Weekly Now: A COVID-19 Advocacy Success Story in California

The Professional Beauty Association scores a win with its reopening strategy in California. Also: The American Lung Association launches a major anti-vaping campaign.

Working the political advocacy beat amid COVID-19 isn’t always pretty, but with a recent win in California, the Professional Beauty Association is keeping up appearances.

PBA’s government affairs team has been working closely with the state to encourage reopening of hair and nail salons under a four-tier program that is county-specific, a structure that will support careful decision making if future spikes happen. The effort came after an increase in COVID-19 cases in California led salons to shut down once again after their tentative reopenings earlier this summer.

In a news release, PBA Executive Director Steve Sleeper emphasized the strength of the association’s relationship with Governor Gavin Newsom and other state leaders.

“By engaging early and often, and working with the state of California, we were able to ensure the professional representation of our PBA members,” he said. “Now that California is going back to work, the PBA will maintain its collaboration with the state, offering data, member stories, and further insights—ensuring that the professional beauty industry continues to be represented moving forward.”

The association has established back-to-work guidelines that set standards for hygiene and customer experience at salons and other facilities.

In a related move, PBA is also launching an accreditation program with the help of the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, a subsidiary of the cleaning group ISSA.

Other news highlights:

High-resolution promises. You may be fully content with your 1080p “full HD” TV set, or maybe you’ve splurged on a 4K screen, but the 8K Association (8KA) is trying to educate consumers on the next generation of viewing technology. Its just-launched website, Discover 8K, aims to help people make sense of the differences and actually find some 8K content to view. Warning: 8KA says you need at least a 65-inch screen to properly experience it, so make room in your den.

A push to end youth vaping. The American Lung Association announced a comprehensive initiative to take on youth vaping, which will include a Vape-Free Schools Initiative cessation assistance program, a research initiative, an advocacy program, and a nationwide awareness campaign done in collaboration with the Ad Council titled “Get Your Head Out of the Cloud,” shown above. “We want to support students, parents, and schools who are dealing with this rise in teen and tween vaping,” President and CEO Harold Wimmer said in a news release. “The American Lung Association is leading a response to this public health crisis with a comprehensive plan and proven approaches to ensure a vape-free future for our kids.”

Convert Members in Fewer Steps

When it comes to getting people to sign up for something, there’s a natural push and pull between acquiring data about those new members or attendees and simply getting them through the door. In a recent Gulo podcast, DelCor strategic consultant for technology management Dan Hickey noted that conversion rates often buckle under the weight of data demands. In one example, he told Gulo Vice President of Strategy Chris Bonney that one client required people to go through 35 distinct steps just to sign up:

“I know there’s some frustration with the website or their AMS and its inability to kind of provide a good user experience, but we try to push back a little bit on that and say, ‘Well, do you really need to capture all that information? You really need to make them go through all of those steps to join?’ And it has varying degrees of success.”

The good news, Hickey said, is that there seems to be growing awareness of the need to optimize content to improve the conversion rate—something he credits to the rise of digital and younger audiences. “[Now], you can’t just say, ‘Well, our members are fine going through 10 different steps to join us,’” he said.

Check out some highlights from Hickey’s conversation with Bonney in the YouTube clip above or on the Gulo website.


The graphic design group AIGA is using its members’ visual communication skills to help get out the vote.

Associations are stepping up in the fight against racism. Organizations taking public steps include the Brewers Association, the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, and the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board.

Given the accelerated passage of time these days, it might feel like the ASAE Annual Meeting was in another century, but it was really just three weeks ago. In case you need a refresh, check out some highlights on the leadership, technology, and membership fronts.

(slobo/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

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

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