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Master communicators.

They prove there is an art and science to getting messages across.

Being a master communicator means informing--and, perhaps, persuading--people in a way that makes others wish they had thought of the idea first. That successful, that creative, that good. Showcased here is a selection from the award-winning submissions in the 1992 Gold Circle competition, sponsored by ASAE's Communication Section.

TOTAL COMMUNICATION PROGRAM Trophy

TREASURY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION, BETHESDA, MARYLAND (revenue of $2 million or more)

In 1990, in the wake of two consecutive deficit years totaling nearly $1 million, the Treasury Management Association (TMA) adopted a mission and strategic plan to restrengthen the organization. Along with stabilizing its financial standing, the association needed to re-instill member confidence. To support these efforts, TMA established a total communication plan, which included these components:

* Communicate the strategic plan to members.

* Implement a new market pricing policy.

* Communicate the need for TMA to increase dues by 56 percent.

* Communicate the value of moving headquarters to the Washington, D.C., area.

* Improve the customer service responsiveness of staff.

With the help of its total communication program, TMA closed its 1992 fiscal year with a record revenue surplus of more than $1 million. According to Margaret Yao Pursell, director of communications, the surplus was attributed mainly to increases in membership and conference registrations "and a record-breaking number of exhibitors in 1992."

Much of this success can be attributed to the professionalism used in communicating program fee increases and raised dues. The dues increase, for instance, was preceded by four monthly newsletter articles addressing the value of TMA membership and examining association costs.

PR/INFORMATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR A SINGLE PURPOSE Trophy

VISION COUNCIL OF AMERICA, ROSSLYN, VIRGINIA (revenue of less than $2 million)

One of the goals of the Vision Council of America when it was formed by eye wear manufacturers was to work with eye care professionals on expanding the market for optical services. This goal soon proved difficult, as VICA found discord among ophthalmologists, opticians, and optometrists. VICA realized the importance of finding consensus among the "three O's" on key eye care issues to establish its credibility within the industry. Research revealed that the three O's shared little common ground, except in one market segment: children. And consumer research indicated reluctance on the part of parents to take children for eye exams. Thus, VICA decided to focus on children and developed a three-year national program, "The ABC's of Eyecare," promoting Annual Back-to-school Checkups. A free "ABC's" program kit for eye care professionals included a 20-page guidebook of practice-building tools. The kit featured a guide for distribution by eye care professionals to teachers and school nurses; it included lesson plans for teaching children about vision.

VICA distributed nearly 12,000 kits. The results: increased eye care for children, expanded pediatric practices, and credibility for VICA among eye care professionals and the public.

TOTAL CONVENTION COMMUNICATION Trophy

HEALTHCARE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION, WESTCHESTER, ILLINOIS (revenue of $2 million or more)

A successful communication and marketing strategy brought the Healthcare Financial Management Association beyond the goal line with its 1992 national convention. HFMA had hoped to bring in revenue of $801,882 through 1,350 registrations; but the association surpassed these totals with 1,382 registrations, translating into $886,782 in revenue. A significant portion of this achievement is attributed to an effective collection of conference promotions, all incorporating a cartoon graphic theme and a convincing message.

The message focused on the main reasons members attend: education, career, and networking. The promotional pieces communicated that both the employee and the employer would benefit from the employee's attendance.

To encourage early registration, HFMA developed a four-page version of the convention brochure with a registration form that could be faxed to hot leads before the brochure was printed. This clever use of the fax machine worked: HFMA brought in approximately 110 registrations two months early--$64,000 in revenue.

ONE-TIME PUBLICATIONS Certificate

EDISON ELECTRIC INSTITUTE, WASHINGTON, D.C. (revenue of $2 million or more)

How do you get people to peruse a pamphlet about something as unexciting as electricity? You blend contemporary design with bright, eye-catching graphics to guide readers through well-written information and end with excellent printing. This was the strategy used by the Edison Electric Institute in developing its award-winning publication 30 Key Facts About Electricity and Electric Utilities.

EEI, which represents the investor-owned electric utility industry, produced the pamphlet to help utility customers make wise decisions about electricity use. The pamphlet was also intended to help customers understand the important role played by their local investor-owned electric companies in the local and national economies.

Because the text contains numerous statistics, the design of the pamphlet was critical to readability. To counter the heavy nature of the subject matter, EEI employed colorful, bold, and simple graphics and a good amount of white space. The result was an inviting publication.

The association sells the pamphlets to its member companies, which distribute them to customers. According to EEI's director of creative services, Susan Clark, it's apparent that the members think this publication will appeal to the public, because members have been buying 30 Key Facts at quite a high rate in comparison to EEI's other publications: approximately 1,000 per month.

MEDIA AND SALES KITS Certificate

SHOE SERVICE INSTITUTE OF AMERICA, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND (revenue of less than $2 million)

Getting overlooked in the crowd of materials typically crossing a media buyer's desk is one problem that plagues many media kits. Another is too little information. The Shoe Service Institute of America (SSIA) created a kit that deserves an award for its attention-getting presentation and its inclusion of everything a buyer needs to make a decision about advertising in Shoe Service magazine.

Shoe Service advertisers are manufacturers and importers of shoe repair products. The message SSIA's media kit sends to these professionals is convincing: Shoe Service readers have purchasing power, and they use the magazine to help make purchasing decisions.

Besides the effective message and the presentation, the production of the media kit is impressive. Due to a limited budget, staff conducted the readership surveys and developed most of the sales materials. The project costs came to $7,000: $6,000 to print 1,000 kits, $500 for the survey, and $500 for a free-lance artist to design the folder.

The return on this investment was great. Shoe Service grossed $194,000 in advertising revenue during the year the new media kit was used, a $17,000 increase over the previous year. The kit helped entice 20 new advertisers into the fold.

BLUE SKY Trophy

GREATER BUFFALO CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU, NEW YORK (revenue of $2 million or more)

Three million dollars was the prize when the Greater Buffalo Convention and Visitors Bureau entered the competition for the International Institute of Municipal Clerks' (IIMC) 1997 convention. That's the economic impact the convention would have on Buffalo if the bureau succeeded in its marketing efforts.

To attempt to beat the competition, which included such cities as Los Angeles, St. Paul, and Montreal, the Greater Buffalo CVB implemented an imaginative and ground-breaking direct mail campaign.

The campaign included four phases of mail to keep Buffalo on the minds of the convention site decision makers. The first mailing contained a stuffed buffalo and the first verse of "The Buffalo Song." The second one contained a chocolate chicken wing, plus two song verses. The third mailing included a buffalo paper-weight and three verses. Completing the mail campaign was an audiotape of the song recorded by the convention bid team.

The night before the formal bid presentation, the CVB hosted a dinner reception for the IIMC board, and the bid team performed "The Buffalo Song." The song-and-dance routine was a hit, and the overall campaign was a success. Buffalo won the convention nod, furthering the CVB's mission of enhancing the local economy by marketing conventions.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:awardees of the 1992 Gold Circle competition
Publication:Association Management
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Words:1308
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