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Business case study Unison by The Times100

Business case study Unison by The Times100

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Published by: Ajaya Dhungana on Jul 23, 2012
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08/01/2013

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Introduction
One of the key areas of the
marketing mix
is promotion.Promotion is the process of communicating with an organisation’saudiences. It involves sending a message which is received byothers. Sending the right message through appropriate
media
isvery important. This is because as individuals receive messages,they are making judgements. Effective communications are thereforethose that establish common thoughts between the sender and thereceiver. Although this is not an easy process, it is a particularlyimportant one for a large public service trade union like UNISON. A trade union is an organisation that represents the interests of employees. Membership of a union has several benefits. Since aunion represents many workers, it can have a bigger influence onemployers than individual employees would have. One of the keyroles of a trade union therefore is negotiation and
collectivebargaining
with employers. Other benefits of trade unionmembership include training, advice and legal support.UNISON is Britain and Europe’s largest public service union. It hasmore than 1.3 million members. These members work in publicservices such as the NHS, local authorities, the police service,schools, universities and community and voluntary organisations. They may also work for private contractors that provide publicservices within the electricity, gas and water industries.Public services help to protect and enrich lives. People across thecountry rely upon them. Representing such a large number of people working within public services is a huge responsibility.UNISON exists to protect and promote public services as well asits members. Alongside its traditional role of negotiation UNISONalso has a key communication function. This involves campaigningand lobbying on the many issues affecting their members and thepublic sector. For example, this could be about equal pay,employment rights, safety in the workplace, discrimination,harassment at work, fuel poverty or fair trade. The current government agenda has posed a number of challenges for public services. Spending cuts particularly in thepublic sector have an impact on UNISON members, their familiesand the general public.
Curriculum Topics
Marketing mixPromotion Above-the-lineBelow-the-line
      G     L      O      S      S     A     R     Y
www.thetimes100.co.uk
Marketing mix:
 The combination of product, price, promotion anddistribution (place) used to generateprofitable sales – often called the 4Ps.
Media:
Channels of communicationwith other audiences such as television,internet, radio, newspapers andmagazines.
Collective bargaining:
 The process bywhich representatives of the workforcenegotiate with an employer over pay,conditions and terms of work.
www.thetimes100.co.ukUNISON
| Using promotion to campaign for public services117
Using promotion to campaign for public services
Healthand
s
afetyEqual payEmploymentright
s
FuelpovertyFairtradeHara
ss
mentDi
s
crimination
CampaignI
ss
ue
s
 
 This case study focuses on how UNISON has promoted its A Million Voices for Public Services campaign. It has used a rangeof methods and technologies designed to reach a variety of different audiences. In doing so it helps individuals to understandthe significance of what is happening within the public sector andthe effects which government policies will have on public servicesand the people who work to provide them.
Objectives of promotion
Promotion can be used for a number of reasons. For example,promotional activity can increase sales, raise awareness orconcerns about particular issues, develop a brand image or alterpublic opinion. As an organisation representing more than a millionpeople, UNISON uses promotion to raise public awareness of issues and attract people to its membership.Every promotional campaign requires a direction and setting
objectives
helps to clarify what the expected outcomes will be.Objectives are specific and purposeful statements that can bemeasured and evaluated. One way of thinking about how to setobjectives is through using the acronym SMART:
S
pecific – objectives should be precise and clearly identifiable
M
easurable – by being measurable it is easy to see whetherthe objective has been met
chievable –the objectives set need to be achievable, neithertoo ambitious nor too easily met
R
elevant – meeting the objectives should help to achieve theoverall long-term aims of the organisation or campaign
T
ime-bound – adequate time needs to be allocated to achievethe objectives. An example of one of UNISON’s campaign SMART objectives is‘to increase membership to 1.5 million members by July 2013’. This will allow it to grow stronger as an organisation.UNISON’s A Million Voices for Public Services campaign waslaunched in July 2009 in light of proposed funding cuts to thepublic sector. The campaign calls for public interest to be putahead of profit. It urges politicians and the public to realise theimportance of public services and to ‘add their voice’ to thecampaign. It has a number of aims. The union wants to bring together all its work in defending publicservices and job cuts. This would combine the work of all of thelocal union branches in different parts of the public sector who areundertaking their own campaigns under one single umbrellatheme called A Million Voices for Public Services campaign.UNISON also wants to help both its members and the public ingeneral to understand the real impact of the cuts. For example,cuts will affect number of jobs and conditions of service, suchas pay or holidays for employees. On the other hand, cutscould influence how services such as healthcare and educationare made available to the population in general. A Million Voices for Public Services campaign reflectsUNISON’s voice in speaking up for its million-plus members. The campaign also aimed to attract members of the public andtrade unionists to show active support and sign up to thecampaign to protect public services. This would help themessage grow and this would meet another objective - tocreate pressure on the government to change political directionand recognise the need to defend public services.In all of its campaign work, UNISON also aims to increase itsmembership by showing how the union is active on behalf of its members.
Promotion
 The word ‘promotion’ conjures up images of advertisements throughwhich organisations try to persuade consumers to buy goods andservices. However, promotion is not simply about advertising. The
promotional mix
has a range of different communication tools. Forinstance, firms may use
sales promotions
,
sponsorship
, directmarketing and
public relations
within the mix. Each of these needsto be carefully tailored and designed to meet the objectives of thepromotional campaign.UNISON’s campaign was not intended to encourage individuals tobuy goods and services. Instead it was trying to help individuals tounderstand some of the complicated messages coming from themedia and government. In doing this it was helping them to buyinto a set of beliefs. This would inform and then persuadeindividuals to sign up for the campaign.
 G O S  S 
Objectives:
 The specific goals thatorganisations or individuals seek toachieve.
Promotional mix:
 The selection of methods used by a business topromote sales of its products e.g.special offers, tactical price reductions,special displays.
Sales promotion:
Incentives, usuallyfor a limited period, to purchase acompany's product.
Sponsorship:
Where an organisationfunds a sporting, community or culturalevent in return for exposure of theirname or brand.
Public relations:
Organisationalcommunications with externalstakeholder groups and the generalpublic.
www.thetimes100.co.ukUNISON
| Using promotion to campaign for public services118
www.thetimes100.co.uk
 
