By Rex Hammock
The history of a business or an association can too often get lost in the shuffle of time. The stories that define a company’s mission and values—its foundation—can be forgotten, leaving behind only photographs or myths about its founders and leaders.
This topic is on my mind today as Editorial Director Jamie Roberts and I are in Washington, D.C., where our client, the National Society Daughters of the Revolution (DAR) marked its 127th Continental Congress last night. For the past 16 years, we’ve had the rare opportunity to publish the organization’s magazine and, in the process, explore the association’s—and the nation’s—rich history. The stories that appear in American Spirit magazine and an accompanying newsletter bring history to life and keep relevant the organization’s service-oriented mission of promoting historic preservation, patriotism and education. The DAR constantly uses its publications to support the organization’s commitment to not only explore the past, but also to display its recognition of and relevance to the past, present and future.
But wait, there’s more. Last night, while Jamie attended the DAR Continental Congress opening ceremony, I attended the 75th anniversary gala of another client, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). The association of small business owners first became a client of ours in 1992. A year ago, they commissioned us to develop a series of video documentaries to debut on their anniversary.
Because it is impossible to tell a 75-year-old story in seven minutes, our video team developed a concept in which we focused on members whose family stories evoke the reason the organization began and has thrived. Finding these stories revealed to us how NFIB has remained committed to its early calling and grassroots approach that has made it one of the most powerful advocacy groups in Washington and all 50 states.
Sure, you can call it content marketing if you like. Branding, if you must. But these two organizations have taught me that telling relevant stories from the past that explain the importance of the present and future can be a uniquely powerful marketing approach that stands the test of time.
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