How we became an award-winning chamber

How we became an award-winning chamber

July 27, 2016 3:15 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

We’re owed a good news story.  One that demonstrates how we love and unite with Europe, even outside the EU.

Three JCI Manchester members recently travelled to Tampere, Finland, to join 2,000 other JCI members for the European Convention.

It was a packed few days, meeting new friends, creating new ideas and sipping new award-winning gins.  We drew great value from the workshops, the high-profile speakers and, yes, even the pricey Scandinavian drinks!

The highlights for Manchester were winning a European award for our efforts in growing the chamber, and our member Ilona Alcock coming a narrow second in the European public speaking competition with two show-stopping speeches.

How did we earn our award?  I knew you’d ask.  I joined JCI Manchester in 2010, when there were only a handful of members.  Now our events are sell-outs.

It’s right to consider that six-year timeframe, because that’s the key to growing our chamber.  It took a few years: various teams but an unbroken campaign.

Before we could build our brand, we had to ensure that our events were of high quality, advertised well in advance, and hardly ever cancelled.  We managed to attract good board members (competent, proactive and already well-networked) with the challenge of growing a chamber.

Our young talent awards are now in their seventh year and have been terrific in raising brand awareness and media coverage.  Our themed socials have always been popular: great for networking, and they get people through the doors, to be introduced to our personal development and charity projects.

Then came our brand growth.  Social media helped (mainly Twitter for us) but the most powerful tool remains human contact.  A good reputation for events travelled out by word of mouth, and we were successful at engaging corporate partners from Manchester’s young professionals community, keen to extend their networks.

Our final tips if you’re trying to grow an enterprise (with hardly any budget!):

  1. Get some training on how to write press releases.  (JCI ran a seminar on this last year.)  A good press release has to be succinct, open with key details, and then tell a good story.  Include quotes.

  2. Blitz the free media – blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook.  Keep it on brand, but also fresh, punchy, personal and interesting.  Otherwise it’ll get lost in the noise.

  3. Make your own luck.  Get to events where your ideal customers would be.  Talk to everyone, positively and helpfully.  Before long you’ll be in the right place at the right time.

  4. Nurture any media contacts.  They love to be invited places for free!

  5. Surround yourself with good people.  People who want to muck in.  Point them at what makes them passionate – everything else can be learnt.

So our growth has been a long-term project.  And it’s taken effort.  But I’ve developed so much on that journey, made friends all over the UK and internationally, and capped it all off with a European award.  Plenty to blow away the news blues.


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This post was written by makedo

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