Starting approximately in the year 2012, branding became a legitimate government activity. Though some may argue that there are more important and urgent issues where the taxpayers’ dollars would be better spent (more on that later), it’s pretty safe to say that in 2015, branding is a must for almost every institution.
Some still struggle with it, but there are plenty of good examples to go around. Arguably the best cases are those of NASA and FBI, so for most of the suggestions in this article, you can see good case practices by visiting their pages.
There have been a lot of discussions in the past years regarding government branding. Why are governments concerned with branding? Aren’t there more important and pressing matters to attend to? How does this help the taxpayers?
At first glance, you might think that while government branding isn’t necessarily pointless, it’s not really that needed either. Surely there are plenty of other issues to solve. You wouldn’t be wrong, but before analyzing anything, let’s have a look at the main objective for this type of branding. For the private sector, the general, main objective is simple: profit. The public sector on the other hand, focuses on winning your trust. It’s crucial, not only to the governments but for the public as well, to understand that branding can also be a way of establishing a trustworthy connection. Statistics show that in 2015, the most popular social media networks have hundreds of millions of accounts worldwide, with Facebook leading the board with over 1.4 billion registered accounts. With those numbers in the mix, it’s a no-brainer that you have to engage your audience through social media.
Doing it right
As mentioned before, probably the best examples of government branding are NASA and FBI. In their own, distinctive way, they manage perfectly to keep people informed while highlighting their particular set of values. There isn’t much else you need to do honestly, just give the followers what they need in a direct, professional manner. In this case, they’re usually looking for information.
Government branding: basic communication plan
Adapt your communication style.
Most of the times you will have to inspire professionalism and seriousness, but depending on what your followers expect of you, the style can be adapted. NASA, for example, can squeeze a joke here and there, in contrast to the FBI. Be careful, there’s a certain image you need to maintain.
Balance your posting frequency and use original content.
Because a government is supposed to be objective (media wise), you should base your content almost entirely on your own, original content. Besides general topics, the News section and your Blog should be enough to keep your audience informed and up to date.
Posting frequency has to be just right. Most of the times it depends on actual, useful information. If you have relevant information, you should share it. Your audience cares about important matters of general interest, that’s why they follow your activity.
You just need a few, good communication channels.
Your process of choosing the right communication channels shouldn’t be very difficult once you answer these two important questions:
- Which channels would allow me to share my information properly? Make a list.
- Which are the most popular social media networks? Highlight them in the list you made after the first question. You should have your best options highlighted.
Most of the governments rely on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, because of their popularity and usefulness. This doesn’t mean these will work for everyone. You should always explore which options suit your brand best, before making a decision.