Business Pro Tip: Embrace the Power of a Public-Private Partnership

Building relationships at the state or federal level could create new opportunities for members while encouraging visibility around your industry’s needs.

One of the best ways to give the field you serve a leg up is through collaborating with a governmental body.

It’s a tactic that can open up new opportunities for an industry sector that is emerging—or expand the reach of more mature industries. It all comes down to the relationships you can build.

What’s the Strategy?

Building strategic relationships with local, state, or federal governmental bodies can help to surface new ways for your members’ business interests to gain visibility and achieve their goals.

One example of an organization with a public-private collaboration is the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association, which launched a first-of-its-kind partnership with the state of Connecticut last month, with the goal of promoting LGBTQ+ travel options in the state.

It’s very much a win-win approach. The association will promote Connecticut as a travel destination through its global channels, while the state will build digital marketing initiatives for its LGBTQ+-targeted attractions, benefiting businesses within the state—and creating a haven for LGBTQ+ travelers.

“The LGBTQ+ community has always been an integral part of Connecticut’s fiber and the state’s tourism industry, and we’re putting that message front and center all year round in everything we do,” said Noelle P. Stevenson, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism, in a news release.

Why Is It Effective?

These initiatives, beyond boosting short-term opportunities, also help to forge longer-term relationships that can help smaller organizations grow. If you can get your foot in the door with the right partnership, you’re closer to building a relationship that can be helpful in the long run.

It can also help organizations fund industry initiatives that would otherwise prove cost-prohibitive, something that the National Automatic Merchandising Association learned when it partnered with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory on heating and cooling technologies.

“It really, truly will help the industry solve a problem that our members would have to pay for themselves,” Eric Dell, NAMA’s executive vice president, told Associations Now in 2019.

What’s the Potential?

Over time, these sorts of relationships can open up more in-depth opportunities for a specific industry group or coalition. For example, the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, a group active since 1891, recently launched customized resources for members that hope to increase their dairy export levels outside of the U.S.

The program, part of the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports, was funded in part through state-level legislation passed earlier this year that will benefit the broader agriculture industry.

Wisconsin is synonymous with cheese, and arguably a big reason for that comes down to the industry’s efforts to build a deep relationship with state and federal governmental bodies. Because of those relationships, the organization has been able to offer its members new ways to reach customer bases.

(Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

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

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