Lunchtime Links: Fighting Back When You’re Outmatched

How one association found itself in a public debate against a major star. Also: What one fading form of entertainment reveals about evolving business models.

You may think you’re doing everything in your power to keep your association’s message in the public eye, but sometimes you might find the foe a little tougher than usual.

That and more in today’s Lunchtime Links:

A public debate, with a twist: When someone prominent takes a public stance against the industry your product represents, what’s the best way to handle the conflict? In the case of the British Plastics Federation, the best option is to take it to TV. But here’s the twist: The guy at the center of the televised debate is Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons, who has been pushing for a tax on plastic bags in the United Kingdom and has created a documentary called Trash. Peter Davis of the association had the unlucky honor of taking part in the debate on Channel 4 News.

Learn a lesson from soap operas: There may be a few still on the air, but the era of the soap opera, the daily serial drama, has crawled its way to obsolescence. Why is that? According to Peppercomm’s Sam Ford, writing in the Wall Street Journal, it might reflect a change in the larger culture—our push toward things more spreadable. As a result, the soap makers, which have traditionally run ads during such shows, may find the environment not so effective for actually selling soap. “In such an environment, the idea of locking content down and encouraging audiences to passively wander through a corral when they get there is counterintuitive,” he explains. “Instead, the soap company wants its audiences to engage with, react to, and share content they find useful, and the material is seen as having the potential to accrue value and meaning through its travels.” Finding your business model similarly limiting these days?

Don’t let the mission get in the way of the basics: Having trouble filling out necessary paperwork for your organization? It might come back to bite you, according to Association Executive Management’s David M. Patt. For example, he says, “an advocacy organization faced a job discrimination charge but could not produce the information necessary to counter it. Countless hours had to be spent piecing together payroll records, personnel files, and management memos to prove the charge was unfounded.” Without having this data at hand, you could find yourself in a real bind. How are you regarding such paperwork?

What’s on your radar today? Tell us about it in the comments.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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