New role of Associations (?)
The changes that have taken place in only the last few years are stunning beyond anyone’s expectations. The “democratization” of the world in all areas of human endeavor has moved at the speed of light: well, at the speed of the internet.
If there is ANY role for “professional associations,” these roles need to be reconsidered and clearly defined. Yet, our national associations solder-on with misconceptions about “advertising and getting the word out,” and, for the most part, have not understood the fundamental shift that has taken place. The old plans, conceptions and skirmishes continue on while, at the same time, the very ground on which they stand has completely changed.
It was almost laughable in Japan, because I was the oldest guy in the conference room. The marketing department (mostly kids in their 20s) would, as I spoke, give me big smiles and an occasional “thumbs up.” I could see their eyes “light up.” The older guys didn’t know exactly what I was talking about. Nicely, the company has handed the “next phase” over to the young people and now this “old geezer” is working with the kids! My key message to TBC, was to give the whole project “to the kids!” They DID! A few key themes that I’ve developed:
We must understand that the younger generation is completely immune to advertising. They are unimpressed with celebrity endorsements. Indeed, they are been inundated their entire lives with advertising to the point that NONE OF IT is even seen any more. And, they can see through BS in a New York minute.
Also, nothing “private” and nothing “for professionals only” and nothing for “members only.” A website that has this restriction might as well flush the whole thing down the digital toilet. People want information immediately and it all has to be FREE … or, they go somewhere else. (Again, learned from our own Hairtell.)
The key theme we are using at TBC (and I learned this from Hairtell) is PATIENT EMPOWERMENT! And that means total fact with nothing hidden, nothing advertised, and nothing made to look good. Many other tid-bits I’ve come up with … but I don’t want to write another “book” here.
Have any of our national associations understood these monumental changes? Are they still thinking they need to “get the word out there?” All of our past enterprises are more-or-less becoming obsolete. We all need to take a good hard look at the totally new landscape out there. And, I’m excited about it! Oh yeah!
Historically we know the phenomenal changes that happened to societies with the development of the radio. The INTERNET is MUCH bigger!