Associations in Times of Change

Associations in Times of Change

These are dynamic times for associations, with changes occurring on multiple fronts. Here are four important changes that association leadership must address to stay competitive and relevant.

by Mike Hillegass

Disruption and Disintermediation

It has been said that we now live in a world of perpetual disruption. Technological advancement continues to drive seismic, industry-wide shifts across just about every category of consumer engagement. For brand, marketing and insights professionals, proven approaches to managing strategic equity have long played a stabilizing role for customer acquisition and growth within the context of evolving consumer behavior. However, there is no doubt that the pace of change has increasingly exposed or created new blind spots for brand marketers. Innovation in industries from Financial Services (read banking, wealth management, lending, payments, etc.) to grocery, healthcare, hospitality and retail goods have changed the competitive landscape view from two-dimensional perceptual maps to complicated topographic-like landscapes where disintermediation has marketers nervously looking over their collective shoulders wondering what’s next? Where do we compete? What business are we actually in?


Within this context, it is easy to feel on the back heel when managing brands and addressing market opportunity. It does not have to be this way. Brands rise or fall by how well they resonate within the context of human decision-making. At Heart+Mind Strategies, we guide clients in evaluating their competitive landscape with a holistic view to ensure they are still relevant and resonating with both their existing target market and potential newly addressable market. Which competitors have “moved the cheese” and how should we respond? What new consumption models have born out to present threats? Or proactively, what opportunities exist for clients to leverage their strategic equity to create disruption and redefine the landscape?


We understand you resonate with people when you understand your role in context of how they make their way TO a decision and help organizations succeed because of, not despite disruption.

Heart in head

Knowing what is valued at a rational and emotional level showcases the things you need to say or do

Pathway icon

Mapping the pathway illustrates the experience you need to create or facilitate at specific moments.


Understanding their lives in context uncovers the role(s) you need to play in context of everything else

At Heart+Mind Strategies, we help clients defensively respond to new competitive offerings as well as determine where and how they can successfully compete with a new dynamic. To discuss how we might support your efforts, please contact Brian Elkins or Graham Lane.


5 Steps to A Successful Rebranding Effort

When is the right time to rebrand? In many marketing strategy engagements, this question invariably arises as research implications underpin shifting market dynamics and evolving consumption models for our clients.

Critical to answering this question is understanding that rebranding or refreshing a heritage brand, intended or not, signals to the market place that something of significance about the business is changing. Too often rebranding is undertaken as simply a reactive means to garner attention or supercharge a campaign launch that will drive engagement in the near term, but lacks sustainability and risks leaving internal and external audiences underwhelmed and disappointed.

A successful rebrand requires a coordinated effort across the organization so that the brand evolution is delivered at every touch point from senior management to frontline employees and product/service experience. It requires discipline and rigor, but also the energy and excitement to tell the organization’s new, compelling story. Getting this right is as much art as it is science and the brands that get it right put their customers and authenticity at the center of every aspect of their approach.