Once Upon a Time on a Friday Afternoon in July…

By Jennifer Nix-McGerald, CPSM, Cardno, Inc.

The incoming 2015-2016 SMPS Tampa Bay Chapter President, Chaz Brueggemann, invited board members, past and present, to her office for a brainstorming session to strategize and plan for the upcoming year.

It was a Friday afternoon, there was food…there was wine…the ideas were flowing.

The questions posed to the group: What compels people to join? What compels them to stay? What do they want? How do we get and keep them engaged? SMPS Tampa Bay has had a pretty consistent membership, a steady incoming and outgoing of members, but more on that in the next chapter.

All of those questions can be easily summarized into one: What’s in it for them?

We all pondered and discussed, but it was clear that SMPS Tampa Bay struggled to clearly and consistently answer that question. We all knew the SMPS mission – to advocate for, educate, and connect members in the building industry. How well was our chapter living up to that mission and demonstrating value to current and future members, as well as the local architecture, engineering and construction (A/E/C) community at large?

Go ahead and laugh, we did. The group had voiced the challenge, but what was the solution? Someone, I’m not going to name any names, came up with the idea of a campaign. A re-introduction of SMPS to the Tampa Bay A/E/C community, if you will.

The idea was out there but what does that really mean? How do we communicate the identity and purpose of SMPS Tampa Bay?

My phone buzzed, it was a text message from the other Jennifer in the room. A couple of text messages later and suddenly I’m co-chairing a committee with Jennifer Stutts, Director of Communications, Marketing and Strategy at RS&H.

The task? To create an image campaign. Piece of cake right? I’ll let you read on to determine that.

Over the course of several blog posts, we’ll take a peek behind the curtain and share with you how SMPS Tampa Bay’s “Navigate Success: Learn, Connect, Grow” came to be…and “what’s in it for you?” 

Jenni Nix McGerald, CPSM, provides marketing communications and business development support for Cardno, Inc.’s Utility Engineering & Surveying Area. Cardno is a full-service civil, social infrastructure and environmental engineering firm.

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