Over the past four weeks I've been involved in some pretty lengthly meetings as a group of us in Des Moines attempt to set up an 18 month Leadership Training Program which focuses on individuals in our community who range in age from 25 - 40. The process brings up some interesting questions in the arena of advertising and marketing.
Long ago...and sometimes it seems in another world...I served for a number of years in a leadership training organization known as The United States Junior Chamber of Commerce. I was fortunate enough to become president of the 14,000 member Iowa Junior Chamber and then spent two years in service to the national organization. Those 12+ years helped mold many skill sets and I continue to be grateful.
Ten years after I left that organization (it's an age based group) the Junior Chamber of Commerce became a mere shadow of what it was. The group, that had a standing invite to the White House, trained hundreds of thousands of young people world wide, had a fantastic office complex in Tulsa, maintained it's own "White House", held conventions in the major cities of the country and who saw leaders move on to remarkable positions is today headquartered near a strip mall in Tulsa. What happened?
While the organization always promoted individual development classes, the "pitch" was always about "community development programs". However, many of the younger people had moved from a focus on "the community" to a focus on "themselves". The Jaycees continued to push altruistic "community" and failed to see the new rush to "me".
Thankfully the group that has been meeting over the past month realized they needed to focus on establishing a program that has at it's core individual development with a secondary approach to community. The younger people on the panel made sure we heard them.
How about your business? Are you inviting your customers to the table to talk about your products or service? Do you engage in conversation with your target audience? Are your advertising materials changing to keep up with the ever fickle market?
Oh..the Jaycees? They are coming back after they resurrected their focus on individual development...and that's a good thing for the future of so many people.