What we want to communicate to our target market is first and foremost that, as a national association, our brand is about their experience when dealing with us. We will deliver the benefits we promise, add value to what we offer and deal with any problems through follow-up and outstanding customer service. At first glance, this appears to be an easy message to convey. However, as a federation of engineering regulators, we do not have direct access to the 280,000 individual engineering professionals across Canada. This creates problems both at the provincial level and with implementing new programs and services which do not fit major suppliers’ business models.
As an association, our greatest flaw has been the inability to connect with the younger generation of engineers; we have not yet focused on communicating effectively with our ‘ideal’ customer base. Because of this, one of our challenges revolves around the aging population base of engineers who participate in our programs and services, with no substantial increase in younger participants.
The association needs to become the go-to place for anything an engineering professional would want: guidance, legal advice, personal and professional insurance, and other services. With the creation of three new vice-president positions, staffed by forward thinking women, as well as a lawyer, our association is ready to face its latest challenge. With these new thinkers came an acknowledgement of the importance of the perception that our association can meet the needs of engineers from graduation to retirement. This is being worked on in two ways: generational affiliations and content that everyone can relate to.
A new approach to marketing began one year ago, taking into account feedback from three different focus groups: Generation Y, Baby Boomers and foreign trained engineers. These groups taught us many things, including presenting information on programs in clear, graph-like formats so that the message can be understood at a glance; the most important take-away, in our view, was the affinity between Gen Y and Boomers.
Our new approach to promote our brand is to use Boomers to relay messaging to attract Gen Y to the suite of products offered by our association. Boomers and Gen Y face remarkably similar challenges; boomers have concerns about finding purpose in retirement after decades of being defined by their work. In parallel, the Gen Y generation is searching for its own identity in a world of uncertainty, and struggling to get a foot into the job market. Both have a growing sense of the need to create memories and experiences, as opposed to needing materialistic things.
Taking this into account, we began a series of interviews with baby boomers who eagerly share parts of their life stories and also speak about the assistance they received over the course of their life time from our association. Full interviews are a click away from the advertorial-style clips and anyone listening is welcome to contact the story tellers for more information and/or share their own story.
Our story telling will encompass messages with content that appeal in some way to everyone. According to the Content Marketing Institute there are 21 types of content we all crave. The following are some of the types of content we will use to effectively tell our story:
- Dreams can come true
- You matter
- There is more
- Fresh points of view about common things
- Inspiration to take action
- Education through entertainment
- Encouragement to never give up.
We are hopeful our new approach to telling our association’s story will help garner the attention and interest of a younger generation of engineers to our brand so that we can successfully continue to deliver the benefits we promise, add value to what we offer and provide an outstanding customer experience to them and their families.