Process & Communication: An integral part of any rebrand
By James Anderson
When creating a unique and successful brand, we have to go through the process of asking: what is the brand for, who will the brand engage with, how will the brand be used? As marketers we relish the opportunity to ask these questions, to take the time to create a lasting visual brand from concept all the way to design. The tricky bit comes after: it is incredibly important that the rollout of a brand is one of consistency. During the rollout phase it can become very clear whether these questions were asked or not.
A great example of this is that of the Scotland Office’s recent rebrand. I won’t attempt to write a scientific analysis of this rebrand, but merely an opinion piece of how I have perceived this to have gone.
In 2007, the Scottish Executive, as it was then known, chose to take the step of rebranding to the Scottish Government. Part of their explanation is that most people didn’t truly understand what was meant by Executive. On top of this was the fact that the Scottish Executive and Northern Ireland Executive were the only two state administrations in the western world not to use the term ‘government.’ They engaged with Scottish local authorities as well as the UK Government in rolling out and implementing the new name and brand.
To avoid confusion, the Scottish Office, the UK Government department responsible for domestic governance in Scotland prior to the establishment of the Scottish Parliament, changed to be known as the Scotland Office.
Fast forward to 2018 - this is where we find the contrast. The Scotland Office has been rebranded. Not with one name, but two. In Scotland, the department is now known as UK Government Scotland, but everywhere else (across the UK, Europe and internationally), it will be known as the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland.
There has already been quite a bit of confusion caused by this rebrand. In 2015, the department’s social media channels changed to UKGovScotland but the government insisted that no official name change would take place. So, when the nameplates at the department’s premises in Edinburgh and London changed overnight in early May, it left a lot of people asking questions. No communications were sent out, MPs were not engaged and the Scottish Government was none the wiser.
It’s fair to say most people will still refer to it as the Scotland Office, thereby dooming this rebrand as failed exercise and a waste of taxpayer money.
This is an excellent example of why it is important to ask the right questions before a branding or rebranding project and not wait for others to ask them afterwards.