 The AIDA model helps to show how the UNISON campaigncaptured the attention of UNISON members and the public.
 A 
ttention
 Through the TV, press and internet, the campaign attractedthe attention of a huge number of people.
I
nterest
 This stimulated the interest of union members as well asthe public to get involved.
D
esire
People developed a desire to join the campaign andmake a difference.
 A 
ction
 They then took action by signing up to support the Million Voices campaign or taking part in the other organisedevents. Those who ‘added their voice’ saw their messageappear on a website and were also able to opt in to receiveemail campaign actions.
 There are many ways of using promotion to persuade andreassure people. To reach all of its different audiences, UNISONused a range of different techniques to encourage individuals tosign up for its campaign. The Million Voices campaign used a mixof older style techniques to reach people like television and pressadvertising. It also used newer techniques such as social mediasites, viral video and the internet.
 Above-the-line promotion
 Above-the-line
promotion uses mass media such as the press,radio, television, cinema or poster sites. This type of promotion isusually paid-for. Each of the possible media methods can be usedto target audiences in different market segments. There are bothstrengths and drawbacks to these forms of media:UNISON embarked on a wave of television, internet and newspaperadverts for the Million Voicescampaign. They warned that thevital services provided by publicsector workers could disappearif the funding cuts went ahead. The adverts featured a list of vitalpublic service jobs fading out of sight and featured the tagline‘Don’t wait until they’re gone todefend them’. A powerfulcampaign film was also releasedthat illustrated how local communities would be affected by cuts. A version of this film aimed at recruiting members to UNISON wasshown on television using DRTV (direct response television – agood value way of buying television space based on viewingnumbers rather than programme status). The online and newspaperadverts linked back to the campaign website where people canregister their support and add a comment. Since above-the-linepromotion can reach such a huge audience, it was an ideal choiceto generate a wider awareness of the plight of the public sector.
Below-the-line promotion
Below-the-line
promotion involves promotional techniques whichaim to reach consumers more directly and which are more withinthe organisation’s control. Below-the-line promotions includedifferent and interesting ways of connecting with targeted groups.UNISON used a variety of different below-the-line promotions todevelop its Million Voices campaign. These included:
Public relations
– PR helps to create a positive environmentthrough various publicity activities. To get the attention of political parties, the union alsocreated melting ice-sculpturesof a school crossing patroland a hospital porter whichwere unveiled at Labour andConservative partyconferences. Press releasesand news slots help UNISONto show that cuts in publicservices affect people in allwalks of life. They enablepeople to identify with theissues in discussion.
www.thetimes100.co.ukUNISON
| Using promotion to campaign for public services119
www.thetimes100.co.uk
      G     L      O      S      S     A     R     Y
 Above-the-line:
Promotion throughadvertising: TV, radio, internet, press,etc.
Below-the-line:
Indirect salespromotion other than advertising.
Strengths
 They reach a large audience quickly. They may have an immediateimpact. They help to keep the story in thepublic eye through ongoingcampaigns. They help to make a campaignvery visible to large audiences.
Drawbacks
 These media are often expensive.With these broad and often massmedia it is sometimes difficult totarget specific audiences.It is sometimes harder to getimmediate feedback from theseforms of media to evaluate theeffectiveness of a campaign. They may be lost amongst otheradvertising.

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