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Conversations Spark Member Engagement

Conversations Spark Member Engagement

The five best words you can hear a member say are, "That's interesting. Tell me more."

When you get a member to say, "That's interesting. Tell me more," you have captured their attention. They are listening and responding. They are having a conversation, and this is powerful.

Conversations make your brand sticky!

Every association has an opportunity to engage its members in conversation, and it's wildly effective. A conversation is a powerful marketing tool because it's how you form relationships with your members.


Conversations Lead to Relationships

Human connections are becoming even more valuable as the association market shifts. Across North America, associations are facing a seismic shift, and it's generational. Baby boomers join associations, millennials join communities.

Trying to engage the next generation with traditional value propositions and campaigns is losing relevance. Instead, build bridges with conversations.

A conversation is one of the most human ways to form a relationship. It helps transition your brand from a stranger to a friend to a member. And that two-way dialogue accelerates the process by helping you get to know one another. This makes your brand more likable.

Even better, conversations work across every generation.


Use Brand Storylines to Spark Conversations

It gets pretty boring if all you talk about is yourself. The same is true for associations. Engage your members with Brand Storylines.

A Brand Storyline is a communication device to engage your members in a conversation.

Brand Storylines are unique because they are not just conversations about the weather or sports, nor are they one-sided pitches promoting your brand. They are conversations carefully crafted to engage your marketplace and keep your brand top of mind.

Brand Storylines are effective marketing tools because they are crafted to connect conversations to your brand.

A Brand Storyline has three fundamental elements:


  1. Expertise: It's a topic that you and your team know well, and it draws from your association's core expertise.
  2. Strong Opinions: It's a topic your association and your members are passionate about. You can take a stance and boldly share your opinions.
  3. Point of Sharing: The topic resonates with both members and non-members alike, and it encourages others to participate in the conversation.


The three elements function as a three-legged stool. A Brand Storyline is unsustainable if any one of the elements is missing. For example, Strong Opinions without Expertise is a rant. Expertise without Strong Opinions is boring. And without a Point of Sharing you're talking to yourself.


Get Members to Say, "That's Interesting. Tell Me More."

You know your Brand Storylines are working when you hear members say, "That's interesting. Tell me more."

Those five words reveal so much. You can see the storyline is resonating. It transitions the member from being a passive receiver of marketing messages to an active participant. It engages them with your brand, and it motivates them to ask questions.

Conversations lead to relationships. Any time you get a member to say, "That's interesting. Tell me more," you have an opportunity to grow the relationship. And with each interaction you reinforce your association's brand and make it more likable.



Jeremy Miller is a brand strategist, keynote speaker, and the bestselling author of Sticky Branding. Jeremy helps companies develop brilliant strategies to market their businesses and grow their brands. He is an inspirational keynote speaker. His blend of humor, stories, and actionable ideas will inspire you to innovate and grow a Sticky Brand. For more information visit www.stickybranding.com.



Jeremy's CSAE National Conference 2017 session, Spark Engagement: Conversations Makes Brands Sticky, is on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. He talks about what organizations need to do to get their audiences to engage successfully with their brand identity.



Jeremy Miller, Membership, Communications, CSAE National Conference 2017, Branding


Guest Contributor, Communications



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  • Thanks Sarah! Is your association using conversations to engage its members? One of the non-profit brands that I admire is Days For Girls. They are a NGO focused on women's health in developing countries. Basically, the organization empowers groups around the world to create reusable menstruation kits. Baked into the vision of the brand is a Brand Storyline, "What would you do with five extra days every month?" The premise is by providing girls proper hygiene and education they are helping them reclaim 5 days per month of their life. It's a neat twist on an old idea and gets people to say, "That's interesting. Tell me more." DfG also uses vignettes effectively to engage people in conversation: - Girls are dropping out of school at two times the rate of boys starting at puberty in Kenya - One out of three girls in South Asia knew nothing about menstruation prior to getting their first period These are shocking stats, but they draw people in, trigger conversations, and provide a reason to participate in the cause. -Jeremy
    6/8/2017 10:11:49 AM Reply
  • Thanks for writing this Jeremy. Is there an association with a strong brand story line you would recommend we see as an example? Thank you,
    6/6/2017 4:22:40 PM Reply

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