Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Weather “channel” changes provide examples for association executives

Rapid changes changed Weather Co.; will it do the same for associations?

Most associations are content/information providers for their profession or trade.

The rapid changes of the last decade (internet, smart phones, tablets) have drastically changed how consumers (members) seek and share content/information. If your association isn’t found at the top of page one of a Google search, you don’t exist in the minds of millions.

Given that assumption, USA Today’s Jefferson Graham’s story about changes at Weather Co. showcases changes that association executives should be considering.

1.  Name change: Weather changed its name from The Weather Channel to Weather Co

  • Why? The old name (Weather Channel) started defining us as a channel instead of the weather.
  • What does that mean for associations? Is your association’s name preventing your organization from fulfilling its mission in today’s world?
2.  New Strategy:  Mobile.

  • Why? The increased interest in serving the mobile audience has changed the way weather is reported. It comes down to speed.
  • What does that mean for associations? Consumers (our members) expect information to be available now not in the next quarterly newsletter. Associations need to address how they are delivering content/information to members. That means increased frequency as well as providing instant online access to their content.

3. Change channels: TV weather is now more in-depth.

  • Why? Mobile weather provides instant information and alerts. So consumers (members) turn to TV for the in-depth information they can’t get on a mobile device.
  • What does that mean for associations? As associations expand fast, instant, mobile content, they can expect members to expect more in-depth information and analysis in the association’s traditional newsletters, magazines and websites.
Graham’s column also highlights one “watch out” for association executives: Weather Co. owners changed CEOs and hired someone with more digital experience. 

Association boards – who are experiencing similar rapid changes in their profession/industry – may soon have increased expectations from their associations.

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