Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Alumni Affiliations

I caught an interesting article in The Charlotte Observer about how college alumni – as depicted in this case by a popular Midwestern NCAA athletic division represented by those living and working in the Charlotte area – are keeping the old “ties that bind” by continuing to connect through networking.

Welcome to another edition of “Not Your Usual Marketing Tips” from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

The article discusses how “In the heart of ACC country, a group of transplants has found value in networking with fellow graduates of Big Ten universities.

“Neil Swiacki, 48, made his way to Charlotte 41/2 years ago after stints in Massachusetts, Indiana and Michigan, where he graduated from Michigan State in 1980.

“Now he heads the Big 10 Biznet, a Charlotte networking group. It's for people who've graduated from the 10 Midwestern schools – plus Penn State – and want ways to find new business contacts.

“ ‘There’s a lot of value to locating people with similar backgrounds,’ he said.

“The group is emblematic of the wave of newcomers from Midwestern and Northeastern states. Of the estimated 80,000 people from outside the Carolinas who moved to Mecklenburg and surrounding counties from 2004 to 2005, 10 percent are from the Midwest and 28 percent from the Northeast…U.S. Census data found.

“…Other business groups form around college alumni associations as well as race or ethnicity, regional geography, specific trades or professions, and other special interests. Even a dog fanciers’ group can turn into business networking opportunities for participants…

“Charlotte is still very much about relationship-building – people want to do business with people they know.”

Now I’ll assume that many if not most of you already belong to business networking groups. Chances are they’re the types that generically meet in restaurants or coffee shops and are comprised of disparate businesses. But this Big Ten thing is a great way to expand on the BNI’s of the world and their offshoots.

Maybe you have a favorite pastime or pursuit that can be parlayed into a group of similarly interested individuals. This adds real passion to the business proceedings that those customary networking groups are, by definition, lacking. And you, of course, get to decide whether or not to “lock out” your particular competition.

Check out these types of associations or clubs online or through friends and neighbors. And if there isn’t an organization, for instance, already devoted to fans of the Chicago White Sox, start one – like I did.

(Of course, I’m the only member so far…)

Joel Kweskin

1 comment:

t said...

Joel, Any bacheolor tips for me or Clooney?