Using promotion to campaign for public services
A UNISON case study

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Page 1: Introduction

111unison-libertyseptember-One of the key areas of the marketing mix is promotion. Promotion is the process of communicating with an organisation’s audiences. It involves sending a message which is received by others.

Sending the right message through appropriate media is very important. This is because as individuals receive messages, they are making judgements. Effective communications are therefore those that establish common thoughts between the sender and the receiver. Although this is not an easy process, it is a particularly important 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 a union represents many workers, it can have a bigger influence on employers than individual employees would have. One of the key roles of a trade union therefore is negotiation and collective bargaining with employers. Other benefits of trade union membership include training, advice and legal support.

Britain and Europe's largest public service union

UNISON is Britain and Europe’s largest public service union. It has more than 1.3 million members. These members work in public services 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 public services within the electricity, gas and water industries. Public services help to protect and enrich lives. People across the country rely upon them. Representing such a large number of people working within public services is a huge responsibility.

unison-1UNISON exists to protect and promote public services as well as its members. Alongside its traditional role of negotiation UNISON also has a key communication function. This involves campaigning and lobbying on the many issues affecting their members and the public 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 the public sector have an impact on UNISON members, their families and the general public.

This case study focuses on how UNISON has promoted its A Million Voices for Public Services campaign. It has used a range of methods and technologies designed to reach a variety of different audiences. In doing so it helps individuals to understand the significance of what is happening within the public sector and the effects which government policies will have on public services and the people who work to provide them.

UNISON | Using promotion to campaign for public services