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Showing posts from December, 2008

Federal agency blogging, ethics and branding

Social media is all the rage among federal communicators today - all of
us are talking about how to implement it. And one of the most mainstream
elements of social media in the federal government so far is blogging.
Here are some thoughts on blogging ethics and the connection to
government branding.That the guardians of taxpayer money are speaking directly to citizens
is a good thing. But the rise of social media technology like blogs
brings with it a host of ethical questions and issues that have to be
dealt with. A key example is representation. Two common sense components
here--and there may be further legal/ethical requirements as well
(obviously this is not formal advice!)1. When an agency executive writes a blog on the agency's official
blogsite, we the public assume that they are speaking on behalf of the
agency. Yet the blog medium is inherently a reflection of one's personal
thoughts. There needs to be a disclaimer on the site distinguishing
between the two.2. This on…

What prevents total brand alignment - in government or anywhere?

I just posted this in GovLoop.com - see what you think:

1. Lack of understanding about what branding is - misconception that it's just a logo or seal when in fact it's about rallying employees and the public around your clear, compelling MISSION or identity

2. Fighting within the agency about who is going to get the spotlight - the sense that if the agency overall has a brand, then my particular subgroup will not get recognized for its work

3. Related to #2, lack of understanding of brand architecture - that a brand can be organized to accommodate various sub-brands without compromising the overall identity. The tendency is to think in extremes - either there is one brand overlord at HQ who won't let anyone else have their own identity, or there is a completely decentralized system where any logo goes.

4. Chain of command thinking - failure to see that a brand is only as good as the people who support it. You can't tell employees what to do and how to feel. You can only ed…

Do you have the level of the brand right?

Should your brand have an identity at a very high level or a very
specific one? This is a critical question (technically called a "brand
architecture" issue) but my sense is that it is often ignored in favor
of just "going to market" with whatever new product, promise, premise or
idea someone thinks should constitute a brand.Big mistake. Big potential waste of money.Need to decide who your audience is, what they want/need, and whether
they are best served by a high level brand (so you include your brand in
that one) or a very specific granular one (so you start a new one).Be more strategic ahead of time and save yourself headaches down the
road.