Branding for Local Government
We’ve been recently working with a regional Victorian Council, over the years we’ve worked with Local governments all over Victoria, from the City of Melbourne to the Moira Shire Council. We’re working developing their brand, evolving the brand mark, creating a visual language. and creating a brand system, they can use to easily communicate on brand. It reminded me of the key steps we’ve taken over the years, with our Local Government clients, that have delivered a successful branding project. I thought it’d be good to share them.
Working with Local Government has it’s challenges, but so does working with any organisation. They have no market, no competitors, you can’t pick another council to empty your bins or maintain your park. But they have a vital need to successfully communicate their brand to all their constituents. They need to clearly communicate where every dollar of rates has been spent. These are my 5 keys for successfully branding a Local Government, but they could apply to any organisation.
1, Talk to the Head.
Successful branding is rooted in belief. Belief works most effectively from the top down. As with any other entity having the key stake-holders onside can make or break the re-branding. Naturally with a Council that would be the Mayor and Councillors. Most Local Government Marketing Departments are terrified to do this, fearing they will lose control of the branding process. The truth is, without these stakeholders on board, you have no control. It was a key step in the successful re-branding of the City of Stonnington, as is key step in any successful branding.
2, Prioritise the messages.
This is the really hard part. Local Governments need to say so many things, to so many different groups, in so many different ways, it takes a tailored approach. Normally for a commercial or corporate brand, we’d drive thinking to distill a single overarching idea. An idea that would then drive the branding process. With the stakeholders involved in a council, this would become like herding cats, it can be difficult to get them together, in one place at one time, and impossible to get them to agree as to what should take priority. To get a handle on this the marketing team a couple of the key, senior stakeholders needs to prioritise the messages. At least this way there is clarity about what the brand needs to say and we don’t end up redesigning the stop sign.
3, Focus your energy
Use the 80:20 rule, all brand comms aren’t equal. Find the key opportunities for the new brand, they will get the brand the approval it needs. These are the pivotal expressions for your new brand. Start with one of these, for the City of Whittlesea, it was the newsletter. Then use this as a vehicle to get your idea across the line. You now have the cornerstone of your new brand in place. Keep building.
4, A Look, a Feel, a Voice
Just one. One idea, one look, one feel, one voice. These are the strategic foundations that support a healthy brand. Consistency is the only route to a professional brand image. Not that everything has to look the same, there is opportunity to ‘dial’ the visual branding up or down on each communication. But to start off with consistency is vital. Create tools and templates for staff to use, they become part of the branding process, their comms become consistent and you stop time wasting redesigning PowerPoint presentations.
5, It’s a group effort
To keep the brand alive and growing it must be an inclusive process. You must keep the right people involved, but you must be selective about whom it is and how involved they get. Keeping the key stake holders involved, even at a distance, will help reinforce the belief the brand needs to thrive. This will then continue to grow the critical mass of belief across the organisation and belief is everything.
If you’d like to hear how we can help get your council branding take the next step, give us a call.
We’d love to talk, even to share war stories.
Director of Design
Here’s some of the work we’ve done for Victorian councils over the years: