Marketing Government Reforms
This article examines government communication on two large-scale Belgian governmental reforms: the Federal Administration and the police forces. Using Lees-Marshment’s typology of marketing processes, we identify the marketing of the changes by the Federal Administration as sales oriented: a finished product or an expert-developed administrative reform project to be sold to the public. Declining enthusiasm for communication and growing product disagreement gradually forced this reform to disappear from the market. The Police reform followed a market-oriented marketing process. It responded to public outrage. The Government merely reacted to external information. This explains why it failed to deal with a changed market situation. A content analysis of articles in both popular and quality newspapers examines the representation of both reforms in the media and seems to confirm our observations. This article shows that marketing reforms are extremely difficult when there is no shared understanding of the product to be marketed.