Icing on mud pie

I cannot stand waste. And this week the debate about how the Government is spending $38 million on selling a tax package has really made me mad!

What a waste! (Though not for the agency, or media who are the recipient of the funds). But as a marketer I know you cannot spend yourself into having a great brand image. Building a brand takes so much more than advertising. No amount of icing can hide the mud in mud pie.

I remember years ago Ansett airline spent a fortune trying to boost the ‘morale’ of its employees (I was one of them) by creating an advertising campaign. ‘You can’t have the greatest airline in the world without the greatest people.’ Fantastic sentiment, which they spent millions on creating TV ads depicting different employee groups of the airline saying how great they thought the airline was…. Yet just a few months later (while the ads were still on air) the pilots first chose to strike and then resign and we didn’t have an aviation industry for nine months. There was clearly something structurally wrong – and no amount of advertising spending was going to fix it. Icing on mud pie.

Fast forward to this Government’s $38 million spend and I see exactly the same thing. People are not idiots and we are being treated as if we are. You cannot dress this so-called tax reform up (mud pie). The fact that there is so much debate means something is not right – and there has clearly not been the consultation and inclusion needed from business.

If I was running the show I would not be spending money on advertising (yes you heard this from a die hard marketer), I would be looking at how I can save money; I would be looking at the discretionary effort that each person in the public sector has to offer; I would be hiring really, really smart people; I would be making those in the public sector feel very, very proud of where they work; I would notice their contribution and make sure others knew what they would do. I would spend money on recognition. I would make our teachers, doctors and police people feel like heroes (that they are) and the administrators who support them… heroes for what they do.

I’m a simple woman; no matter what business you are in (including government) nothing can get done without the contribution of individuals all aligned and heading in the one direction. If they spent that $38 million on the people of the public sector – you would see a far greater return on the investment – and not have to sell a fundamentally muddy tax system.

Naomi Simson is considered one of Australia’s ‘Best Bosses’. She is an employee engagement advocate and practices what she preaches in her own business. RedBalloon has been named as one of only six Hewitt Best Employers in Australia and New Zealand for 2009 and awarded an engagement scorecard of over 90% two years in a row – the average in Australian businesses is 55%. RedBalloon has also been nominated by BRW as being in the top 10 Best Places to Work in Australia behind the likes of Google. One of Australia’s outstanding female entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a passionate speaker inspiring people on employer branding, engagement and reward and recognition. Naomi writes a blogand is a published author – and has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded – RedBalloon.com.au.


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