America has a tough job – there’s no doubt about it. The organization has to defend the rights of cigar smokers, a group generally reviled by non-smokers and small enough that it can’t marshal the resources to defend itself effectively. The cigar industry is not a rich one, and the challenges we face come from organization with larger war chests and fiercer commitments to victory.
And the CRA has to combat this to protect our rights.
Barry over at A Cigar Smoker leveled some fair criticism at the CRA yesterday, and provided some important advice on how the group can become more effective:
- CRA needs a publicist and to get the name out there.
- CRA needs to be in the public eye in the press and media outlets.
- CRA needs a celebrity spokesperson much like the NRA had Heston
- CRA needs better ambassadors that get the word out.
- CRA needs better management (7 out of my 10 emails/messages go unanswered)
Much of this simply requires internal improvement and member communications diligence. But, even internal operational improvements can be impossible for an organization with a thin budget, let alone investing in a substantial media/public presence. Frankly, before the CRA can make these necessary improvements, it needs money.
How can the CRA get more cash? That’s where its members come into play, particularly those members that are natural amplifiers: retailers, bloggers and manufacturers – not to mention traditional cigar media. These stakeholders are crucial to helping the CRA increase its member base, which would supply additional capital for investment in everything from member relations to PR and industry positioning.
I agree that the CRA could be more efficient, but we have to be realistic: it doesn’t happen without money. That’s the problem we need to solve first
Disclosure: I am a member of the CRA.