October 7, 2013
Associations often publish reports and studies about their industries. Studies can add value for members and create press opportunities for the industry. Kellen Europe’s client the European Portable Battery Association (EPBA) recently published a study about battery collection, which is an example of how valuable studies can be for any association.
For the study, the EPBA staff and members cooperated with a consultant who researched 29 European countries. The purpose of the study was to get an overview of how the countries are performing in relation to the European requirement to achieve a collection rate of 25% in 2012 and to look at suggestions and possible improvements in the collection of batteries.
Here are some lessons that the EPBA learned from conducting its study:
1. Clarify your goals and timeline from the beginning
In 2011, the budget, timeline and the scope of the study was determined. The EPBA set September 2013 as the deadline for publication and decided that the study should include an analysis for each of the 29 countries based on the available data. EPBA was clear about the scope of the study from the start and immediately identified the 29 countries to be analyzed. In addition to the data from the countries, the EPBA decided the study should contain information on consumer attitudes to battery collection and suggest some improvements. The EPBA also decided to hold an event when the study was published to create wider attention. By having items such as these settled from the beginning, any association can be sure to match its goals with the final outcome of a study or a report.
2. Bring something new to the table
There are other publications about batteries already in existence, but EPBA’s collection study is unique in the sense that it is the first overview ever published on the collection targets. Even the official figures from the EU on battery collection are not yet published. This inevitably created some curiosity from stakeholders in the industry and regulators – on several occasions we were asked if we could share some of the conclusions of the study prior to the launch event! To make sure that the buzz for the event was maintained, the study was published just after the event and the participants of the event only received a paper copy once the presentation of the study was made.
In addition to the carrot of the collection study, the EPBA was also able to draw a broad audience because of three additional factors. One was the meeting held on 19 September before the launch event in the evening. We first held a working group meeting and then a meeting with EPBA members, national battery associations and compliance and recycling organizations. The last meeting was a novelty, as it was the first time that such a varied group of organizations had a joint meeting. This attracted a broad audience from all over Europe and gave the basis for interesting discussions and knowledge sharing. Another was the presentation of a second EPBA study on the end-of-life of batteries. The third factor was the closing presentation of the event, as a representative from the European Commission gave an overview of environment policies in Europe.
3. Think of next steps
What should you do after the publication of a study? In EPBA’s case, the collection study gives plenty of food for thought. For example, it highlights best practices in some European countries on battery collection which can possibly be implemented in other countries in Europe. We will therefore pro-actively draw on the conclusions of the study in contacts with regulators and other organizations in the battery industry to use it as the basis for further discussions. Many studies can be used in a similar way to create added value internally in an association through the new knowledge that is generated and externally through the attention that a study can receive from peers in the industry or from regulators.
Collection of batteries may not be the sexiest topic you can think of, but do keep in mind that the above lessons are applicable to any association when you are preparing and publishing any type of written communication.