Though they will be offered, few predictions made about 2015 will actually become reality. Rather than the usual prognostication that many teams make in their blogs, here at Kellen we've decided to take another route.
We've narrowed down our own vision of what 2015 will bring based on the things we are already working on for our clients. So, without further ado, here are the three trends we see to be paramount in 2015 for advocacy and associations.
1. Just-in-Time Advocacy
First up is the shift from reactive to what we at Kellen call "just-in-time advocacy." With the emergence of real-time advertising and outreach platforms, organizations are shifting from their "wait-and-see" approach to industry-level issues to countering crises and emerging issues as they happen. This approach is allowing organizations to match the reach and scope of the origin of these issues, many of whom are paid to be high-profile instigators. Organizations can shift from trying to appeal to just the heads of stakeholders but also to their emotions. This approach gives organizations more time and flexibility to work to build their own base of advocates that help to manage issues before they emerge.
As some background to this, reactive advocacy can be defined as when organizations take a "wait-and-see" approach to industry-level issues. In other words, once a crisis or issue arises, they bring all of their stakeholders together, decide on an approach and then try to tamp down the impact. This approach has been very tactical, with focus on countering messaging on mass-media channels with targeted influencer-outreach. For all intents and purposes, this approach has worked, but just-in-time advocacy helps organizations respond faster, more efficiently, and on a scale that was previously feasible for a multi-faceted industry group.
2. Digital Governance & Mobilization
Another boon of the digitization of communications is the ability to engage and activate industry members at levels that might be impossible previously. Rather than waiting weeks or even months to solicit input and build consensus, industry groups are using tools like knowledge hubs, online member training and digital voting to speed their operations.
The results are industry groups that are not only more responsive to the needs of their members but also more effective at mobilizing response. A key example is a Kellen client in the process improvement industry that used digital tools to create and maximize an overhaul to their accreditation system. Through digital governance and mobilization, organizations don't just save time but also money, making their meetings more productive and fruitful.
3. Digital Knowledge Creation
Finally on our list of key trends is the rise in the importance and fruitfulness of meetings. Rather than becoming obsolete with the advent of online meeting technologies, meetings are being enabled and enriched through the use of digital technologies.
The key change we see with many of our clients is the shift in their meetings focus from just networking to knowledge creation. A great example is another Kellen client in the airline industry that conducted an industry-wide survey on passenger experience preferences.
The results of the survey were debuted at their annual expo but the conversation didn't end there. The organization solicited input and ideas on ways to explore and analyze the survey data including the idea to develop a sub-report focused only on geographic preferences. This report was then delivered at a subsequent organizational event just two months after. The advent of digital technologies allowed this Kellen client to use meetings as the origination point of knowledge and used digital technologies to keep members engaged long after the end of the meeting.
Throughout all three of our key emerging trends, we are seeing that digital is doing more than just eliminate paperwork for organizations. As we continue to work with clients across a broad range of industries, we will keep testing and refining our approach to making these trends a reality.
As for 2015, itself the only true constant we see is that organizations will need to continue to innovate in digital in order to cope with increasing stakeholder complexity and more rapid evolution of Industry-level issues.
In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about these trends or some of our client results, feel free to email us at email@example.com and we'd be glad to walk you through more of our ideas.