“The University of Alberta Outdoors Club (UAOC) has been an active club on campus for 80 years. We offer a variety of outdoor trips, experiences, social events, educational opportunities, free equipment rentals, local retail discounts, and opportunity for the most experienced and inexperienced to challenge themselves in a variety of activities. ” – http://outdoorsclub.ca/about-the-uaoc/
When I joined the UAOC in 2016 the club had already gone through a number of iterations in terms of branding and club image. Being a student-run organization it usually relies on short student tenures in important roles including Marketing, Management, and Trip Leaders. I was elected to the student executive and served a two years tenure as “Social Media Manager.”
During my time we did a brand analysis with many feedback and focus group initiatives to determine what about the UAOC resonated with students. Through this, we were able to develop a branding strategy that focused our efforts on emerging social networks and engaging the existing student body.
In 2016 we engaged 44% more members to bring the total student membership to 968 members. That made us the largest student club on campus that year. We also became the highest engaged social media account with roughly 2,800 likes up 60% from the prior year.
In 2017 we signed up 1,048 members and grew our Facebook by 20% and developed an Instagram page that organically grew 600 people.
We made these massive gains despite little turn-over in the student body and rising fees to join (an increase from our 10$ fee to 15$). We found the student body extremely price sensitive with 38% of our member base citing the ‘fee increase’ as the reason they did not join again.
In my tenure, I also redeveloped the role of “Social Media Manager” into “Marketing Director” outlining the specifics of the brand and the importance of a cohesive image across all marketing strategies. I changed the role’s incentives and responsibilities to better reflect the club’s ever-changing brand and maintain it’s dominance as the largest student group on campus.