The power of brand: federal brands

Energy Star logoNASA

I’m currently working on a brand project at my day job, so I got to wondering: If a brand is ultimately the perception the market has of a product or service, and if government creates products and services, then clearly there are government brands. What’s the brand strength of government?

When I thought this, two strong federal brands came quickly to my mind: Energy Star and NASA

Okay, so these two betray my nerdish nature. Still, I’m willing to bet that a large percentage of U.S. adults recognize these logos, could tell you something about what they stand for, and give you an opinion about them. Energy Star appliances save people energy. NASA put a man on the moon.

One very weak, even negative, government brand also came to mind:

Seal of the United States Congress

Public approval of the U.S. Congress is currently at record lows according to the Gallup poll. At the same time, Gallup also finds that only 35 percent of Americans can name their representative. We may not even know who Congress is, but on the whole we disapprove of them.

A strong brand can encourage behaviors such as paying a premium price and repeat purchases. If I were an elected official, I’d sure want the repeat purchase of someone voting for my re-election. I’d also like the premium price of raising more campaign dollars.

Even if I was a non-elected government official, I’d want citizens to support a premium for my service (fees and taxes) so that I could keep and grow my job.

I think we’d all be better off if our government officials and organizations worried a bit more about their brand among their constituents. We voters would be happier about the goods and services that we are paying for, and government officials would enjoy better job security.

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