Thursday, January 10, 2013

Trust, Transparency, ERDs, NHTSA and Associations

A column and an editorial in the same edition of USA Today poses some interesting questions for trade associations and professional societies.

In a column titled “Remember when trust actually meant something?” Michael Wolff poses several questions about the importance of trust and how strong brands embodied trust ...well, until branding experts started brand marketing. 

“Trust was, at a certain point in consumer history, what most successful brands were selling. Trust was the ultimate scalable asset — once you established it, you could keep producing it at no further cost. Some brands could even extend their own trust levels to other products. Famously, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, a marketing brainstorm if there ever was one, let you feel good about anything with its imprimatur. Now, most major brands have implicit trust problems, to say the least. Most are on a terrible treadmill, having to grow ever faster to make up for their constant loss of public trust.”

In the same issue, the USA Today editorial board wrote an editorial titled Do You Know Your New Car has a Black Box to track you?  

“If you're like most people on the planet, though, it will come as a surprise that a box the size of a deck of cards — called an event data recorder — is on board, tracking your seat belt use, speed, steering, braking and at least a dozen other bits of data. When your air bag deploys, the EDR's memory records a few seconds before, during and after a crash, much like an airliner's ‘black box.’

“What the federal government ought to do is ensure that car buyers get prominent disclosure before they buy and that privacy protections are in place. But the trend is in the opposite direction. In 2006, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration first proposed regulating black boxes, it rejected calls for pre-purchase disclosure and opted for requiring a few obscure paragraphs in the owner's manual. It gave car makers six years to comply.”

The editorial shared privacy concerns resulting from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a new federal standard that requests auto manufacturers to install event data recorders (ERDs) in all new vehicles. They asked “what about your own car? Should police be able to grab that data without a warrant? Should insurers access it so they can raise your rates?”

So, federally regulated ERDs raise the question of privacy and trust. And, Michael Wolff asks “who do you trust?”As I thought about the column and the editorial, I reflected on the importance of trust and transparency in associations.

  • Members trust that their volunteer leaders and professional staff are doing the right things. 
  • Leaders trust that the staff is implementing policies and sharing information vital to the organization 
  • Professional staff trust that volunteer leaders will be honest with them and treat them with professional respect they earn
  • Members trust that their association is transparent and not collecting information without disclosure
So, what do you think? Is there something your association does that is not fully transparent to its members? Have trust issues developed that are causing concerns within your organization?

Please add your comments.

PS. If your association has some "trust issues" be sure to read Open Community from Maddie Grant and Lindy Dreyer.  Here's a post on it from Beth Kanter.

1 comment:

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