Becoming a SMART association

By Ivo J. Franschitz, Founder and Owner of ENITED business events

Ivo J. Franschitz, Founder and Owner of ENITED business events

Stay connected and remain relevant for your current and future members, your stakeholders and your global community of common interest, at large.

The biggest challenge for every association is to be and remain relevant in its respective field of expertise, in an extremely fast-moving world of information and knowledge, with instant accessibility and while facing the individuals’ scarcity of time.

Hence, the future belongs to those associations which have understood that they are part of communities of common interest rather than of membership organizations only, those which create benefits by engaging with peers in their fields of knowledge and competences, and not only by serving members.

•    SMART associations need to start engaging their clientele in a different way, adapted to the modern times of communication and engagement.
•    The next generations and their very individual behaviour, how to consume and how to engage, are the driving force in building this new world of communities.
•    It’s all about co-creating knowledge and engaging with peers more effectively and more individually, through a re-defined toolset of live communication, both offline and online.
•    The focus should be on an engaging environment (both virtual and face-to-face) for meaningful conversations, exchanging information, sharing ideas, creating new (wild) knowledge and initiating solution-based action for the individual benefit of everyone engaged.
•    SMART associations need to be platform and community builders, with business events being their live communication stages.

That’s why you need to become smarter.

Our definition of SMART requires more than the adaptation of an association’s structure, business model, formats or processes. It needs a change of mindset, of principles and behaviour.

  • Sustainable = holistic, impactful, inclusive
  • Mindful = aware, conscious, observant
  • Agile = collaborative, adaptable, responsive
  • Reputable = reliable, professional, transparent
  • Transformational = visionary, encouraging, resilient

To start that transformation, it takes willingness and courage, daring to open up the old “membership fortress” and creating platforms for communities of common interest, instead.

That’s how you lead the way.

So, what are some of the main benefits for becoming a SMART association?
In our opinion, it will give those associations which dare to set out on that transformation journey the decisive “edge” in that very competitive world of information exchange and knowledge creation.

With the necessary change of mindset, an association will

re-think and re-define its engagement and communication strategy with its members and stakeholders.

  • build new and stronger relationships across and beyond the rigid “member” definition.
  • add both content and value to the overall service development.
  • improve the individual client experience and benefit.
  • create additional stakeholder value and involvement in the association.
  • (re)position itself, through thought leadership, for a more sustainable future.

That’s what you get.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been offering a unique opportunity to finally dare and cleverly break old habits and structures. Now is the time and the place.
It’s neither about going back to the OLD normal nor about waiting for the NEW normal to happen.

It’s about defining the NEXT normal in the international association world.

Ivo J. Franschitz earned a Master degree in International Marketing from the Vienna University of Economics and his early career milestones include Senior Marketing and Management positions in the Tourism and Business events industry.

Currently he holds a Board member position with EMBA (Event Marketing Board Austria) and with LiveCom Alliance, as well as being an active member of ICCA and of 27NAMES. His qualifications include an ISO certification (Certified Event Expert).

Ivo will explain how to remain relevant for your current and future members by developing from a membership association into a community of common interest at the UIA Round Table Europe, 24 and 25 November 2022 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

For more information, please visit his LinkedIn Profile.