In an evolving and complex world, is it possible for associations to become vital to the industries they serve? Today’s norm means slow or uncertain market growth, member expectations of direct return on engagement, and an emerging view that an association either drive or facilitate market disruption. As organizations consider these factors, is becoming a vital association too tall an order to fill?
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.
Where are CEO’s planning to spend their time in 2016? According to a KPMG study of 400 Chief Executives, “34% spend more time with regulators or are considering doing so.” The same report notes the regulatory environment as the number one issue that can “impact a company”, and adapting to government regulation is ranked as CEO’s second most critical challenge. For companies, the spike in regulatory activity is real. In 2015, Thomson Reuters published its sixth annual Cost of Compliance Survey noting among other challenges “regulatory fatigue.” Is the increase in regulatory activity reshaping associations?
In a growing trend, Association CEO’s and their Board Members are utilizing economic data as important context for their strategic deliberations. Jobs data, Housing Starts, Institute for Supply Management Index (ISM), Oil Prices, Consumer Spending, and U.S. Dollar Performance against other currencies is a more frequent topic at Association Strategic Planning Sessions. Although Strategic Plans cover 3 year windows, Boards encourage their CEO’s to be flexible and to use trend data to meet shifting demands to help their industries. In essence, economic data fuels active innovation at Associations.
Can positive association disruption reverse the fortunes for industry professionals and an organization? In a weak economic growth environment, it’s a daunting task. According to the 2016 PWC U.S. CEO Survey concerns “over volatility and over-regulation are rising.” What’s more, Reuters reported that retail sales slipped in a recent report and fourth quarter U.S. economic growth was only 1%. How can an Association overtake an economic cycle and put its members and itself in the driver’s seat? The answer is its possible and for one Association it yielded a $1 million turnaround in operating performance.
Can Disruptive Advocacy Strategies unlock industry growth and cost saving opportunities for your members in a slow growth economy? While the possibility of a recession seems unlikely this year, growth remains a challenge for many industries. According to the Conference Board, U.S. growth in 2016 is forecast at 2.0% while Global growth is forecast slightly higher at 2.5%. As increasing regulatory oversight dominates the federal and global landscape, building an agency focused strategy on behalf of your members can pay dividends for the industry and for your association.
Ring in the age of Driverless Associations. It’s 2016 with Medical, and Pharmaceutical breakthroughs, Driverless cars, and industries that are busy producing a new wave of technological breakthroughs. Slow U.S. GDP Growth and modest improvement in Global Growth appear to be the bellwethers of even more technology advancements. These innovations help capture consumer imaginations, elevate company operating performance, and grow market share. Innovative Organizations who reach outside the box to help their member’s develop growth solutions can transform themselves into Driverless Associations.
Anemic economic performance is unfortunately becoming a mainstay in the U.S. economy. The release of the 3rd quarter GDP numbers where only 1.5% growth was reported is another reminder of how much the ground is shifting for associations. Companies will likely view membership through an even narrower prism of operating margins if economic conditions weaken further. Associations who are Funding Industry Innovation can position themselves as essential partners in helping members achieve business outcomes.
Associations are increasingly well positioned to help members and industries build innovative workforce solutions through their professional development and certification products. As waves of innovation, millennials, and baby boomer retirements alter future workforce design, forward thinking organizations can transform themselves and become professional development partners for their members.
What Association doesn’t want to slow down its Member Resignations and improve retention performance? Member losses are difficult especially when an Association loses larger members. Yet the painful lessons from these resignations can help your organization reposition itself and drive accelerated member engagement and achieve improved operating performance. Since member companies are disrupting their industries to stay ahead of the curve, today’s associations are expected to be nimble strategic partners or members will vote with their feet and go somewhere else.