Covid-19 – CEO’s Update 24th April 2020: The value of a trade association part 2

Another week, another blog about value written on a Friday afternoon when the sun is shining, and I should be outside practising social distancing and getting my exercise. Even more so this week when my birthday, (same day as the Queen but 29 years younger) provided another reason to eat and drink too much; I definitely need the exercise.

Anyway, regular readers may recall that last week I wrote about the future of the UKAA and the need for it to show unique value for its members. Forgive me for carrying on in the same vein this week, and looking at the second of my conclusions:

2. The value and how it is delivered must make easy to demonstrate not only to those who take part in our activities but also to anyone who decides whether to spend money on a subscription or an event.

In many ways I am just repeating that old motto from a restaurant bill (remember them?) “If you’ve enjoyed yourself, tell your friends, if you haven’t then tell us”. There are lots of reasons for asking our members to tell their friends – firstly in the expectation  that they will join in our activities and enjoy and learn from them; through to the hope that  when our invoices arrive for authorisation or payment that the name UKAA means something and the value we deliver is recognised, even by people not directly involved in UKAA.

If the UKAA is to deliver on our objective of helping grow the Build To Rent sector, then we have to do this through growing our influence, through helping more people understand what best practice looks like, helping them personally succeed and grow their careers and their businesses.

We mustn’t have only one point of contact in an organisation and expect them to act as a conduit to the right person – after all membership of the UKAA is by organisation and everyone working for a member can access our services and events. We all receive too many emails and too much information – the UKAA shouldn’t add to this burden. We must know our members in detail, their people, and their businesses.

We aren’t there yet but we are putting in our CRM system,  Sheep to help us care for our flock,  and as the current crisis has prompted us to we expand the topics we cover, particularly in the forums, so we get to know new people at our members.  We plan to go further, to communicate in new ways through an app and through a community forum. We will reach out to new parts of our community too. The BTRs – Building Talent Recognition awards will recognise the heroes in our front line and back office teams dealing with the Coronavirus crisis. We don’t know when or how we will be able to make the awards, but we do want your nominations, so we can all celebrate when the time comes.

“If you haven’t enjoyed yourself, then tell us” is equally important in an environment where as customers, we are continually asked for feedback but it is usually given and received anonymously and 95% of the time we expect it to be ignored. If there is one thing that my 30 years in this industry has taught me (Was it really 1990 when I first set foot in Lakeside?) it is that success in the property industry is built on personal reputation, and the reputation of the UKAA depends on the behaviours of every one of the team. We need to know when we don’t meet your expectations so that when we do, when we individually and as a team have delivered real value then the cost of membership or attendance at an event or even sponsorship is never an issue.

On the same theme of living the values, can I again commend you to Debra Yudolph’s Do Some  Good Website. Some amazing things are happening, but more help is always needed from fridges to accommodation to donations. Visit and do some good in these challenging times.

Next week I want to talk about the future, but in the meantime stay safe and enjoy the great weather this weekend.

Dave Butler