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I am a: teen friend/alum parent other

Oh the Places You'll Go...

Posted on 01/24/2014 @ 11:38 AM

A friend recently asked me for driving directions to go from New England down to DC. I reminiscently replayed the dozens of times I’ve driven the route from Boston to my hometown in New York. Right away I thought of a little restaurant you can see from the highway that has a very big sign on the roof proclaiming “FOOD AND BOOKS.” The truth is, I only managed to stop there once – once in 5 years of very regular driving back and forth. I could not tell you one thing on the menu – or even if the food was good. Why then do I have such a strong, positive association with the place that I easily recommend it others? Because what it represents aligns with two core things I hold dear in my life – food and books.

I think it’s this same concept that makes some of our places so powerful. Perlman, Beber, the local hotel that you always have convention in… these places are much more than their physical location or the amenities (for some - much more than their amenities, thankfully!). What we latch onto in these places is our personal alignment with what they represent – friendship, brotherhood, shared Jewish community – and the places themselves become emblematic of these ideals. We can translate that emotional connection into concrete associations with some targeted messaging (the 40’ “FOOD AND BOOKS” isn’t exactly subtle!) of core goals and values while our teens are in these spaces.

As we head into the spring convention season – and then into Summer – we have countless opportunities to recognize and capitalize on these associations. I am sending a friend to this restaurant because of the positive association I have with its messaging. We know that the number one reason that teens attend any program is because a peer asked them. Let’s take the opportunity to embed the core values of our programming and our organization into each one of those asks. All it takes is some clear messaging (on billboards if needed!) about what we stand for and represent.

Always dreaming of a road trip is Rachel Meytin, Director of Jewish Enrichment & Panim

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