OIA reveals future plans

The Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) has revealed 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.
Frank Bennett, OIA chairman, explained: “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.”
Essentially, the OIA Council has agreed five key objectives that relate to the mission statement and will inform all association activities. The objectives are to:
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 last year the OIA Council appointed communications specialists Press Ahead to finalise the 2008 action plan, develop a detailed calendar of activity and then deliver aspects of that plan. That process has now started and regular direct communications with OIA members and the media will provide progress updates throughout the year.
During 2008, activities that are being rolled out or considered include: a proactive, sustained PR campaign to the wider, 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; an events programme; a review and revamp of all OIA communications material; the commissioning of trade and consumer research that can be used to support and promote the outdoors and outdoor industries; and a review of the OIA constitution in light of the updated aims and objectives of the association.
Meanwhile, the OIA is also finalising new administrative arrangements following the closure of the Ruislip office and departure of staff. As soon as a permanent solution has been agreed, details will be sent to all OIA members. In the interim, any immediate enquiries should be directed to Chris Lines or Wendy Wilson at Press Ahead (0191 516 6235, 07971 868329, cl@pressahead.info or ww@pressahead.info).

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