Saturday 01 Oct 2016

Branded for Life
Jennifer Flaten

Have you seen the new logo for the government's recovery program? Did you even realize that the government had a logo for the recovery program?

Now that you know the government has a logo for the recovery program, are you wondering what the hell? Me too!

After hearing about the logo on National Public Radio, I went in search of it.

Unbelievably the government has set up a nifty little website about the recovery program. After I got over the shock of the government setting up a website to inform us about anything, I got to looking for the logo and sure enough, there it was in the corner of the page.

Just so, you can recognize it when you see it. The logo is a circle broken into several parts.

One part features a blue section with little white stars. There is a red part with what appears to be enmeshed gears.

There is something else on the brand, but I really can't say what it is. I didn't study the logo long enough to remember it and frankly, I am too lazy to go Google it again right now.

When the "shovel ready" projects get underway, this little logo is going to appear on the projects.

Thus, you will know exactly where your recovery dollars are going.

That's right your recovery dollars, because let's face it we are going to be paying for this recovery for a long time.

Back to the logo, I really can't decide if I think the logo idea is a stroke of brilliance or just another example of government stupidity.

One really shouldn't ponder how much time and effort probably went into designing said logo, it is enough to make your head hurt.

I can imagine the endless round of meetings, conferences and market research that went into the final coming up with this design.

I know defenders will say look how much work it created. Yeah it was hard work for the brand designer and the market researchers to come up with this little gem.

Not to mention, the work it made for the screen printer who will make all those awesome little logo stickers.

How about all the print shops, soon they will be inundated with orders for recovery stationary, complete with logo.

If there is, one thing the government knows how to do is brand itself.

Here in Milwaukee the Department of Transportation had a tiny little project known as the Marquette Interchange.

The interchange was a multi-billion dollar project to redo a critical portion of the interstate system.

The state quickly printed up special Marquette Interchange stationary, hats, Polo shirts and billboards. You couldn't swing a cat without something that had the interchange logo on it.

It seems to have helped. The project came in on time and under budget, even with all the expense of printing up the logos.

How's that for branding?

Now, the hand that says it is brilliant understands that people will be questioning where the recovery money is going.

It is nice to point to a building, bus, or whatever that has the logo on it and say there is your money right there.

Of course, if things don't work out well, if the money gets siphoned off and funneled away, then the rusting hulk of one of these projects sitting there with the logo as a constant reminder of what was mishandled could be bad.

The other hand is tired of hearing about branding.

In fact, the other hand is really, really sick of hearing about branding.

I am sick of not just government branding, but the branding of anything.

In fact, I think that branding will be on the year 2009 list of most overused phrases.

Twitter and other social media sites are a buzz with how to brand your business.

Apparently, branding is the new magic bullet to cure the general business ennui that is going on.

As if cleaning up your brand will in anyway help you survive this recession, err.... depression...hmmm, I guess I don't yet know how we are branding this economic slump.

Hell, people are branding themselves. That is just totally crazy right?

Although, you have to admire the marketing ingenuity that has marketers convincing people that what they need to do now is spend a lot of money they don't have on branding themselves.

I admit it I want a brand, but I fear that I am to damn unimportant to get a brand.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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