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Wed 11th Aug 2010

Government Cut Communications Budget - A Risky Strategy?

The issue of branding and communications was in the news today as the government announced major cuts in their communications budget, halving it to 40 million. But have they done the right thing? The success of some government campaigns has been undeniable. A large campaign to tackle chip pan fires reduced fire brigade call outs by 40%. The campaign undoubtedly saved money. The cost of an advertising campaign was around a couple of million but the costs of call outs would have far exceeded that.

However some campaigns are not successful. Current campaigns aimed at tackling unhealthy eating and lack of exercise have had very little affect according to the Food Standards Agency, but have cost a significant amount over the last ten years.

The key things that brand managers can learn from these case studies are the necessity of providing relevant and inspirational branding. The chip pan fires adverts worked because they were answering the demands of a real issue and it was done in a memorable way. The healthy eating campaign did not work because it was making demands of people without offering a practical solution. As a brand you want to be able to create an impact that has relevance to your potential customers lives, and if a campaign is not working you should cut it and minimise damages.

There are a number of ways that creating a strong brand will enable you to maximise profitability. The main psychological advantage of a brand is that it should associate your business with a desirable level of quality. This then allows you to charge more for your products or services whilst maintaining and increasing levels of sales. There are a number of elements to creating a strong brand, from designing a name to creating a strong advertising campaign. One of the best ways to get to grips with the world of brand management is to meet industry experts who can advise you on your business strategy. There are many brand management courses available which offer the opportunity to meet leading experts from the field as well as teaching branding theory.

Marketing and advertising in a recession will help to keep your business afloat, in the governments case it is essential that they only cut campaigns which do not offer a return on investment. Many people regard advertising as an easy cut to make in business when times are tight. However if people are not using your services because they are unaware of them then you are cutting outgoings at the cost of doing business; not a sensible reaction to difficult times. One of the key things to do is to look at your brand management, this includes pricing structure, cost structures and marketing budgets as well as the impact and success of any branded advertising you are undertaking.

Business strategy and brand management are linked together, it is important to consistently evaluate the affect that your brand has on your business. If you do not regularly remind people of your position in the market place you can loose ground rapidly.