A Brand is a Terrible Thing to Waste – Part 1

Cassandra Popli

Vice President

Learn how to make the most of yours in ETA’s three-part series.

The value of branding is recognized by all types of businesses. It’s simply one of today’s most important aspects of doing business. But do governments and municipalities need brands like those of consumer-facing companies? The short answer is ‘yes’. The same brand-building tactics used by major companies should also be employed for public agencies, and the services and programs offered. Every government needs a memorable brand and an effective brand strategy to stand out in the marketplace, and stay relevant and competitive in the ever-changing consumer landscape.

What exactly is branding?

There are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of definitions out there on branding, but this one rings especially true: Branding is the total of all the experiences your customers have with your product or service. A brand is more than a name, symbol or logo—it represents every touch-point a customer has with your agency. Essentially, your brand is the promise you make to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from what you offer—and how that offering is different from others.

Where do you begin? Research.

Do you understand the needs, habits and desires of your current customers? If you don’t, you should. Knowing their “hot buttons” is valuable insight. Many agencies mistakenly rely on what you think they think. Instead, focus on understanding and knowing what they think. Your future brand will thank you for it.

Defining your branding and uncovering its unique DNA is a process. You should take the time to look inward and tackle some of the tough questions that may never have been asked. What is your agency’s mission? What sets you apart? What qualities do you want your customers to associate with your organization? Answering these will help create a brand that is true to what your agency represents.