Using promotion to campaign for public services
A UNISON case study

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Page 2: Objectives of promotion

unison-2Promotion can be used for a number of reasons. For example, promotional activity can increase sales, raise awareness or concerns about particular issues, develop a brand image or alter public opinion. As an organisation representing more than a million people, UNISON uses promotion to raise public awareness of issues and attract people to its membership.

SMART objectives

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 be measured and evaluated. One way of thinking about how to set objectives is through using the acronym SMART:

  • Specific – objectives should be precise and clearly identifiable
  • Measurable – by being measurable it is easy to see whether the objective has been met
  • Achievable –the objectives set need to be achievable, neither too ambitious nor too easily met
  • Relevant – meeting the objectives should help to achieve the overall long-term aims of the organisation or campaign
  • Time-bound – adequate time needs to be allocated to achieve the 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.


mv_public_services_362sqUNISON’s A Million Voices for Public Services campaign was launched in July 2009 in light of proposed funding cuts to the public sector. The campaign calls for public interest to be put ahead of profit. It urges politicians and the public to realise the importance of public services and to ‘add their voice’ to the campaign.  It has a number of aims:

  • The union wants to bring together all its work in defending public services and job cuts. This would combine the work of all of the local union branches in different parts of the public sector who are undertaking their own campaigns under one single umbrella theme called A Million Voices for Public Services campaign.
  • UNISON also wants to help both its members and the public in general to understand the real impact of the cuts. For example, cuts will affect number of jobs and conditions of service, such as pay or holidays for employees. On the other hand, cuts could influence how services such as healthcare and education are made available to the population in general.
  • A Million Voices for Public Services campaign reflects UNISON’s voice in speaking up for its million-plus members. The campaign also aimed to attract members of the public and trade unionists to show active support and sign up to the campaign to protect public services. This would help the message grow and this would meet another objective – to create pressure on the government to change political direction and recognise the need to defend public services.
  • In all of its campaign work, UNISON also aims to increase its membership by showing how the union is active on behalf of its members.

UNISON | Using promotion to campaign for public services