Why you need to be in communication for the long haul

When Peter Field, widely known as ‘The Godfather of Effectiveness’, spoke at the recent Australian Effies, he described short term thinking as a “disease” spreading through the industry.

And he was right.

This was the topic of Rosie Baker’s recent article The Long Game in the February edition of AdNews.

As online communication tactics increase, short-term thinking is slowly slipping into campaigns whether it’s intended or not.

Many are falling into the social media trap that appears effective with quick results, but can ultimately neglect the long-term objectives the organisation is trying to achieve.

So how can government departments stay strong to their brand while addressing the changing demands that appear along the way?

Organisations should create a story about who they are and what they do, and make sure that every future campaign embodies this.

The art of telling a long-term story of a brand is a mixture of consistency, purpose and emotion.

Creating a successful story teaches the audience who the company is and what their purpose is from the company’s perspective.

The long-term reinforcement of this instils a sense of familiarity and trust – qualities that every government department needs to inspire in their audience.

Here are some examples of companies in the private sector that have successfully created a long-term story:

Specsavers

The tagline “should have gone to Specsavers” has been used in the UK since 2003. It’s present in all advertisement, featuring a person making an obvious mistake due to a lack of eyesight.

The marketing team has also cleverly adapted the tagline to piggy-back off high-profile events and draw attention to themselves.

For example, when organisers mistakenly flew the North Korean flag instead of South Korean flag at the 2012 Olympics, Specsavers ran ads that referenced the error with the line “should have gone to Specsavers”.

The tagline is easily recognised, versatile and successfully tells the story that you need Specsavers to not make a fool of yourself.

Fairy Liquid (UK)

Fairy Liquid is another company that repositioned their brand after receiving undesirable figures in the market.

They developed ‘Enduring Care’ – a campaign that revived emotional ties with the brand’s 50-year heritage and history. It saw a 40% sales increase over the next 4 years.

The success of the campaign was put down to consistency of brand message, building on heritage, tapping into emotion and cultural awareness.

Or in other words, they created a story that represented how they wanted the product to be seen and the values they hold most important, and successfully shared this with their audience.


While these private sector companies’ purpose and objectives differ from those in the public sector, the lesson of telling a successful brand story is still there to be learned.

So, how do government departments know how much they should be investing in the long-term?

Peter Field is an advocate for the 60/40 rule.

The 60/40 rule states that 60% of a campaign budget should be invested in long-term brand building activities, with the other 40% going towards tactical activity.

So, when designing your next campaign, consider your short-term tactics are and whether or not they are helping to tell your story.

As the saying goes, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Olivia is a contentgroup intern from the University of Canberra. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Communication in Public Relations in 2017. contentgroup host 6-8 interns from the University of Canberra per year. Our 2017 internship program is running between March and November, click here for more information.

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