The Electrical Worker online
July 2014

From the Officers
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We're Spreading the News

Google the term "marketing." If you wanted to, you could spend a month reading about how different businesses sell their image, their reputation and their products. Or, if you desired, you could apply to enter a college or university to receive a degree in the field.

For several generations, the IBEW and other unions looked at marketing as a businessman's game. In electrical construction, we figured that our skills, the buildings we constructed and the plants we maintained spoke for themselves. We did our jobs. We let our employers speak for their businesses.

Those days are gone. And, in my mind, it's about time. The experience of the First District shows why.

Our brothers and sisters north of 49 realized that most of their signatory contractors' nonunion competitors advertise broadly. And they also knew that, with more Canadian political leaders following the path of union adversaries in the U.S., they just couldn't let untruths about unions and our values go unchallenged. So they aired national ads featuring IBEW members at work and launched a website profiling members and local unions who reach out and support their neighbors.

These efforts mirror those in the U.S., where, for the last couple of years, we have been airing national ads during football season and on news networks introducing viewers to our union members at work.

Some locals have been airing ads for years, and many others are now getting into the act. National advertising is absolutely necessary. But it's expensive. Targeting local media markets is not only cheaper. Local union marketing is a way to zero in on particular projects, to stack up our skills against the competition and win new work.

In our consumer-driven economies, brands are important. With our marketing campaigns, millions are being exposed for the first time to the proud IBEW brand. Our members truly deserve the recognition. And our future members and customers are coming around to check out what we have to offer. All of our advertising — in national and local markets on both sides of the border — helps support our efforts at business and membership development.

I urge our locals to help spread these efforts until every household knows the heart and soul of the IBEW.


Also: Hill: 'All of Us Are Necessary' Read Hill's Column

Salvatore J. Chilia

Salvatore J. Chilia
International Secretary-Treasurer