The 1960’s saw Canada pick up a new flag. We even gave it a day, February 15th, to be celebrated. Canada’s New(TM) Harper Government(TM) is undertaking a “re-branding” of the public service.
If you’re like me, your hair stands on end when you hear the word “re-branding”. Even typing it is difficult and is making my scalp crawl. “Branding” should not be a word if it doesn’t mean to put hot iron next to cattle skin. If you’ve been so unfortunate to be to a meeting where branding and logos are discussed, I’m sure you sympathize. If not, you’re probably working in marketing and have lost that part of your soul a long time ago, out of necessity since “re-branding” pays the bills.
Unfortunately for you and I, the people paying the bill for this is… you and I. Re-branding makes no additional money for a government who undertakes it, and it sends tax money to marketers, artists, and advertising agencies. It’s a big make-work project that only benefits those who get the contracts. Re-branding products and services, like re-branding cattle, injures the product — burns up resources better spent elsewhere.
OTTAWA — The federal government wants to update its brand image for the modern social-media world, keeping symbols like the “Canada” wordmark but competing better in a more crowded market of images and ideas.
The goal is “an exceptionally challenging idea” that will require unique co-operation among departments and agencies to work, says a veteran marketing consultant and trainer.
“It will require exceptional clarity about how we want to brand the government of Canada . . . and what we will do to live up to the promises the government is making,” said Josef Jurkovic, a partner in Ottawa’s Centre for Excellence in Communications, which provides training and consulting services to a vast array of government groups and non-profits.
“Unique co-operation” means it’s never been accomplished before because various roadblocks have prevented this sort of thing from taking place before. And it’s not up to a 2cm square logo to convey effective government to me, it’s up to the politicians in charge of the public service! Re-branding conveys the opposite of effective government, and that is what I’ll associate with the new visual identity.
“[I]t has become evident that there is a need to refresh how the Government of Canada applies its corporate identity to paid advertising.”
When translated that says, “My bills are high due to fiscal mismanagement and deregulation. Coupled by my poor investments, I need this work. If I convince the right people in government to think a new logo improves their appearance to other people struggling like I am, then I can finally get that brand name sports car I always wanted, on credit.”
“Pimp my Canada: Government seeks fresh new brand image for 21st century”
Governments don’t have a “corporate identity” expressed by a logo, it’s expressed by our politicians and public service, and our people. Our national identity is what counts, not what comes on the envelope of our tax bill or GST cheque each year. Our country’s image is being degraded by the re-branders this government has hired. Where is their pride in what we already have?