As one of the largest chapters of a premier global business network active in more than 50 countries, EO Chicago needed best-in-class communications.

Challenge

The organization wanted to entice members to attend programming and highlight the value of an EO membership, so the incoming Chicago chapter president turned to Guerrero Howe to expand its communications efforts. Up to that point, the chapter’s communications were sporadic, and event branding was inconsistent. Emails often didn’t go out on schedule, resulting in unpredictable attendance at events, or worse, lack of awareness of events in the first place.

Solution

Our team worked with the executive director of the chapter to customize a plan that suited its specific needs. First, our teams collaborated to create a custom print publication that showcased board members, upcoming local and national events, and first-hand interviews with members. The same bold branding was used, alongside images of Chicago, and the book was delivered to members and prospective members in a custom-designed mailer.

Second, our design team conceptualized an updated look and feel for EO Chicago. We took existing national branding guidelines and design elements and elevated them with a bold color scheme, type suite, and city imagery that communicates the chapter’s vibrant business goals. All communications and event collateral for the year displayed the design concept first introduced in the member guide.

The next step was streamlining the communications. We created a schedule of communications that would regularly engage members and promote upcoming events in a timely manner. Editorial standards were implemented as well, to ensure a consistent voice across all digital and print communications. Finally, our staff executed on the communications schedule according to plan.

Outcome

The collaboration has paid off. Attendance at events in the 2016-2017 year has increased, and many events, like the one featuring a talk with Girl and the Goat chef Stephanie Izard, were at capacity as a result. Collins knows that the custom book alone will not sustain event attendance, which is why the email campaigns have been such a strong component of the chapter’s communication success.

After implementing Guerrero Howe’s communications plan, EO Chicago’s email open rates rose to 45.8%, well above the industry average of 21.65%. “What’s most valuable to me is that members have a trusted way of receiving information about our programming,” Collins says. “My favorite part is when I first click open the email. All our information is presented in a creative, focused way, and it’s just beautiful. I would never be able to produce something like this on my own.”

Rom LaPointe, an EO member, was with Jim Taylor, president of EO Chicago, when Taylor saw the custom book for the first time. “We were at an EO global leadership conference in Bangkok,” LaPointe remembers. “Jim couldn’t wait to show me the book—it was all our events in one place, designed beautifully. And since we were at the global conference, we ended up showing it to everyone.”

“We saw the custom book as an opportunity to increase value for the members,” says Dawn Collins, executive director of the chapter. “As membership costs rise, we want to make sure they understand the increased opportunities and programs we offer. Putting all the events, chapter statistics, and other resources in one place was a great way to showcase that value. My copy of the book is completely beat up because I take it everywhere.”