Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets How do your Activities Market your Message

How do your Activities Market your Message

As a community group or not-for-profit organisation, your actions will often end up speaking louder than words.

The public will scrutinise what you do, and will compare your actions to what the group stands for, the messages it conveys and the beliefs it holds.

If your actions don't match those messages/aims and beliefs, then it is likely to prompt some scepticism of your group in the public arena.

So when it comes to your group's activities, having them consistent with your group's aims and messages is a must; that way, not only are you backing up your words with actions, but you are also marketing those words - those messages - through your actions.

Your activities and your message

Maybe the most effective way to illustrate how your activities market your message - and how important it is that these activities fit with that message - is to provide a couple of examples.

Example 1:

Your regional football-netball club markets itself as a club that believes in participation, fair play and junior involvement.

If this is the case, your club should be looking at:
  • Becoming involved in, and staging, junior clinics to improve skills and attract new players.
  • Making sure players and parents adhere to fair play guidelines - both on the field or court and on the sidelines.
  • Entering football and netball teams in as many age groups as possible to ensure the maximum opportunities for participation for all.
Keeping your club's messages in mind, your activities - for example: recruiting drives, fundraisers, funding applications, clinics, advocacy work and other events - should be geared towards not only meeting any needs you might have, but marketing and spreading your key messages.

One way of doing this would be a sign or banner at your club's junior clinics, with a slogan like "supporting junior football and netball".

But what if an element of your club's activities stands in stark contrast to the messages you are trying to spread - for example, a brawl involving players or some occasions of "ugly parent syndrome" at the sidelines?

This is when your club's actions need to be in strong support of its messages. It could:
  • Hold a full inquiry into the incident.
  • Consider a club-imposed suspension or ban for the players involved, or ban the parent/s in question from attending matches.
  • Look at counselling for those involved, and importantly.
  • Reiterate the club's stance on fair play when taking these actions.
By taking these actions, and making sure these actions are public, your club is backing up its words and its messages with actions.

Example 2:

Your school is one which seeks to market the messages of academic excellence, respect for others (particularly students), healthy minds and bodies and a well-rounded lifestyle including outside interests.

If these are the sorts of attitudes that your school is keen on marketing to the wider community, there are a number of activities you should be looking at:
  • Ensuring students have access to a wide variety and range of subjects.
  • Ensuring there are programs, courses or options in place to encourage health and fitness.
  • Making sure that outside interests are encouraged to take on extra-curricular activities, or even having the school cater for those interests through its own after-school or weekend activities.
Again, keeping your messages in mind when looking at the activities you undertake - for example, fundraisers, courses, supporting activities outside the school (or school hours), work in the community, performances, etc - should see your school look towards meeting its needs as well as marketing and spreading its key messages.

Ways of doing this might include:
  • Rewards and recognition for academic excellence.
  • A well-rounded curriculum - and one that is marketed to prospective students, their parents, and the community - as such.
  • A keenness for the school to be involved in extra-curricular activities - for example, entering a team in the local cricket competition, or holding art, drama or singing classes one night after school.
  • Having a healthy selection of foods at the canteen, or a "breakfast club" for students, to encourage good eating and good health.
But if something were to happen in breach of these messages - a problem in regards to taunts or bullying that goes against your school's key message of "respect for others" - then your school needs to back up its words and messages with actions.

You could look at:
  • Stating to the school community through a newsletter or bulletin (while respecting the privacy of the students involved) that this has occurred, reiterating that it is unacceptable, and action is being taken to address the situation.
  • Provide guidance or counselling to those involved, and look at any disciplinary action that may be necessary.
  • Ensure the school community - and outsiders, if it is appropriate - know the action that has been taken. At the same time, restate the school's stance on bullying; communicating the themes of student respect that your school values.
Again, it is important not only to take any action necessary to address the situation, but to be seen by the community to be doing so.

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