As Barbados approaches its 49th year of Independence next month, already top of mind for most local companies, and even international ones, is what can we do to demonstrate our nationalism and Bajan pride to recognise the island’s half-century milestone next year?
One question the budget conscious might ask is – do we have to do something? Is it ok not to publicly acknowledge this national milestone? My response to senior managers would be – can you afford not to? For example, is being perceived as locally sensitive/responsive or having a love for Barbados closely linked to your DNA? If so, my advice is that you should definitely be planning an event of sorts, or some type of initiative, that demonstrates your corporate support for (and acknowledgement of) this significant milestone in Barbadian history.
Over the last weeks, we have given some suggestions in our blogs for staging events as well as common types of events. So, at this point, I would like to bring to your attention some public relations considerations for planning a national anniversary celebration in Barbados. Here goes:
Use any national symbol like the country flag respectfully. For example, do not go graphics crazy and try to make over the flag into your logo – let it stand on its own in a place of prominence. More specifically, when using the Barbados Coat of Arms, it should always be placed at the top of a document, with no other logos or words preceding.
Do not use the anniversary as a selling tool. Companies tend to disguise their sales agendas by using CSR initiatives. While your anniversary initiative should still support your business objective, it should be a soft sell to build goodwill, rather than an obvious hard sell.
Get the whole organisation involved in the initiative. Especially if you are going for a long term promotion, make sure that everyone makes a contribution to what you are doing and is fully aware of the campaign. In my experience, initiatives fail or come over as disingenuous when they do not have the support of internal stakeholders.
Finally, Barbados’ Independence anniversary is a good time for companies associated with the Barbados Manufacturers Association to whip out their 100% Bajan logos to place on all products, stationery, advertising and promotional materials. You are the one group that can get away with hard sales using this logo, since it would be perceived as the continuation of your initiative to get Barbadians to buy local and demonstrates that you have always been a nationalistic organisation.
A key take-away – Be sure that the rationale for your national anniversary celebration, and the tactic you choose to highlight it, also support your business objective. That way, it’s bound to be a win-win situation. Happy planning!
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