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8 July 2015

To comment or not to comment? Should business wade in on the budget?

Written by: Katie Waring, Director at Edelman

Corporate Reputation, Government Affairs

For Westminster watchers, today was a milestone; the first Conservative Budget for 20 years. How would George Osborne play his hand now the Lib Dems aren’t there calling his bluff?

For business leaders and communications teams it poses a more tactical question: should they broadcast the corporate reaction to the Chancellor’s plans, or remain under the radar and let their public affairs team work some magic behind closed doors?

It is a crowded marketplace and the effort to make your voice heard can be a poor return on investment in the aftermath of the Budget. And it carries risks: what if you support a headline policy only for the tabloids to rip it to shreds in the following days once everyone has read the fine print?  Commentators and customers can be guaranteed to unite in condemning you for backing the latest unpopular initiative.

However, with risk can come reward. Those within the Westminster bubble, especially inside Government, pore over the business reaction to any policy announcement. Inevitably, whoever shouts loudest gets listened to – it can perfectly compliment a public affairs campaign and get you an invite to the next roundtable discussion on Policy X, Y, or Z.

The media, desperate to avoid an indigestible diet of politicians talking to each other, are always looking for an interesting voice to add colour and help their audience understand the real implications of the budget. The Edelman Trust Barometer continually reminds us that people trust business leaders more than political ones.

Those businesses wanting to build the media profile of their leadership teams and their credentials as the kind of people who have big ideas, can use the Budget as a chance to open doors and get in front of a microphone – and be taken seriously.

Wading in to the Budget furore needs careful planning but it’s a huge opportunity to get you noticed in all the right places and it gives organisations a great platform on which to build profile and campaigns.

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