I recently saw an article about food trends of 2014. Last year it was all Greek yogurt and cronuts, this year it’s all about burritos for breakfast and cookie cups. I wondered: how do these trends impact our friends who have food-related associations? What about industry trends in general for all associations?
- Something to talk about
Tracking trends is important, and in a fast-changing industry like technology it’s especially crucial in a “sink or swim” kind of way. But tracking trends can be overwhelming. If your association finds itself in a very dynamic, constantly changing industry, trends are a great topic for regular discussion. You, your members, and your association as a whole will benefit from frequent conversations.
- Dollars and cents
Budgets change when industry trends happen. In our example of food trends, things like supply and demand, the price of raw product, weather-impacted growing patterns and the changing costs of food transportation all impact the bottom line of practically everyone in the food industry. Tackling budget issues is a universal problem, and one your association can advise on with your bank of expertise. Framing budget issues in the context of industry trends is a great way to start that conversation so you can provide a real service to your members.
- A new expert
The great thing about industry trends is that something fairly obscure can suddenly be the new coolest thing ever. You never know which of your members will already be knowledgeable about the new trend. Ask around! Give that member an opportunity to step up and write an article for your newsletter, write an association blog about it, or even speak at a meeting or event. That engagement could lead to more leadership and future
- Strategic problem solving
Industry trends aren’t always fun. Airline baggage rates have been consistently going up, even for carry on bags in some cases, and that’s leading to a lot of push back from Joe Traveler and could present a problem for all kinds of associations. What an amazing time for collaboration and problem solving, not only within your association but even between associations! Granted, things may get tense. After all a frequent traveler association is not likely to be happy with an airline fees regulation association lately. But in the case of changing trends with your industry a little problem solving synergy may be just the ticket for some real change!
Really, tracking trends is all about keeping your members engaged, in the loop, and receiving maximum benefit from your association. It's all about empowering your members to have a long, successful career and a long membership in your association!