Accountability is Big Story for Nation and the Robotics Industry


By Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR, Robotic Industries Association

As we approach the New Year, an automotive rescue plan is a topic that dominates the national media. Close on its heals is a growing number of reports that the federal treasury cannot fully account for how money was used after it was injected into the financial market bailout. Whichever way one looks, accountability seems to be the central issue of the biggest news stories.

When it comes to your business, should you pull back on spending or is this the time to crank up the budget? Some members of RIA say hold on to your money. Others say spend. Both choices require accountability.

If congress chooses to deny the request by Detroit’s Big Three for financial assistance, they would be doing what the public wants according to major news polls. CNN says six in 10 people are against a “bailout” as reported on December 3, 2008. In other words, let the car companies be accountable for their own success or failure.

In a story worthy of Hollywood’s best cliffhanger productions, the same people that should have safeguarded the public against the financial crisis that ravaged the U.S. economy are in charge of the fate of the nation’s automotive industry. A weary public says, “No more. Don’t spend the money to bail them out.”

President elect Barack Obama has stated publicly he favors support for the automotive industry, and by many accounts this includes financial assistance. At least one school of thought says invest now or lose the manufacturing base that won several wars and almost single-handedly rescued the economy after 911 with zero-percent incentives that kept consumers spending.

And as long as they could get loans, consumers did spend. Then gas zoomed from two bucks to four in one summer. As quickly as it went up, gas prices crashed even faster, now to lows not seen since 2004. Right in the middle was a historic meltdown in the banking industry that froze credit tighter than a lobbyist’s hold on special interests. What does it all mean?

Money is at the center of the debate, that’s for sure. Banks and business need it. At one time they could practically mint it in the form of fantastical (some might say predatory) loans and big ticket vehicles. Now, the government (which really does mint the nation’s currency) is dolling out cash faster than the treasury can keep track.

In marketing, there is a basic tenant that when times are bad make sure consumers know how great you are. This may require investment in your sales force, your training, your manufacturing facility, and for sure your corporate image. Those who stop broadcasting their sales and marketing story will suffer from customer migration, especially when times improve and people gravitate to companies that are perceived as better or stronger than the competition.

A trade association such as Robotic Industries Association can be instrumental in promoting a solid case to do business with members. Membership is one way to get extra attention for a company’s sales and marketing message with a minimal investment. Membership is testimony to a company’s dedication to a particular marketplace. Membership makes it easier for customers and partners to do business by illuminating who is involved, and therefore credible, in a particular sector.

If you are in the banking business, you probably want to make loans to good customers and secure credit from companies that are qualified to lend. If you make cars, you want to sell to good customers and do business with companies that understand car manufacturing. If you use or can use robots, you should get to know the members of Robotic Industries Association. This dedicated bunch knows robots and their membership affirms their true nature as serious players. It even helps determine the best solution providers inside and outside the automotive sector.

Let RIA help you get your sales and marketing message out in a way that reflects well on your company and maximizes your marketing dollars. A New Year is coming soon and promises to be amazing. America will look to its first ever African American president for leadership amidst the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. A new automotive landscape will evolve from the legacy of one of the safest and most productive manufacturing centers in the developed world. Energy technology will make advancements in ways not seen since the atom was split. And at some point a recovery will be at hand and business will boom for those who are ready.

We hope you’ll be with us when it happens. RIA is accountable to its members and pledges to help them grow and prosper. Thank you and have a wonderful holiday season.

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