(Cross-posted to the Forums as GovLoop.com)
Seven years ago, I joined the government just after working as a brand consultant and director of a branding think-tank. During a time when most people still thought of the brand as the logo (or "corporate identity,"), I had adopted and was practicing the European belief that my consultancy specialized in. Essentially, this is that branding is really about integrating the external **and internal** communications of an organization, both visually and in words. Starting from there, I wrote a research paper on an issue that the sociologist Georg Simmel identified in the early 1900s (of course without calling it branding). Basically, the problem is that no sooner does an organization define its brand, then things change and the brand has to change along with it. So there is an inherent instability in the branding process that makes the organization confusing to its stakeholders if not managed properly. Later, I called my approach to this problem "total branding," started a blog, etc. Anyway, the problem (or "challenge") is magnified today in the era of social media for a lot of reasons, but all of them boil down to the fact that the organization is subject to public discussion by anyone and everyone, all the time, and that discussion affects its reputation significantly. How do you adapt a large organization effectively in a fast-changing world? In my view and in the view of many other experts, the best way is to equip an army of knowledgeable and credible employees who are inspired and empowered to talk. (Note: this is my view, not necessarily the view of my agency.) All of this is a prelude to a **big** announcement:U.S. Customs and Border Protection, together with the Government Printing Office, has teamed up under the auspices of the Federal Communicators Network to bring the public a series of free seminars in communication excellence this year. The first event is taking place Tuesday, January 26, from 8:30 - 11 a.m. If you are interested in branding and/or internal communication, you **will not** want to miss it. More details to follow soon...along with a link to register.