Bibi’s fiscal planning serves his own agenda

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ...

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Envoy Sen. George Mitchell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Benjamin Netanyahu

English: Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enrico Letta incontra il Primo Ministro israel...

English: Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE) meets with...

English: Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Benjamin Netanyahu - World Economic Forum Annu...

Benjamin Netanyahu – World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2009 (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)

English: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politician

English: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politician (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bibi’s fiscal planning serves his own agenda

Israel has no fiscal policy, other than implementing measures that serve the political needs of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

20 November 13 12:37, Avi Temkin

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said: “Israel has no foreign policy, only domestic policy.” He was referring to the fact that Israeli foreign policy is dictated entirely by internal political concerns. The new “Budget Surplus Affair” and the question of what to do with the excess funds goes to show that Israel has no fiscal policy either, other than implementing measures that serve the political needs of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Higher than anticipated tax collection lies behind the “surprising” surplus that was suddenly discovered. It is safe to assume that low government expenditure in the first half of 2013, during the period in which the budget was not approved, also played a role. This discovery comes at a time when the Prime Minister is in a political crisis, at home and abroad. When this happens, Netanyahu says to himself: “What could be better than appearing to be someone who ‘eases the public burden’ by reducing taxes?”

There is no shortage of parties making strenuous attempts to rain on Netanyahu’s little political parade. For instance, the National Insurance Institute, which is making unwelcome long-term plans to reduce poverty rates and bring them down to OECD average rates.

Everything Netanyahu dislikes is contained within the National Insurance Institute’s plan – strengthening the social safety net, setting long-term goals for reducing the number of poor, and, most of all, a rational debate about priorities. From his perspective, it is much easier, more marketable, and more election-friendly to appear to be a fiscal White Knight. In other words, as the knight in shining armor who strikes the evil bureaucrats in the Treasury Department and distributes money to the middle class.

This in the hope that the next time a fiscal crisis strikes, those same middle-class voters will forget the previous round and will somehow accept the “unavoidable” need to raise taxes again.

This all serves to emphasize the rotten manner in which this government, and previous governments, managed fiscal planning. Instead of real planning, in Netanyahu’s previous term, we were given the foolish “two-year budget,” which served as a Band-Aid, and prevented real discussions about fiscal policy. Meanwhile, the two-year budget was cancelled, but the political desire to prevent any real debate is still with us.

The whole discussion about the “surplus” is just a waste of time. Our society and economy are in need of a long-term master plan, with social goals alongside economic goals, with clearly defined priorities – a transparent framework within which the public will receive accurate information regarding what and whom money is being spent on, how much is being invested over the Green Line, the scope of tax incentives and exemptions, and to whom they are being awarded, what the per-child education budget is in each of the various population sectors, etc.

Israeli society is not the IDF’s ATM machine

If such a debate were to take place, one that would examine the needs of Israeli society and not just the Prime Minister’s needs, we would be able to design a real fiscal policy. The implementation could be based on annual budgets, which the Knesset would debate annually, in keeping with the long-term goals. Our society and economy need to have their budgets rebalanced between income and expenditure, with increased government expenditure and rebuilding of safety nets.

Israel needs an effective retraining system for the unemployed, and an effective day-care system. Israel needs an immediate reduction in class-size in the public schools. Israel needs to reexamine its tax system and to decide who should be bearing the burden. The Israeli economy needs to define boundaries of fiscal significance for the defense industry and to make the General Staff of the IDF aware that Israeli society is not their personal ATM machine.

Unfortunately, none of this will happen. We will read about and hear about these surpluses and about fights between ministers in the media. There will be presentations and press conferences. But the heart of the matter, the most essential, critical issues, will be left outside this time too.

The Often Forgotten Tribe of Marketers Who Amplify Your Brand

The Coca-Cola logo is an example of a widely-r...

The Coca-Cola logo is an example of a widely-recognized trademark representing a global brand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Often Forgotten Tribe of Marketers Who Amplify Your Brand


The often forgotten tribe of marketers who amplify your brand

As businesses and brands we are used to paying for attention. TV, Radio and Print.

