Holistic branding works

How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? One, but the lightbulb has got to really want to change!

Jokes are cleaver things really, they take stereotypes and cliche’s or just everyday life and repackage them to make us laugh (most of us). How about; How many council workers does it take to change a lightbulb? five, one to change it and four to watch. It’s a joke and it brings at least a smile in most, however when councils up and down the country are getting a bit of a bashing for wasting our money is it really that funny?

What has this got to do with branding though?

It has everything to do with branding. The psychiatrist joke first. Think of the ‘broken’ lightbulb as a company in distress in some way (because why else would you rebrand? – actually that’s something for another day) and the psychiatrist as a design agency. If the company as a whole doesn’t embrace their new identity it won’t work for them.

As we have said previously, ‘brand’ and branding is much much more than just a logo. It is everything you do and say, it’s what people think of you and what they hear of you (think of BP being green and then the oil spill in Mexico – it doesn’t matter who’s fault it was, in terms of brand the perception became very negative). So if you ‘rebrand’, but scratch off the new badges and imagery and you are the same as before (on the basis that you are changing because you weren’t connecting with your audience), then no one is going to see much of a difference in service.

Branding is about embracing change for businesses sake, not just for the sake of change.

Branding is about embracing change for businesses sake, not just for the sake of change. So if you do change in terms of your identity or just in terms of values, it needs to be communicated to everyone who represents the company. Having said this, changing your values but looking the same in most cases also doesn’t work. Branding does not make a silk purse of a sows ear for any length of time… If your company isn’t up to the challenges you want it to take on, a nice new identity won’t help in the long run.

So the second joke. If we swapped the ‘council workers’ with most other occupations would the joke work?

Not really

The joke is funny because we have a broad stroke perception of council’s wasting money (a bit of a sweeping statement). Unfortunately they don’t do themselves any favours by perpetuating this with undertakings which are, to quote the taxpayers alliance, ‘vanity projects’. So when they rebrand, which many do, it is on the whole a pointless exercise. If you don’t change your culture, there is no point in changing your spots. Obviously there are people reading this who are thinking, but our council is great. Firstly you are lucky, but secondly if branding is all about perception, you need to be a loud voice of positivity to outweigh the negative shouts.

And this voice needs to be a consistently positive voice. It needs to talk to the audience in a way that the audience appreciates and believes.


Puur delivers branding with a purpose that answers business needs. All our work is developed with the end audience and objectives in mind. Our work isn’t just pretty pictures, our work solves a challenge set by you. give us a call today for a chat about how we can help.

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