What words/images comes to your mind when you think ‘Government‘? – Likely, it would be aged, slow-moving, ,dhoti-sporting, ridiculously diplomatic statement-making politicians – right?
And what pops up when you think or branding/advertising/marketing – Likely, a guy with long hair tied up in a pony-tail, oozing energy, and wearing trendy clothes – am I right again?
By a very common sense, it can be seen that the personalizations of the two words lead to entirely different personalities – two sets of people who are never likely to be sharing any personality traits, and hence any business concerns.
But yet, instances are growing where the Government and the marketers are coming together to create various ad campaigns. And this is happening because some Governments have realized that in this age of information clutter, you need strokes of a genius marketeer to get your message across to the customer (which usually is the common public)
Governments, both of countries as well as states within them, seek out revenues to sustain themselves. In general, the government deals with industries themselves, earning revenues by granting rights and access to resources (land, power, water supply etc), which by law are owned by them.
If a government wants to sell itself to an industry, usually it would be in the form of what is traditionally called as a ‘sales pitch’, which will be delivered inside boardrooms in swanky hotels, trying to woo industrialists to invest in their state/country.
Not all such campaigns are inside-closed-rooms BTL pitches though. A classic example of a full-blown ATL campaign targeted at industrialists, showcasing business opportunities up for grabs in a state, was the quite famous Vibrant Gujarat campaign. Vibrant Gujarat is mass scale annual industrial summit organized by the Government of Gujarat, wherein corporations from across the world sign thousands of crores of MoUs. The same is widely publicized through news channels, newspapers, radio etc. It helps generate a very strong business-friendly image of Gujarat state machinery.
However, there are certain revenue sources where the government earns directly from the spending of the end-consumer himself/herself. A prime example of such a revenue source is Tourism. A well flourished tourism industry will aid the government not only in generating revenues, but also in helping generate jobs leading to self-sustaining economies. Hence, in this current era of growing incomes, with tourism on the rise, governments at all levels try to woo the consumers themselves.
Let us see some examples of such ads before we talk about them further:
As you watch these ads, you would notice that every campaign is designed around a central theme/concept. The theme refers to the basic positioning that every geography wants to portray – So Dubai talks about Shopping festivals with lots of exciting deals, Malaysia projects itself as a mini-representation of Asia, Madhya Pradesh talks about the traditions of India and Kerala presents itself as the place of nature’s true beauty which could only have been created by God. (Kerala deserves a special mention here – not only were they among the first states in India to start promoting tourism, but are also well advanced in it. They know that the youth amongst today’s tourists are frequently online. So they have uploaded lots of videos depicting Kerala and its beauty on YouTube (the link above is to the Kerala Tourism YouTube page))
Usually, every place has sufficient good things to attract a tourist which can be shown in a video clip. The trick to a successful tourism marketing campaign is to string together all the relevant things to develop a coherent positioning statement. So, as you see above, the Madhya Pradesh ad doesn’t lay much emphasis on the scenic beauty of Panchmarhi, Dhauladhaar waterfall etc., and focuses on traditional and historic things because that’s what they have decided to be the projected USP of the state. Taking a hypothetical case, Goa tourism should talk about the youth and the hippie culture there, and not about the strong presence of churches and christianity there – because Goa is all about an amalgamation of youth and fun, and this is the quality which should be leveraged.
Hence, as we see above, when the Government realizes that the end-consumer is the direct source of revenue for them, they decide to partner with the marketeers of the world, and churn out campaigns promoting themselves as tourism hotspots, trying their best to boost their own tourism revenues. That’s what marketing is all about at the end of the day – be it for the government or for the corporates.