Communication of the Economy Stimulation Plan: new possibilities for a discussion with business community
Global and local economic meltdown in the late 2008 caused a decrease in country’s GDP by up to 18 percent, an increased unemployment and stagnation of business sector. In order to stimulate the slowed-down economy the Economy Stimulation Plan (ESP) was worked up.
The plan included measures to encourage business in searching for new markets, implementing innovations, forming potent and more innovatory service sector, thus preserving existent and creating new jobs. Most of those measures were financed from 2007-2013 European Union (EU) structural funds and implemented by the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania.
Since most of the ESP’s measures targeted Lithuanian business enterprises directly, the main goal of ESP’s communication was reaching business as well as general publics. Firstly, the agency had to find a way to represent the opportunities coming from the State, but in the language today’s business speaks. Secondly, the main ideas had to be put out comprehensively and attractively, taking into consideration the requirements concerning the communication of the measures financed by 2007-2013 EU structural funds at the same time.
New ways of communication had to be created in order to reach a goal we were facing. The basic solutions targeted renewing the content of communication and also planning methods. It was decided to communicate ESP’s measures mostly through presenting business cases of companies that have used EU’s support, which would be an appeal to other firms. The enterprises, which had been using measures of the ESP, became spokesmen for this plan: presenting their success stories they told about their business results and expectations; revealing their plans they were mapping new jobs that were about to be created, as well as growing investments or an increased export. Success stories’ communication was enhanced with a visual part – the illustrations included images of new products or workplace views. Planning of communication channels called out for insightfulness, and business communication media led the dance:
- A publication State and Business was created and distributed together with business daily Verslo Žinios. Effective reach of the target audience was ensured by distributing the publication in state institutions that are often visited by business representatives (e. g. the State Tax Office, the Centre of Registers and alike).
- The local firms’ success stories, published in national and regional press, were recognisable due to their common specific layout; they told stories of the found new possibilities and could reach the rest of the sector, providing the basic information on ESP’s measures.
- Reports featuring the representatives of the companies, which used the supporting measures, were broadcasted in national TV and radio channels.
- Representatives of the country’s institutions joined the conference of small and medium business Gazelė 2010. In nine regions of Lithuania different events took place, during which the representatives of the Ministry of Economy presented opportunities for business offered by ESP, and also businessmen that had used them shared their knowledge. During these events direct contacts were made between representatives of state institutions and business people. There were over one thousand businessmen participating in the Gazelė 2010 conference.
The communication was planned with regards to the aim of reaching the maximum number of people within certain timeline and choosing not only the term relevant to business, but also using topical channels.
The agency managed to concentrate channels of business communication and to reach needed audience, creating consistent news distribution and using the potential of different media. This was implemented striving to constantly discover new ways of communication and using one of the most profound agency’s experience in communicating business and public sector projects.
The analysis that followed has proved the information campaign of ESP to reach 78 percent of the common and 83 percent of the targeted business audience. According to the research data, the respondents familiar with ESP’s measures estimated the plan as being beneficial, and almost one third of them pointed out the fact that those measures were really effective. According to the institutions that are in charge of implementing ESP’s stimulating measures, the communication enhanced the number of companies both interested and applying for the participation. Aside to that, the number of ESP’s positive mentioning in the media increased and so did awareness of the Economical Development Action Plan of the EU structural funds.