We call the “Ad” agency and ask them to create the “TV Ad” that is created, published and paid for. Stop paying and the ad and attention stops.

The PR agency is contacted and we brief them on the the latest public relations worthy news event that we think the world needs to hear about. The journalist is tracked down and convinced that the story is worth publishing. The successful result? We get some column inches in a national newspaper. That is lining the bin tomorrow. We pay the PR company for their time and influence.

It’s the way things have been done for decades. Businesses are the paying advertisers and newspaper companies and TV networks are the publishers.

But there is a different way and a source of free attention. There is an often forgotten tribe of marketers who can amplify your brand for free.

The media landscape today is a very different beast and we need to learn how to play with it.

Become the publisher

In 2011, Coca Cola decided to move from agency driven “creative excellence” in marketing to “content excellence“. They decided to become the publisher. Content excellence starts with creating your own content. it could be videos, images or blog posts.

Their goal was to create content so contagious it couldn’t be controlled and create buzz and virality online.

They flipped the old model.

The challenge

The flipping of the “old model” and becoming the “publisher” is a challenge. The typical company doesn’t have writers, video producers or editors. It is an internal and cultural challenge and outside the management’s comfort zone to do something different from the norm.

Paying for attention the old way is easy. it is the way things have always been done. The brand has the systems, processes and key staff to do what always has been done.

Changing is painful.

The hidden tribe of publishers

Becoming the publisher is one thing but the true power of taking control of your own content and publishing lies in what follows. When the online crowd shares and even creates more brand related content. It is the hidden and often forgotten publishers. It is your fans, advocates and customers.

So social media has provided crowd-sourced marketing for free. What is that worth?

The scale of this will surprise you! have tracked and measured “user generated content” (often termed “UGC”) on YouTube around and about brands. The numbers are a revelation.

  • 95% of the views on YouTube about “Call of Duty” were not created or owned by the brand but created by users. 95% of the 9.3 billion in total views were earned. That’s 8.84 billion views just from fan created and shared content.
  • 99% of the views about “Lego” are user created. Of the 8 billion in total views 7.92 billion views just from passionate advocates who created and shared content about the Lego brand.
  • 99% of the views on YouTube about Apple were not bought or “owned” by the brand. 99% of the 4.2 billion in total views were fan created. That’s 4.16 billion views just from fan created and shared content.

The brands started the conversations by publishing. The online fans amplified it.

You cannot buy that level of attention.

Earned Media vs paid media Infographic

Infographic source:

Where is this going?

The savvy brands are taking control of their marketing by becoming the publishers. The technology, the platforms and the social networks now exist to reach your audience without always paying. New media has given businesses the means to amplify their content and marketing and engage with their own audience.

Red Bull hardly spends a cent on mainstream advertising but instead spends it on “publishing” and lets the the crowd do the heavy lifting. Distributing, co-creating and sharing the brand globally.

Let’s have a closer look at the specific numbers for some brands that get content marketing and are receiving free marketing through user generated content.

Coca Cola

In the “Fast Moving Consumer Goods”  category (FMCG) Coca Cola is the standout with 24.2 million social actions.

Coca Cola and earned Media

Victoria’s Secret

In the fashion category Vctoria’s Secret’s fans and “other publishers” produce 92 times more videos than the brand itself.

Victorias secret and earned media


GoPro, the high definition mobile video camera manufacturer in the “Tech” category shows that earning free media attention isn’t just for the big boys. Creators produce 125 times more videos than the Official YouTube channel.

GoPro and earned Media

The social web has provided a “new” and alternate way to get attention. Are you ready to become a “publisher”? Are you creating content and building your social networks to amplify that content?

What about you?

Are you paying or are you working on “earning attention”. How many articles and views are created by your customers about your brand?

Look forward to hearing your stories and insights in the comments below.

Want to learn how to create contagious content that begs to be shared? Do you want to grow your social networks on Twitter and Facebook?

My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.

It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 200,000.

Download and read it now.