Brand new thinking about government?
Every election -- and most of the days in between -- government takes a beating. But even if you believe that the public sector should butt out of the economy, you have to admit that roads, police, armies, and even the Internet can't happen without its involvement.
Sometimes a new name is just what an organization needs. The Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation was a yawner. As IBM, it became the gold standard in office equipment. How about BackRub? Sounds holistic and friendly. When it relaunched as Google, it tapped into an impressive, hypermathematical vibe. Same with Brad’s Drink, which pharmacist Caleb Bradham of New Bern, N.C., concocted and later renamed Pepsi, making customers think not only young but about settling their stomachs.Skip to next paragraph
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Rebranding can also help when a company has so much baggage that it needs a new identity. ValuJet was a cheapo airline with a bad safety record. It remade itself as AirTran – nothing fancy, but it’ll get you there. Phillip Morris morphed into Altria, which sounds more like a Mediterranean island or a high-end charity than a tobacco trafficker. The controversial security firm of Blackwater is now Xe. Inscrutable? Dangerous? Go figure.
See how this works? A little brainstorming, a little focus grouping, some capital letters, numbers, and other junk thrown into the WoRd ReCree-8R and, bam, you’ve been rebranded.
Here’s our rebranding project today. For generations, the word “government” has prompted groans and eye-rolling – from Ronald Reagan’s genial put-down (“I’m from the government and I’m here to help”) to tea party alarm over the ballooning size and intent of the public sector under the Obama administration. The problem is that we can’t do without government anymore than we can do without traffic lights, law courts, police departments, or soldiers. We can disagree on the amount of government or its functions, but no serious person thinks we should get rid of it altogether.