DISRUPTORS are throwing spanners into the works. Whether it’s the consolidation and merger of hotel groups; the economic uncertainty of Brexit; the impact of the Industry 4.0 revolution and automation; or regulatory changes changing how conferences are organised.
Disruption can be regulatory or technological in nature. Regardless of either, organisations will have to embrace this change, whether it’s in the context of risk and compliance practices, business models or operations.
The digital invasion in the travel industry is one example. The way consumers buy travel products and services has radically changed the way agencies sell travel. Manufacturers too have to adapt to Industry 4.0 or be left behind in the innovation curve.
How then should associations react to these changes? Whether it’s a trade or professional association, a philanthropic organisation or an NGO, members want to learn, acquire knowledge, and benefit from their community interactions. The responsibility of providing direction and clarity then falls upon the associations to ensure their members’ needs are met. Accordingly, their roles in this climate of change must adapt as well if they are to answer the call of their industries and members.
Amid all this, let’s look at advocacy and understand how it can drive collaboration to influence the outcomes desired by associations.
Action through advocacy
Do you want your members to adopt a mindset shift to meet future challenges? Through advocacy, we can cultivate and spread an idea, and the support we want to garner from it. Success depends on the method of outreach and how the message is amplified for effective engagement.
Audiences don’t want to be talked at or to be subjected to obvious persuasion. They want to be enlightened and to be spoken to in a way that naturally resonates with their ideals and belief systems. The message must be aligned in a way that it bonds them to their societies and communities meaningfully. Does the FOMO (fear of missing out) approach work? Does it also work with the sceptics and traditionalists who think that the new era of disruptive change is unnecessary?
Re-engage, excite and incite
Keeping members engaged can be a tall order considering the sheer diversity of people, especially with younger members, and this requires a different engagement strategy.
Digital platforms need to be leveraged to ensure members interact via online tools and social media channels. You must then consider the messaging approach.
Is good storytelling involved? It should be as it generates authenticity and makes it easier to relate to on a personal level. This is necessary to engage the new generations of young professionals who have different ways of thinking. The common mistake of just highlighting product or service benefits serves no lasting value and does not create a meaningful and engaging message.
It is also crucial that members themselves generate content. Nothing works better than to have them as ambassadors for your cause by spinning the wheels of agenda. Encouraging online shareability requires associations to have engaging content on hand such as video clips, photos, blog posts and other snippets that make it easy for members to share important information.
Understanding the details of member advocacy efforts allows associations to establish a closer connection. It then becomes easier to address industry best practices and trends as you navigate the seas of change.