Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise

Little Heresies Seminar Series6

Heresy #6: How to Save Public Services from Silly Slogans and Weasel Words

Heretic: Charlotte Pell, Newcastle University Business School (3 December 2014).

Charlotte argued that investment in modern corporate slogans, mission statements and logos is a sign of a troubled organisation. Her research shows that councils, hospitals and police forces spend millions on corporate branding, yet far from improving the reputation of an organisation, it has the opposite effect. Corporate branding is at best ignored. At worst, it invites ridicule and damages trust amongst both staff and the public.

Why does this matter? Because, Charlotte argued, reputation management and branding belongs to a culture of fear, pretence and compliance, where looking good becomes more important than doing good, writing skills become more important than caring skills and manipulating the public becomes more important than serving them. Genuine improvement is also cheaper than pretend improvement.

In common with other little heretics in this series, Charlotte traced the emergence of corporate tat to management fads imported from the private sector.

Listen to Heresy #6: How to Save Public Services from Silly Slogans and Weasel Words.