Memory is based on Repetition. By repeated exposure to an idea, we strengthen the memory that is associated with it. If one does not semi-frequently repeat it, it will become forgotten. Repetition is the building block of school and of advertisement. However, despite all that, Repetition is the wrong way to keep people interested in your ideas.

The danger of Repetition is stagnation. Let’s take your average hobbyist association – their members share a common interest. That is the one guarantee for all members. But only focusing on that interest doesn’t mean that your members will stay consistently engaged. They will eventually get bored with the information offered to them.

What is more important than Repetition is Rhythm. Rhythm is defined as a combination of elements repeated, but with variations. Variations in your messaging are important – they can reach a greater swath of your members than a narrow focus, they unearth hidden commonalities between members if they generate excitement, they keep the organization from getting stale and can attract members – especially younger members.


Identify the Pattern

There must be consistency in your message. Identifying the overarching pattern is key. What can you always agree is important to your members? In many ways, this is similar to the core purpose of an association or company. The pattern of information/content/communication that is identified as the group bedrock forms the basis of the Rhythm experienced by members. From a technological perspective, you can even use software that aids this task by collecting and synthesizing all the information that has been stored by you and using it to form associations that are human-readable and understandable.

Don’t Be Afraid of Wildcards

John Lydgate – protege of Geoffrey Chaucer, author of The Canterbury Tales – memorialized the following saying – “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” It is a Sisyphean task to have no errors in your content, especially if your organization is willing to change it up. These missteps are as equally important as the successes. Your members provide feedback that can guide your organization to better serve them – a key ingredient to a successful association.

Plan for Change

In the end, this approach will cause your organization to change over time. How will you approach and embrace that change? It may require updating updating old content or even getting rid of your org’s previous work to fit with what needs to happen NOW. From a technological perspective, data analysis tools are extremely helpful in achieving that. Cutting edge tools are now using AI to read and collect your data for you, leaving you with a simple to understand outcome. Companies like Anodot and Databricks – the creators of Adobe Spark – are the first wave of what will eventually become the industry standard.