Dear LHSA Members,
I hope all of you are enjoying the summer months and finding time to vacation and/or use your favorite Leica gear!
In past articles, you have heard me talk about many topics including:
All of this is with the intent to achieve what Anthony Lane wrote in a piece in the New Yorker in 2007 entitled The Cult of Leica. He writes about the history of the Leica Brand, the storytelling aspects of the imagery, the famous players who used Leica gear, and the insane passion that we have for that little piece of gear that when snapped, “makes a photograph that sounds like a kiss.”
Your leadership team has been listening, living and learning from these paradigm shifts in marketing and we are reacting with bold steps to remain relevant in our space. We have spent the last several years transforming this Society into a member-infused culture that creates engaging experiences and reaches out to our Leica USA/AG friends and Leica dealers as we work together to mutually advance our Leica community. We will continue to push ourselves to provide exclusivity, education, historical perspectives, and to be that trusted source of information for all things Leica.
A few years ago, I wrote an article in the Viewfinder under the title Changing Times. In it, I described myself metaphorically as standing on two diverging railroad tracks doing the splits. This referred to having to cater to our existing members – perceived as old guys with old camera’s, and the younger generation who has different needs and experiences. Nothing has changed! We are still in the thick of that changing dynamic and we are still reacting to those changing landscapes with our resources and volunteerism.
There are some pertinent discussions about behavior that can guide our thinking and messaging as we go forward. The job of any good persuader/communicator is figuring out what people want and what motivates them to make the choices they make. In other words, effective persuasion leverages people’s inherent beliefs – it doesn’t change or control them. The money is in telling people they’re right about their perceptions and to keep doing what they’re doing – preferably with LHSA. Consumers buy stuff that is not really about the stuff itself, but rather about what it gives them. For example, men don’t want a razor, they want the look of a clean shave.
Consumers are really on a personal journey trying to get from their selves, or who they think they are, to their ideal selves. And, we are all at different places along our personal journeys. So, LHSA must be positioned to provide what they want at different points along their journey. We need to ask, who is that potential member, what are they trying to get closer to, and how are we aligned to accomplish that.
How do we effectively distill all this information into increasing membership? One of the answers is through the oldest method of communication: storytelling. This simple concept, which is widely used by many companies, creates messaging into a kind of storytelling that resonates with a respective audience. This is not a simple task. It is a cultural mindset that we all must grasp and accept, and eventually speak with one voice.
So, after all these theories and platitudes, what can we do to create sustainability for LHSA? Which specific goals should we lead with, and which of the above-mentioned theories should we put into practice?
First, and foremost: We must double our current paying membership during the next four years.
Second: We need to continue with significant fundraising during the next four years to overcome our current negative cash flow. We have several ideas in the pipeline, but these efforts require a lot of hard work. The LHSA 50 APO lens of 500 was a huge success and demonstrates that the name LHSA is recognizable worldwide and has value to Leica AG. We will continue our annual Sweepstakes prizes, initiate another LHSA Commemorative concept, and other potential money raising ideas.
Third: We have made major strides in our relationship with Leica AG and Leica USA and with many Leica Dealers. Our collaborative efforts have paid huge dividends for LHSA, and these efforts will continue.
Fourth: Our Events are a very integral part of who we are. These need to be expanded through strong programming and destination locations. The good news is that lately our events have increased in attendance and are self-supporting financially.
Fifth: Estate planning is another interesting avenue to pursue, and we are starting a gear donation program which will allow for that purpose.
As you can see, we have a full plate, and If any of you are still wondering as to how you can help your Society, please re-read the above and contact Richard Rejino, our Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m attempting to make your LHSA a better place. What are you trying to do? If you have an idea, let us know. We need you!
The Leica Journey continues, and we are committed to be “The Go to Place for All Things Leica.” As Cole Porter wrote “Let’s Do It”-Together
Gary Hough, LHSA President