What happened: The IPA and the IDEAlliance has decided to merge their two organizations into one. Although little has been written about this idea in the press hearing their respective executive directors talk about the merger made you think the concept was one they had been weighing for some time. Both will benefit from a cost savings as they will end up with a total reduced staff and both will gain the other’s expertise of building relevant programs for their ‘customers’ – their members. Who would end up running the newly formed organization was less clear and left for future discussion.

Why it matters: Shrinkage is a force of business that has been applying pressure on many business sectors including the associations of those sectors. These forces impact brand marketing as well. Now there will be one set of brand messages in print and online, not two, which will mean less print and online purchases. Going forward it will be important for the new leadership to recognize that their combined resources aren’t really a matter of good business growth for the future but an entirely defensive move to stay alive. Although staying alive is obviously a positive move, there are only so many merges any organization can make before its constituency questions its brand value. As the executive directors said at their press conference, “We don’t want to be moving froward with a new model and new definition…we have to get out of our bubble to get reengaged where the market is moving.” How true.