We’ve all worked or work for global organizations. The way they are run is that usually there is a central set of rules, standards, global controls and global belief and culture passed down to locals who then execute the vision. Â I believe that the WAA is attempting to do the same thing (essentially) whilst maintaining a unified brand and a unified approach on a local level.
Let me first say I have no problem with that approach, especially in immature markets. It has served us well for the first 5 years of the WAA but I just feel in certain cases it is outgrowing this method. I don’t dispute the good work done to date by Jim, Aurelie, Rene, Miles, Dennis, Stephane and a ton of others I haven’t mentioned but do you really think that going forward a global organization based in the USA can service other countries as well as the US?
We had 300 people at the last WAA event in Finland and we got 2 sign-ups for the â¬1000 or so that was spent by the WAA on the event according to Petri – Finlands country manager.
Is that a good ROI for the WAA? I would argue it’s a very poor return on both the Finnish WAA funds for the year 2009 and for the global WAA. A CPA of â¬500 per sign up. So where is the mechanism to activate that crowd? How do we get them involved with the local community beyond free events? Where is the benefit for the WAA?
In Finland at least the groundwork of awareness has been generated (300 people is a good size), that’s the first job of a country group or country manager but when you get to a certain size you need more local organization to activate things and that costs real money to take it to the next level. That is the brutal reality.
A global organization can work if it is prepared to heavily invest in local operations. Usually global giants follow the model where the most successful countries are the ones where the steady funds are directed with smaller “exploratory” funds directed to high potential markets.
The WAA can’t do the same thing as it’s a non-profit, they simply don’t have the resources. There are only 2 ways to generate finance.
1) The WAA as it stands now funds operations. The question is how do you allocate budget? Kalle Heinonen submitted a budget request based on reality in 2008 to really build the Finnish membership and it was refused on the grounds that what we’d asked for was simply too high.
2) We generate local funding when certain levels of maturity are reached in different markets. Finland, Sweden, Denmark, France the UK and Spain could be focusing their efforts on supporting local memberships while paying a percentage of subscription fees back to the WAA in order to use the brand and have access to global standards, materials etc.
I am not trying to be controversial for the sake of it, all I am saying is that when a certain level of maturity is reached in the local market you need an increased level of professionalism and finance to run things. I am not saying an EUWAA would help either. I think it needs to be a kind of mature market by mature market kind of franchise.