The Independent Print Industries Association (IPIA) is a nonprofit membership organisation that sits at the heart of the UK's print industry. It has supported the sector for over 30 years.
The IPIA launched 'The Sourcing Bridge' on Guild in 2019 - a space for buyers and member suppliers in the print industry. It has become an active community where business relationships are made daily.
The IPIA also uses Guild as an internal communications messaging tool for its leadership team. It has replaced “cumbersome email chains”, ensuring that WhatsApp isn't used professionally for messaging and chat within the organisation.
The IPIA was originally set up to connect buyers and suppliers in the print industry, strengthen the long-term health of the sector and create new business opportunities.
During the Covid19 pandemic, the IPIA recognised an increased need for industry buyers and sellers to stay connected with each other in different ways.
Print businesses were looking at how to reduce costs as work decreased, while supporting staff and customers in a safe and sensible way. Many were pushing work out to trade print suppliers.
The IPIA wanted to find a way to bring the industry closer together and to enable them to help each other during a challenging time for businesses.
We spoke to Brendan Perring, the General Manager at the IPIA, who spearheaded 'The Sourcing Bridge' initiative and leadership communities on Guild. He described how 'The Sourcing Bridge' supports the wider industry and has helped IPIA members self-organise, taking administrative pressure off of the IPIA.
He also explains why they decided to use Guild instead of WhatsApp for internal communications and messaging.
How has Guild helped your membership organisation?
"We originally introduced Guild to improve communication within the IPIA administration & council teams. We would start email threads with 20 council members which quickly became very difficult to manage and follow. We wanted to find a better way to streamline these email conversations to make group discussions easier to keep up with
Creating ‘The Sourcing Bridge’ community on Guild has helped increase levels of engagement with our members and membership value.
It has helped overcome email fatigue and allows our members to interact independently of our executive team. This has further fostered the strength of our association.
We looked at the success of this member community and wondered how else we might use Guild.
The IPIA team is dispersed across the country. We looked WhatsApp for team messaging, but realised that it’s non-GDPR compliant and doesn't offer the kind of business and GDPR compliance that membership organisations like us need.
So we now use Guild for our internal comms and messaging. It has helped us streamline communications internally and has replaced lots of cumbersome email chains."
As a membership organisation, you’re always looking to increase value for your members. How has Guild helped with that?
"Guild is a great tool for our members and they all love it.
We get a lot of requests from our members asking us to introduce them to suppliers and buyers in the print industry.
However, during the pandemic working with the Government Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to help shape the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme meant that we were very stretched.
We needed a better way to manage communications between our members, whilst continuing to maintain strong relationships with the government to support our members through the crisis and beyond.
We recognised that bringing these businesses together on Guild would provide an opportunity for organisations to form business relationships.
We wanted this to be an organic process, without intervention from us.
As soon as we set up the group the community began to self-organise and make arrangements and connections amongst themselves - this was great to see."
What other benefits have you seen from hosting a membership community on Guild?
“A really important factor about Guild is that it provides you with a focussed professional space that allows our community to come together and interact without having to use personal messaging and community apps.
This provides a healthy separation between work and home, creating a much better balance. It also enables us to sustainably and effectively engage our member base, organise teams and run and promote projects.
Over the years since we launched the membership community on Guild, the platform has added useful features such as the Video Rooms but has maintained its usability and is still simple to use on mobile or desktop. Every new feature introduced is helpful and not a gimmick.”
We're delighted we found Guild to support the IPIA and our members. We're looking forward to more innovative uses for Guild from the IPIA team."
Are you a membership organisation or association looking for a better way to engage with your members?
See for yourself how the Guild experience is different to WhatsApp, Slack, LinkedIn or Facebook Groups.
Guild is a safe space to connect, communicate and collaborate with others.
Join us on a platform that is purpose-built for creating groups, communities and networks on mobile.