Despite political dysfunction, pressure is increasing for Trade Associations to notch policy wins. Industry Executives are feeling the pinch of higher regulatory costs, and they want their Trade Associations to deliver results regardless of dysfunction. Whether it be in State Capitols or in Washington, DC the challenges are the same. While Trade Associations effectively utilize coalitions to build a bigger base of support there are other options to put on the table. In several instances, Trade Associations are utilizing ecosystems consisting of Industry Supply Chains and Value Chains to far extend their reach. In doing so, they are better positioned to notch more wins over the long term.
Trade Associations that utilize uncertainty to evolve their value propositions will be in a much better position to engage their members, grow their membership, and more effectively shape the business environment for the Industry they serve. Based on rapid moving competitive issues, cost pressures and the risk of increased military conflict, Trade Associations have an unprecedented opportunity to be the solution that Industries and Members are seeking. For Trade Association CEO’s thinking through their 2024 strategic moves, it’s a time for reimagination.
Advocacy is at the core of every Trade Association Business model. However, Advocacy and how Trade Associations execute their policy and regulatory efforts is rapidly evolving. At a time when Industries most need help, the polarized political environment is stalling forward movement on key policy initiatives. In response, Trade Associations are reimagining their approaches to policy and regulatory challenges, and they are delivering new approaches to achieve Advocacy results that their Boards and members expect.
As Trade Associations think through how to best address the unknown unknowns, they are using actionable market research. CEOs and staff recognize how busy their members are, and that the key to success is delivering a value imperative that demonstrates how an organization is moving the needle for both their Industry and their company.
As corporate budgets tighten, Trade Associations are leaning in and building strategic partnerships with Industries, and they are providing increased member value through their Strategic Plans. In many cases, Strategic Plans serve as a roadmap for how Industry challenges can be overcome and how Trade Associations and Members work together to achieve a more favorable business environment. This approach yields higher levels of Board and Member engagement because it demonstrates a direct return on investment for companies. More important, it also makes a strong case as to why companies should join or renew their Trade Association membership.
The public concern about energy affordability, the environment, and global conflict has required America to create a pathway to address and solve the persistent hard times we face. Throughout its history, the U.S. scientists, researchers, and private companies routinely demonstrated that when faced with stiff challenges, this country is capable of overcoming adversity and achieving lofty and heroic breakthroughs. Realistically, we know there is a unfortunate political divide, record high energy prices, and a strong desire to reduce the carbon footprint. It’s time to reimagine how strategic partnerships between industry associations and their member companies solve the issue of reducing the carbon footprint. As we have seen, no other solution can make as great an impact.
Strategic partnerships continue to play an important role in helping industries position for growth. The most fertile ground for nurturing strategic partnerships within any given industry is through trade associations. That assertion should be obvious to all industry leaders, but if widespread adoption is a fair indicator, the results are not there. The good news is that several industry and trade association strategic partnerships are taking hold and they are changing the game. One of the more effective collaborations is between the Frozen Food Industry and the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), their relationship demonstrates that this strategic partnership drives Frozen Food Growth.
Some strategic partnerships were created to help industries weather tough times; sometimes those tough times are due to internal issues, sometimes external issues, sometimes uncontrollable circumstances, sometimes extraordinary opportunities, and occasionally in preparation to achieve the next breakthrough. Successful strategic partnerships come in all shapes, sizes, textures, colors and flavors. Nowadays, industry CEOs are using a new application of strategic partnerships that are more inclusive, impactful and ambitious—the sort that moves the needle for entire industries.
The good news for business leaders is that strategic partnerships between industries and their trade associations already exist. They lead and convene industries to deliver unified advocacy strategies and convey business outcome-focused messages to government officials. These relationships translate into vital assets to help industries face challenges and position them for growth. For example, recreational boating built its own strategic partnership through its trade association, NMMA, (National Marine Manufacturers Association) and its been highly successful.
Nowadays, there’s a lot of conversation of what cannot be done. Many say we are in uncharted waters, and that is true because uncertainty keeps reaching new orders of magnitude. The Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates to tame inflation, job openings break new ground surging past 10 million, military conflict persists in Ukraine, gasoline prices are heading higher again. Some say that a longer-term cohesive industry growth strategy is not feasible.