At Fresco we’ve been fortunate to work with many different industries and government agencies over the past years, and one of the things that we noticed is that many councils don’t see themselves as a brand or in many cases overlook the importance and benefits of having very strong branding in place to ensure all marketing material is created in a cohesive way and clearly delivers their message out into the community .
If you think about what the main function a council has, you will see that it’s to inform and educate, ensuring that new regulations, rules, initiatives or activities are communicated effectively.
As an agency that have worked with different government departments over the last 20 years, we understand that there are some constraints involved which usually don’t exist in the private sector; however, developing branding and communication that reflects the vision of the council and connects with the public in a creative and authentic way is still achievable no matter how restrictive brand guidelines are.
Councils need to be strategic about how they position themselves to strengthen the relationship with the public. The development of a branding strategy will ensure that the vision of the council is well received and the communication is clearly understood by the public. Like any organisation in the private sector, you must create a personality for your council. Think about the characteristics of the community, what they relate to and align both with the council’s vision to then develop a persona for your brand.
An important detail that will need to be thought through is for example what tone of voice should be used in your campaigns. If the community is predominantly made up of seniors, communicating in a way that is relevant as well as caring is a good direction to head in; however, if you are trying to reach the younger generation, introducing humour and making reference to pop culture in your communications has proven to be a great strategy!
An example of this is the well know campaign “The Swim Reaper” designed by Water Safety New Zealand. The campaign aimed to make young males aware of the potentially deadly consequences of swimming. To reach this target market, they decided to focus on social media channels, in particular Instagram @itamtheswimreaper by creating a confrontational character that delivers water safety messages in a direct and humours manner. When questioned about this strategy behind the campaign, the CEO of Water Safety New Zealand acknowledged that “this audience can react badly to being told what to do” so to ensure young men wouldn’t ignore the instructions from the authorities, they have decided to deliver the message through dark humour by illustrating the deadly consequences of making bad decisions around water and swimming.
This campaign takes a very different approach to the standard method that government bodies take in their communications. As an agency that has been working in this field, we understand that not all councils will be able to push the boundaries this far as they will need to follow strict brand guidelines. However the campaign above illustrates the importance of setting a tone of voice in order to get your message clearly and strongly delivered across your community.
As well as tone of voice, it is important for any brand to establish a set of colours, typography and images that will help form the personality of the organisation. For many councils, it is important to recognize the importance of having inclusive imagery across both digital and print campaigns to ensure that people from different ages, ethnicities and cultures will feel acknowledged and represented. As well as being sensitive to the design of your marketing material, it is always important to ensure that the platforms available for the public are accessible to all the public. Including AAA standards to your website as well as providing PDF information online is a must-have and will reflect your council’s mission of clearly communicating with the entire community.
A well thought through, strategic brand that adopts a cohesive aesthetics and message across all marketing material results in the public being more connected and consequently more open to following new regulations and directives. By connecting to the public, the council will not only earn their respect but also gain their trust, resulting in a greater influence and their message being more effectively delivered.
If you would like to hear more about how Fresco can help you establish a stronger persona and brand with your local council or how we can ensure that new marketing material is designed in a creative and strategic way while following the current brand guidelines you have in place, send us an e-mail on email@example.com.