Association Relevance

Association Relevance Despite Market Turbulence

President & CEO


In an era of unending economic challenges and uncertainty, industries must be relevant in order to grow. KPMG’s 2016 report “Setting the Course for Growth: CEO Perspectives” underscores how today’s CEO is laser focused on staying relevant in a turbulent global market. In order to remain relevant to their members Trade Association CEO’s focus more on understanding industry challenges then helping drive industry outcomes. Achieving Association Relevance Despite Market Turbulence is how CEO’s can position their organizations for long term growth and durability.

Mirror The Industry to Drive Its Outcomes

Association RelevanceAccording to the PWC US CEO Survey, Chief Executives believe that “over the next five years, a greater number of customers will seek out products and services from organizations that address wider stakeholder needs, like health focus or environmental responsibility or societal consequences.” For The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and its President and CEO, Chris Jahn, it’s their organization’s responsibility to continually identify ways to deliver the industries’ products to Farmers and end users in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner.

Industry Business Outcome Advocacy

At a time when the fertilizer industry profitability is modest, TFI serves as the industry convener to address industry operating challenges. Its focused advocacy strategies are key components of achieving Association relevance despite market turbulence. How? By driving fertilizer industry outcomes.

Slow Growth Creates Member Engagement Opportunities

According to the Conference Board, slow growth remains in the mix. Factors that include China, oil price volatility, a less than robust U.S. economy, and emerging market weakness. How can Associations utilize these challenges to help an association remain relevant? For Jahn and TFI it’s about understanding those internal and external challenges and then engaging members to help build solutions and drive industry results. At TFI, Member Engagement is a mainstay in helping achieve Association relevance despite market turbulence.

Regulatory Challenges Create Engagement Opportunities

With Regulatory Agencies playing an ever increasing role, The Fertilizer Institute, similar to other Industry organizations, builds larger coalitions and maximizes stakeholder engagement. According to Jahn, this level of member engagement has played a pivotal role in keeping to deliver Association relevance despite market turbulence.

Industry Driven Sustainability Initiative

As part of its 2014 Strategic Planning, TFI established an Industry Stewardship and Sustainability strategy. The Board envisions a global leadership role for itself through safe, efficient, and responsible delivery and implementation of its products around the world.

Industry Focused Stewardship

With this initiative, TFI on behalf of the fertilizer industry seeks to drive “positive disruption” with best practice management. Through science based information, the initiative helps to educate, advocate, and implement crop nutrient stewardship. It includes fertilizer practices benefiting both the environment and the producer’s bottom line. The guidelines for the 4R principles are endorsed and supported by the International Plant Nutrition Institute, The Fertilizer Institute, The Canadian Fertilizer Institute, and the International Fertilizer Industry Association.

Innovation Helps an Association Remain Relevant

In a time of innovation and disruption, The Fertilizer Institute makes effective use of industry data and other scientific tools to achieve both sustainability and efficiency in the delivery of industry products. Jahn notes there are new technologies transforming the manner in which products are utilized by end users.

Association Relevance Despite Market Turbulence

If an Association remains relevant despite disruption, how will it impact the organization’s business model? Similar to many other industry “outcomes” focused Associations, TFI achieves strong results because of its ability to understand internal and external challenges, and then deliver measurable results.

For TFI and several other Associations, their relevance is increasingly more about being a strategic partner who helps an industry envision and deliver a more promising future. Having ongoing and actionable data to stay in front of an industry’s external and internal challenges is increasingly more important for future focused Associations. In an era of constant innovation and disruption, how can your Association stay relevant to the industry you serve?

Association Relevance




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