Question

Topic: Branding

Sub-brands In A Local Government Organization

Posted by george.kyriacoullis on 250 Points
We are a local government organization with multiple departments, and committees, we have programs, initiatives, campaigns etc.
There is a trend in logo requests lately from several stakeholders and we ended up having at least 20 different sub-brands within the organization.
Some senior leadership folks don't like that. They want to see consistency. Some others love to have sub-brands.
My questions are:
1. where is the line
2. if we allow sub-brands what do we have to consider?
3. how to maintain consistency in the use. Some people used their sub-logo to print swag. They are everywhere in the city and nobody knows what that logo is.
4. Should a sub-logo be designed with a common colour palette in mind?
5. Any other thoughts?
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RESPONSES

  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    This is a tough one, because there isn't an obvious cross-over among the brands/sub-brands. And the "damage is done," so to speak.

    What you might do is pick a few sub-brands that are relatively new/easy and show them how a revised logo might look and see if you can get them to adopt it ... perhaps as part of a special event or promotion. If you can create a few success stories you might have a shot at getting others to try it.

    As for your questions:

    1. where is the line
    It depends on who the target audiences are and how much cross-over there is among the sub-brands and the parent-brand.

    2. if we allow sub-brands what do we have to consider?
    Sub-brands need to have some reason for the connection between/among them and should each communicate the core benefit for their target audience(s).

    3. how to maintain consistency in the use. Some people used their sub-logo to print swag. They are everywhere in the city and nobody knows what that logo is.
    Don't try to change everything at once. It's OK if the transition takes a few years.

    4. Should a sub-logo be designed with a common colour palette in mind?
    Colour is one tool for communicating a family relationship, but it's not the only way. You'll want a graphic designer to suggest some alternative approaches.

    5. Any other thoughts?
    Your path forward needs to be driven by the desired end result of the brand strategy. If consistency is the only desired result, I'd probably urge that you go slowly and let the various "brands" sign on if/when they are ready. No big rush.

    (We had a similar issue with an international organization where each country created its own logo. A talented graphic designer did such a good job that all countries agreed to change their logos within a year! If you want the designer's contact info, let me know.)

  • Posted by Peter (henna gaijin) on Member
    First, there is no hard set rule on this. There is no one best case that someone will say works in all cases. There are advantages for consistency, but also advantages for being different. And it isn't only 2 options, but a continuum of options between consistency and different.

    In general, as Mgoogman said, the more crossover between the different products/services, the better it is to keep them looking similar.
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Member
    I spent almost 14 years working in local government so I sympathize with your position.

    I think it’s best to combine the identities you’ve described under a common set of visual criteria (colours, type faces, shapes, lock-ups) that you apply across the range of the various entities. The simpler you keep this organizational matrix in terms of its component parts the better for all concerned.

    Likewise for its day-to-day application and management through through set of easy to follow application guidelines—use this logo in this orientation, apply that type face in this situation, use this colour logo here and that colour logo there—standards need to be set and enforced so you don’t wind up with 10 different people doing 10 different things just because they think they can or because they think it’s OK because hey, no one’s ever challenged them before.

    Let’s clarify though that without some sort of underlying and unifying emotional message that resonates with people and without some sort of prominent, socially appealing cause, case, or concert—without a meaning or a movement—without something that establishes value, that stimulates a desire to discover, explore, and to belong; without a foundation of knowing, liking, trust, and belief that marry up to reinforce your client’s deeply embedded psychological and societal dots, all you will have is a nice looking corporate identity rather than a cohesive, memorable, and powerful brand.

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