Case study: audience reach

The Chancellor led a post-Budget briefing with publications representing Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

HM Treasury

For the Spring Budget 2021, the team drafted an overarching narrative based on policy content and insight from polling and public focus groups on the UK economy.

The narrative framed all internal and external HMT budget communications (press, digital, events and visits, stakeholder engagement and internal), around 3 key messages:

  • the Spring Budget is the next stage of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, protecting lives and livelihoods through the next stage of the crisis
  • it starts the work of building our future economy
  • it is honest about how we will deliver sustainable public finances over the long-term

The team landed a series of themed trails in the lead-up to the Budget, and the Chancellor carried-out a sit-down newspaper interview and the Sunday political broadcast shows. For the first time in history, he also hosted a press-conference after his statement, taking questions from the media and members of the public.

The team successfully led targeted communications activity to extend the reach of messaging:

Digital: for consistency and clarity of message, the team created Budget 2021 branding for all content – including pre-Budget case study videos, graphics and explainers on Budget measures and photographs before and during the event.

External affairs/events and visits: supportive third-party voices endorsing the Budget were amplified by the team, while the events team delivered a number of visits which visually represented key elements of the Budget narrative.

Regional: tailored regional press notices, with junior ministers undertaking regional broadcast rounds on Budget day.

Union: Union-specific announcements were trailed to publications ahead of the Budget, with bespoke press notices for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the day. The Chancellor, HMT junior ministers and the Territorial Office Secretary of States participated in broadcast media covering all four nations.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic – consumer: A series of Budget factsheets were produced for consumer outlets, with journalists invited to a post-Budget huddle. The Chancellor also appeared on a Martin Lewis (Money Saving Expert) Budget special the day after.

International: relevant trails were shared with key foreign correspondents and the comms team chaired a post-Budget foreign lobby – attended by over 20 journalists.

Post-Budget polling from YouGov showed 64% of people had heard a great deal about the Budget (versus 45% in 2020) and that only 16% thought the Budget was not fair. And 55% thought the Budget was fair – the highest figure since YouGov polling began in 2009.

Tom Lawrence, HMT.