NZ Police Ad: A Valuable Lesson In Brand And Reputation

NZ Police Ad: A Valuable Lesson In Brand And Reputation
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In this guest post, CEO of The Brand Institute of Australia, Karl Treacher, examines the witty new recruitment ad for the New Zealand Police Force (check it out below) and says its a great example of reputation and brand that any business can learn from…

From airport ground crew performing a haka to welcome the All Blacks home, to Air New Zealand’s Tolkien inspired safety videos, It comes as no surprise that another New Zealand institution has delivered a lighthearted, humorous and category challenging Ad. To many it’s just that. An Ad. A good, fun Ad.

But for this brand and its reputation, it’s an investment in a reputation rebrand. The ROI on this execution goes well beyond awareness and recruitment. This Ad is a new neon light for a government service department struggling for credibility and public favour. A department known by some as “Pale, male and Stale”.

This latest execution by Ogilvy & Mather New Zealand follows on from an excellent campaign last year, a series of stirring reality-based clips illustrating the police force’s interest in delivering on their core values of integrity and empathy. Both campaigns are first class and both showcase the New Zealand Police Force’s commitment to shifting it’s brand image and reputation. However, like all advertising, the impact on a conditioned audience is limited, even if it is done exceptionally well.

The New Zealand Police Force have an internal slogan “look the part, be the part”. A nice succinct symbol encouraging its people to set a standard and deliver to it. From a reputation standpoint that’s exactly what’s now needed. Deeds, not words. As far as I’m concerned their advertising and promotion has done all it can. It’s now time to limit if not eradicate future media stories suggesting corruption, a weak independent civilian oversight body (IPCA) and general lack of interest in public complaint. All themes that have dogged this brand (NZ Police) for the past decade.

When it comes to shifting and enhancing reputation there are generally six to nine key drivers depending on the brand and industry, but for a government service brand like the police, it ultimately comes down to Leadership, Governance, Culture, Public Experience and Media Management. Changing a large organisation’s reputation is a delicate and enormous undertaking, Something akin to tuning an orchestra once, and then keeping every instrument in tune…always and forever.

In Australia, our various state-based police departments have their own reputation issues, strengths and opportunities yet none of them have set an expectation as positive nor high profile as NZ Police Force. In terms of making promises and setting expectations, a great deal can be learned from how the NZ Police Force have approached an unfortunate and all too common reputation issue. How the NZ Police Force brand and reputation evolves from here is dependant on a well planned, expertly executed program of systemic policy and behavioural change initiatives. The result of which could provide a templated gift for us and our police across the ditch.

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Karl Treacher The Brand Institute of Australia

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