Directors, Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce