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.
The global economy is making a pivot from just in time to just in case and there are opportunities to unleash supply chain innovation. As noted in a USA WIRE article, supply chain innovation is underway. From the private sector all the way to strategic partnerships between Industries and Trade Associations, collaboration and outside the box thinking is happening in real time.
American Eagle’s Chief Supply Chain Executive Shekar Natarajan is working to unclog retail supply chains and modernize them. The company created a supply chain that can be shared among different companies with an end goal of squeezing out inefficiencies and satisfying customers. It’s a strategic partnership strategy, and it’s a frenemy network too where retail companies share resources to drive down costs and increase efficiencies.
Some great strategic partnerships were created to weather tough times. COVID-19 was an especially difficult time, impacting profits, workers, families, and the U.S. economy. Most writing on strategic partnerships focuses on how companies have combined their strengths and mitigated their weaknesses to expand customer bases and achieve far more together than they could separately. However, there are more prodigious, inclusive, and ambitious types of strategic partnerships—the sort that change the game for entire industries. These take shape between industries and their trade associations.
Forty year high inflation, persistent supply chain challenges, a tight employment market, and the threat of increasing global conflict require far different thinking than at any other time in history. Just as necessity is the mother of invention, these hard times break open the door to strategic partnerships between industries and their trade associations. This is an opportunity and a clarion call for industries and executives.
As referenced in a FORTUNE article, supply chain challenges are nothing new in a complex global market. Surging demand, container shortages, port bottlenecks, shipping price increases, trade imbalances, continue to roil economies in every part of the world.
Durability: Association Strategic Member Engagement. In a dynamic and rapidly changing global economy, Associations face competition and unpredictable business cycles. Rather than leverage short term sales cycles, some organizations are instead leveraging a longer term value added approach.
Strategic Member Engagement is an important resource helping Associations develop long term strategy and effective competitive positioning. For Jeff Morgan, President & CEO of NIRI (National Investor Relations Institute) www.niri.org, building for the long term means “durability.” His focus is to consistently position his organization as a strategic ally and a more essential member resource.
3 Strategies Accelerating Engagement
It’s essential to understand how an association is currently impacting member objectives. This requires securing actionable data about member perceptions of their environmental and operational challenges. Through this process Associations obtain actionable data, understand member “up at night” issues, and assess culture to formulate products and services to address member outcomes.
NIRI utilizes three strategies to accelerate Member Engagement:
Actionable Data. Conducts impact surveys to understand its Association’s impact on key member outcomes.
“Up at Night” Issues. By member segment, learns desired future member outcomes and provides solutions matching these outcomes.
Culture. Over a six year time frame, NIRI transitioned its’ culture from a “me/you” focus to a “we” focused highly engaged solutions community.
Durability and Metrics
Morgan reports accelerated member engagement in key segments, 6% operating revenue growth, annual conference attendance 15% higher than 2013, and 20% international membership growth.
Durability: Association Strategic Member Engagement.
Strategic Member Engagement is not about short term revenue growth, it’s about Long Term Association Strategy & Competitive Positioning. Through NIRI’s experience and our research http://bit.ly/1g8g1J2 ,we’re learning just how much of a driver strategic member engagement is for an association’s business model.