by GK Strategy 25th August, 2017
3 min read

Trade Associations – Rising above the racket

Trade associations and membership bodies are needed now more than ever. With a volatile political system, Brexit and the imminent implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation, businesses and industries in the UK are facing an uncertain and confusing future. While these unprecedented events and changes in operating conditions may be viewed as a risk they also present a perfect opportunity for trade associations to illustrate their members invaluable place in the British economy.

In light of this, communication is now more crucial than ever before.

Internal Communications

Internally, members are looking to their associations for guidance and advice on how to navigate the multitude of regulatory changes that are on the horizon. Membership bodies are uniquely placed to be able to deliver clear, concise and implementable advice to members, helping to relieve the stress of an ever-changing regulatory environment.

To confuse this, the way we listen, read and consume information is changing and membership organisations must change with the times. Trade associations have done well to shake off the old tag of being patriarchal talking shops, and recent technological changes offer a wealth of opportunity for a further overhaul of the services and engagement undertaken by associations.

Seeking the views of members is now easier than ever before, and social media makes it possible to quickly turn this around to proactively and passionately get your voice heard.

External Communications

In addition to this, trade associations have a vital role to play in external communications. They find themselves in the distinct position of speaking on behalf of an industry, aggregating the views of members who are relying on them to educate decision makers and important stakeholders.

As Brexit negotiations continue, and the Government implements a domestic legislative programme, trade associations must now, more than ever, engage with the government. Ensuring that their member’s voices are heard and that they can take advantage of any opportunities that may arise. This is especially relevant for organisations whose member’s export or import goods. The future relationship the UK has with the EU and other world partners could truly make or break an industry.

Government have made it clear that as part of this process it wants to hear from business, and trade associations offer the perfect mouth piece for this engagement. Offering a collective voice, over just one is always more powerful and likely to gain more traction with the Government. Membership bodies offer a clear insight to the crystallised thinking of crucial industries across the UK. This is best summed up by Ian Lucas, former Business Minister and MP for Wrexham, who described trade associations as having “tremendous potential to act as a co-ordinated voice of business when talking to Government, and great value in terms of quickly disseminating messages about Government policy to their members”. It is clear that now is the time for trade associations to seize this potential opportunity and make themselves more valuable than ever before.

What you can do now

To find out how GK can help you with internal and external communications, and develop strategies to deal with the plethora of regulatory changes in policy, contact ed@gkstrategy.com

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