A Brief DescriptionThe annual Budget Speech is one of the most-anticipated and most-watched government addresses in South Africa. It's the day that the finance minister introduces new tax regulations and rates for the year ahead, and outlines how the government plans to spend taxpayers' money. Each year, Sage runs a communications campaign to educate businesses-especially Small & Medium Businesses—about how they will be impacted by the legal and tax changes contained in the Budget.
This is an opportunity to showcase the expertise Sage's spokespeople have in tax and compliance to the media and the wider market, as well as to promote Sage's accounting, HR and payroll solutions, its Tax Seminars and free tax tools.
For the 2018 Budget, we launched an integrated 360-degree social media, marketing and PR campaign to highlight Sage's role as a voice for businesses and to build the brand among potential customers and existing customers.
The theme of our campaign was "Worry-free payroll with built-in compliance". We approached the Budget Speech from the perspective of Sage's customers, using Sage's extensive library of SME research. We kicked off our campaign by driving conversation around the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and sharing our expectations for the upcoming Budget Speech.
We also conducted desk research, which helped us come up with fresh, customer-focused angles for our content, which included video, traditional PR collateral, social media and thought leadership articles, positioning Sage's spokespeople as trusted experts.
An increase in Value-Added Tax (VAT) from 14% to 15% — the first VAT increase in 25 years—gave us a fresh angle for this year's Budget. Usually, the Budget primarily affects our payroll customers, but this year also gave as an opportunity to talk about our accounting solutions.
Sage dominated business and financial pages across South Africa, in the weeks leading up to the Budget Speech and after.
Sage's thought leadership strategy was so successful that it reached an audience of 100 million readers/businesses, despite competition for coverage from heavy-hitting influencers. We implemented a national campaign within three weeks, exceeding all of Sage's objectives. We also sold out Tax Seminars countrywide.
This campaign turned out to be a massive success - executed on a shoestring budget of R62 700 ($4500).