By Guest Blogger:

Richard Kimber, Senior Manager

Comotion Consulting

This is the first in a series of articles around ‘member-centricity’, and what it takes for an organisation to become a truly member led business. We will break down how membership organisations can re-write their DNA to become sustainable, adaptable to change and resilient, by creating structures and capabilities that enable them to provide against their members’ true needs consistently.

So what exactly do we mean by ‘member led’?

Whether you call you call your end user a customer or member, analysis of businesses across all sectors over the last ten years shows overwhelmingly that ‘customer led’ businesses are more profitable and financially sustainable in their sectors. You only need to take a look at the UK Customer Satisfaction results to see the consistent correlation between high levels of customer satisfaction performance and market share.

By way of a definition, this is a good start as it outlines where the emphasis needs to be;

“Customer-led companies are characterized by an increasingly strong employee focus on customers, a shared understanding of key customers, an effort to satisfy customer segments, the ability to bring customer propositions to market, and a high level of employee engagement.”1 

We work as a strategic consultancy across many sectors including the Membership and Associations space, and we often find that beyond the rhetoric of aspiring to become more member-centric, organisations struggle to translate this into genuine change. This is largely due to the fact that it is something that touches all areas of the business and ultimately requires a realigning of its DNA. In short, it is potentially complex – but we can simplify things to provide a practical path forward.

We have been analysing businesses for years and have broken down exactly what it means in practical terms, to reap the benefits of becoming a world class member led organisation. This is what we will be sharing with you over the next few articles. In short, it requires a journey of evolution across 6 capabilities:



1.       STRATEGY

2.       INSIGHT

3.       DESIGN

4.       DELIVERY


6.       CULTURE



In addition, for each of the above pillars, we can define levels of ‘maturity’ that show the stage of evolution that an organisation is operating at:

  • Basic

  • Emergent

  • Repeatable

  • Embedded

  • World Class


These levels create a framework for progression, a series of steppingstones on the path to increasing maturity.

We see many businesses at the moment undergoing transformations, particularly ‘digital’ transformations. These programmes are risky and costly, but we find that those businesses that have an aligned plan underpinning the transformation (whether digital or otherwise), to equip the organisation to create more value for their members and provide a superior experience foremost, will be the most successful. In this way, our model of the 6 pillars can also provide a health check on any large-scale change programme.

So that’s what we mean by being ‘member’ led. By looking across the six pillars within any organisation you can get an understanding of where you are now and more importantly work out where you need to be and create a plan to get you there by improving alignment to benefit both members and the organisation alike.

Next time…

We’ve going to dive into the 6 pillars individually and talk through some of the key elements to each one at the different levels of maturity to give you more insight and understanding into moving towards being truly member led at your core.


Comotion is a strategic growth consultancy that has recognised expertise in the events space. It was founded on the principle that in the ‘age of the customer’ successful solutions require a blend of “Commercial” and “Emotion” (Com-otion) in their application.