I’ve just returned from speaking at the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) meeting in Malaysia this week. Seeing a country like Malaysia was so exciting and makes me feel like the world is a much smaller place than it seems at times. Jimmy Nelson, a British photographer, was one of the terrific keynote speakers who shared amazing stories about how he photographed tribes in the most remote places on earth like the one in this photo, which he photographed in.Indonesia. Throughout his experiences, an overriding theme emerges: the human connection. At the end of the day, we are all so similar that we just need to take a step back and take an empathetic approach and simply give people the connection they are seeking.

In the association industry, we talk about connections all the time – the member experience, the meeting experience, engagement, etc. It comes down to knowing your audience well enough to connect with them in a variety of ways. If you think about it, associations are much like tribes: we group together in common interests, professions, and industries for a greater good, a common focus, a mission. Marketing is just one  tool to connect it all together in creative, human ways.  And because people change and grow and switch directions, an agile approach to marketing provides the flexibility to adapt.