How Standards-based Organizations Can Successfully Pivot After the Pandemic

The drastic economic recession triggered by the Covid-19 lockdown has disrupted Standards-based organizations. Based on declarations like "the collapse of globalization," many leaders have come to presume that everything will change. The recent pandemic has indeed wreaked havoc worldwide by testing the resilience and flexibility of the leaders of standards-based organizations globally.

Ready, set, go: Redefining the Standards-based Organization for Speed

The need for speed is real now. Disruption in associations have eliminated boundaries and removed silos in ways nobody thought was possible. Organizations have streamlined decision making process, enabled frontline leaders, and revoked obsolete hierarchies and bureaucracies. The results have been stunning, indeed. Because of the crisis, teams have adopted technology and data, re-engineering core processes and embracing new collaboration tools. Technology and people engaging in new ways is at the heart of the new business model - and creating an impressive post-pandemic organization. Such outcomes are possible, and it requires making long-lasting structural changes to sustain speed in inspiring ways.

Here are four actions the associations can take to prepare for the post-pandemic future –

Build Competitive Advantages Through Digitization

Leaders need to navigate a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive landscape to expand the standards-based organization's critical operations one step further. With the recent impact of the pandemic and economic fallout, the competition to stay relevant has been intensified. Moreover, customers are mostly going online to experience an enjoyable consumption experience. Therefore, they have shifted their focus to a personalized experience rather than affordability or speed.

Take ASTM International as an example. ASTM worked towards building a digital outline for responsive digital experience in real-time. ASTM harnessed its multiple systems to deliver an improved inflow of data and methods that established a better experience.

Organizations that are practical, continuously invest in the cutting-edge business models and innovation, can redefine themselves beyond the industry borders by bringing enhanced and innovative customer experiences. For example, many organizations have poor web navigation. They are often siloed and aren't consistently sharing data or creating member profiles. Members seek content that matches their best interest. However, business leaders need to know a simple fact that having a digital strategy isn't enough, it is not even a choice right now. They need to start "being digital" to expand beyond the normal experience.

But what does it mean being digital Disruption in associations? It means embracing a portfolio of development and investment opportunities in new platforms and tools that improve customer experience. It also means resisting the urge to go for the traditional approach.

As a part of the global association industry, it is high time for organizations to make digital disruption their friend. But this can be accomplished only by setting the appropriate strategic and practical steps on their corporate shores.

Focus on Key Areas to Engage Your Customers

While several brands are doing cost-cutting for disruption in associations, they are forgetting the crucial fact that marketing is more important than ever. Standards-based organizations are vital part of their communities and must continue to find different approaches to partake in the COVID-19 response actively.

Standards-based Associations can also learn from organizations that invested in and prioritized marketing during past crisis. Studies have shown that associations can accelerate their recovery post-recession by creating brand value and awareness during this time. Here are a few ways to make sure organizations are solving the challenges -

Content Utilization - There are many associations that started as publishing companies and have a massive library of content. The content is an integral part of the value proposition for members. It is also the main factor why they became members at first. Utilizing content in their library is one of the best ways to improve member experience. For example, organization can repurpose content with retargeting ads to reach potential members. Instead of waiting for the members to come back to the website, market leaders should start thinking about initiating retargeting campaigns across multichannel.

Content Findability - A vast amount of content can be to navigate and even harder to find the right content when needed. Standards-based Associations can solve this by improving their website's search functionality and allowing seamless consumption of personalized and searchable content. To make this happen, first step is to make sure the website has the ability to search because that is the first place where most of the visitors will go. Members visit website to find the right resource, so it is important to display the search field prominently to every page of the website. To make it even better, your organization can clarify what your members are searching for and use an auto-suggestion mechanism to boost on-site search and personalization.

Build A Network of Collaborators

Since 2020, the nature of work has changed rapidly. New technology has brought Disruption in associations by replacing the traditional way of working and creating newer ways of communicating, productivity, and decision making. This change, accelerated by the pandemic, has made it possible to enable automating complex and creative tasks. Having a network of collaborators will help people bringing together globally for Standards-based organizations. Collaborators can enable the ability to engage across existing boundaries with innovative solutions across the association industry.

Here the role of a business leader would be to initiate new approaches to build new capabilities through partnerships and collaboration. This flexibility to embark into new capabilities will help Standards-based organizations to be the winner in this digital economy. Just like having a circle of close friends, organizations need to have a dynamic network of external partners that can help them to reach new heights. For example, while organizations have in-house digital assets and expertise, most would need to collaborate with others to make the most of emerging technologies.

Prioritize Proactive and Responsive Approach to Members

A recent report revealed that there is a downward trend in association membership since last year. However, it also said that the ability to serve members in a more personalized way ensures long-term sustainability. It shows the key priorities for 2021 - creating non-dues revenue, improving member retention, and emphasizing on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Organizations are going to evaluate themselves by asking questions like - how to make membership more impactful than before? An area of opportunity can be the emotional connection that people feel to their industry or profession. Associations need to look at ways to maximize that connection and celebrate contributions of that industry. A possible strategy could be start telling stories about members. Such campaigns won't have a rapid return yet, but they would be powerful in creating an emotional connection with your member. Bring wellness to the Forefront as well through contactless technologies. In a post-pandemic world, health and wellness practices will no longer be a nice-to-have. All customers will expect higher standards to ensure their well-being, and digital tools will empower and expand existing "no-touch" options.

Associations can receive a boost in membership retention by listening to members, by tailoring key resources to meet their demand and be open to new ideas. For example, the Health Industry Distributors Association received a 21% surge in their corporate membership with an expansive membership model, ramped up engagement, and proactive communication style.

Final Words

The disruption in associations association industry is a fairly well understood dynamic. However, the future will be brighter but different than what we have witnessed in the past. As we consider the consequences combined with the explosion of brand-new technologies, it is exciting to see how associations respond and evolve and how the community emerges from this scenario. For more details, please connect here for a 1:1. 


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