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Integrated Management In Government: The Critical Role of Branding

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Argues that the government would benefit from incorporating the principles of branding into management strategy and operations.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
  • Most importantly, great branding forces you to define your purpose. Without purpose there is very little chance of success in all areas of business.
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Integrated Management In Government: The Critical Role of Branding

  1. 1. THE PROBLEM: MISMANAGEMENT 1. Employees don’t like how we treat them. 2. We waste a lot of money unnecessarily. 3. We refuse to work together. 4. Projects fail more often than they succeed. 5. We can’t admit our mistakes.
  2. 2. THE ANSWER: BRANDING 1. Your brand is your image. This is incentive to maintain high standards. 2. Your brand helps you organize rationally, because it’s the face you must explain to the outside world. It gets you organized internally in a way that makes sense. 3. Your brand empowers staff to make a decision. Looking at the vision, mission, core values and operating principles tells employees what is appropriate and not. 4. Brand-based decision making connects all parts of the enterprise and eliminates wasteful gaps and stovepiping. 5. Brand-based decision making is about allegiance to principle, to the data that objectively shows what’s working, and not to particular people or their agendas.
  3. 3. BRANDING HELPS US ANSWER 10 BASIC QUESTIONS WE OFTEN FAIL TO ASK 1. What is the goal? 2. What kind of talent do we need to help us get there? 3. Are we organized around the customer’s needs? 4. What’s the plan? Is it rational? Where’s the data? 5. Is our budget adequately thought-through and justifiable? 6. Do we empower people to do their jobs? 7. Where’s the feedback channel? 8. How clear are our processes? 9. Are we committed to efficiency? 10. Would our people say that we take care of them – or just use them?
  4. 4. BRANDING MAKES IT EASIER TO COMMIT TO THESE 5 BASIC PRINCIPLES 1. If it doesn’t serve the customer well, don’t do it. 2. Hire the right people and remove the wrong ones. 3. Share services where possible, keep them internal where necessary – e.g. subject matter expertise. 4. Technology can always make it go faster, cheaper and better, so use it – preferably commercial-off-the-shelf or free. 5. Adapting quickly is essential, and this is best done by acknowledging that all outcomes – good and bad – are opportunities to learn.
  5. 5. HOW DO YOU GET GOVERNMENT TO COMMIT TO BRANDING? 1. Prove that the public has a negative view of operations based on an inaccurate understanding of the facts. • This is best accomplished through a qualitative study. • This should be followed up by a quantitative one, preferably amplified with observational data. 2. Demonstrate the connection between branding and operations.  Most people in government still equate the brand with artifacts like name, logo or wordmark, vision and mission statement, and so on.  The reality is that branding has much more to do with everyday decision-making, and in particular decisions about employees and how they will formally and informally work with one another. 3. Show the cost savings associated with brand-based management.  When branding is incorporated into government thinking, the result is much more customer-centric, logical and appealing to the public.  Inefficiencies are avoided and the focus is on marshaling all aspects of the organization so that the government can do what it does best – take care of its citizens.  Brand-baed management is fundamentally about asking the same basic questions and following the same basic principles that yield a healthy, high-functioning organization.
  6. 6. IF BRANDING IS SO GREAT, WHY ISN’T THE GOVERNMENT ALREADY USING IT? 1. Lack of familiarity. The idea that “your brand is your business” is mainstream in Europe, but not yet in the USA, although there are some practitioners that advocate for it. 2. Status-quo orientation. The government is a large and intricate web of organizations within organizations. It is very difficult to organize change on the kind of massive scale needed to implement brand-based management. 3. Lack of data. Brand-based management is primarily documented in books, articles, and case studies in a business setting. There would need to be significant pilot study, backed by anecdotal evidence, case studies, and reproducible results for the government to move toward this kind of model. 4. Lack of a champion. Brand-based management is innovative and requires sponsorship at the most senior level. 5. Lack of urgency. With so many competing priorities, including long-term strategic priorities and the daily “firefighting,” it is difficult to make the case that such an initiative should be attempted.
  7. 7. RECOMMENDED READING • Building the Brand-Driven Business, Michael Dunn & Scott Davis (Jossey-Bass, 2002) • Connective Branding: Building Brand Equity in a Demanding World (Wiley, 2008) • Mary Jo Hatch & Majken Schultz, “Are The Strategic Stars Aligned For Your Corporate Brand,” Harvard Business Review, February 2001 • IBM Center for the Business of Government, “Enterprise Government: How the Next Administration Can Better Serve Citizens (Part One),” Dan Chenok and Alan Howze, October 5, 2015 andIBM Center for the Business of Government, “Enterprise Government: How the Next Administration Can Better Serve Citizens (Part Two),” Dan Chenok and Alan Howze, October 5, 2015 • Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte, “2014 Best Places to Work In The Federal Government Analysis: Improving The Employee Experience,” August 5, 2015. • Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton, “Building The Enterprise”: Nine Strategies for a More Integrated, Effective Government, August 8, 2013. • Partnership for Public Service, "Getting Ready for Shared Services, First Steps for Federal Agencies: Assessment," July 08, 2015.

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