Trends & Features

OIA reveals plans for a dynamic future

The Outdoor Industries Association has unveiled details of its long-term strategy, along with an outline of immediate plans for 2008. Designed to transform the OIA into a dynamic and effective trade association, the plans incorporate a mixture of proactive communications, lobbying on behalf of the industry, outreach work and industry engagement.

Explains OIA chairman Frank Bennett (pictured): “The commercial and political environment within which the OIA operates has changed in many ways and what the outdoor industries need and want from a trade association has also evolved.

“In recent years the OIA has not delivered the goods and it has to change as an organisation. Following a comprehensive review of the association, a consensus and clear direction has emerged.

“Although on the surface just a set of words, our new mission statement articulates what the OIA wants to be: ‘The OIA will become a high-profile, campaigning trade association that provides leadership and promotes the outdoors, persuasively representing the industries’ interests at the highest level. Through its actions, the OIA will contribute to broad health, environmental and community agendas, inspiring young people and other consumers to explore the outdoors.’

“Sitting behind this statement and underpinning everything that is outlined in the strategy and plans that we have developed is the desire to grow the core outdoor industries for the benefit of all OIA members. Therefore, the objectives and actions that will follow are all designed to deliver against that fundamental imperative.”

The OIA council has agreed five key objectives:

• Engage with and unite the UK outdoor industries.

• Develop a strong and influential voice, able to effectively represent the interests of the industries within UK and European political spheres.

•Develop an outreach programme to encourage more people to explore the outdoors.

• Work with other associations and interest groups to develop joint activities in areas of common interest.

• Develop and deliver a communications strategy to promote the outdoor industries and the outdoors, and to support all OIA objectives and activity.

In December the OIA appointed communications specialist Press Ahead to finalise the 2008 action plan, develop a detailed calendar of activity and deliver aspects of the plan. That process has now started and regular direct communication with OIA members and the media will provide progress updates throughout the years.

Activities that are being rolled out or considered for 2008 include a proactive, sustained PR campaign to the mainstream media, promoting the benefits of heading outdoors as part of a healthy lifestyle; communication with other trade and consumer organisations and events to explore the potential for future collaboration and lobbying activity; and the commissioning of trade and consumer research that can be used to support and promote the outdoors and outdoor industries.

Says Bennett: “Full details of the long-term strategy and short-term plans will be circulated to all OIA members during March. Although it is important that we now get on with the job of delivery, it is just as crucial that our members are given the opportunity to review and endorse the plans, giving their feedback and then contributing to the programme of activity.

“As part of our commitment to improved communications, we will introduce a formal process for capturing comments about the plans and for ongoing discussion and debate on a range of topics. In addition, one of our priorities is to overhaul and relaunch the website and introduce a regular email newsletter to update members on industry issues.”

The OIA is also finalising new administrative arrangements following the closure of its Ruislip office.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button