Last month I attended the Vélo Canada Bikes National Bike Summit in Ottawa, Canada. I serve on the Board of Directors for the International Mountain Bicycling Association Canada (IMBA Canada), where I also chair our Communications Committee, leading our communications strategy.
The conference was well attended by a diverse mix of organizations. Cycling advocates were on hand from nearly every province, 18 corporations directly involved in the bike industry sent delegates, representatives from Canada’s high-performance cycling program attended, we met with members of parliament, and heard from researchers digging into how to help spread enthusiasm and participation in cycling. It was an excellent opportunity to build relationships that are going to help unify cycling and cyclists in Canada, each of us making connections outside our typical circles that helped open to eyes to new ways to approach our own work, and how we can collaborate to greater effect.
One of the things I heard most often during the conference was how often different organizations struggled to tell their own story. Even corporate representatives from industry heavyweights talked about how they wanted to better present their narrative. It’s a pretty common refrain that I hear any time I speak with others about their businesses, no matter the industry, and the communications gap comes down to a few key factors.
- Communications isn’t the core of the business. Every business whose core work isn’t communication started over an enthusiasm for something else. Bike companies get started by bike-loving engineers, fabricators, mad scientists. Advocacy groups form around passion for a certain cause. Researchers get into the nitty gritty of data analysis and studying one facet of their field. Rarely is time made to develop communication in order to generate more support for their work because they’re understandably too busy doing the core work. This is often because….
- Communication value is underestimated. The capacity of good communications strategy to amplify every aspect of their business is underestimated. The reality is that communications and marketing have changed businesses entirely. The right campaign can help a business or cause take off, while a poorly devised campaign can prove disastrous.
If you’re someone who isn’t steeped in communications and marketing experience, you have options. You can work on your skills in this area so that you can better tell your story. It’s always a good idea to practice communications skills – they’re never a bad investment.
You can also work with professionals who eat, breathe, and sleep on this sort of stuff. We understand how to relate to the outside world, and if we’re any good, we’ll work to make sure we understand your business in great detail so we can make it most appealing to the people you’re trying to reach.
With IMBA Canada, I started a communications-based membership drive. The response has been so strong, we’ve already outdone goals we previously thought were too aggressive, so we’re setting new goals and adjusting our strategy to even greater effect. Our strategy isn’t complicated, nor difficult to implement. We’re making use of our existing core work to form the basis of how we tell our story, amplifying our reach. The results have been great.
If you’re looking to get your word out, if you’ve ever struggled with the reality that you know you’re not telling your story in the way you’d like, or if your story is being told by others outside of your organization, why not make a change. Get in touch to discuss how Dean Campbell Editorial can help you amplify your business.