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The Logo Bureaucrats Run Amok in NSW.

NSW State Logo
Place and destination branding is tricky at the best of times. Among the ever-present challenge is managing the possible influence of politics and the whim of politicians and bureaucrats.

The Sydney Herald reports that the tourism industry, and especially the attractions owned by the Government of New South Wales (NSW) Australia, were blindsided last month by an announcement from the State's Premier (equivalent to Governor) that the state’s government-owned attractions must all ditch their individual logos and replace them with the State Government logo which is the State flower, the Waratah.

These include the world famous Sydney Opera House, Taronga Park, Sydney Olympic Park, the Art Gallery of NSW, the Australian Museum and many more. Each of these enterprises is competing in highly competitive markets i.e. they must have a very strong customer focus.

While logos aren’t brands, they do play a valuable role as identifiers to distinguish entities and provide the foundation for their distinctive visual identity or look. A point of concern in the NSW directive was that the government logo was needed to "ensure consistency across public sector communications and improve the recognition of NSW government projects".

Who do they think is their customer?

Was there any consumer research conducted to test this idea?

What about other elements of their visual identity?

The greatest ‘head-scratcher’ was the statement by the spokesperson that the cost of the exercise would be "minimal" because the ‘Waratah’ was an existing logo and it could do so as part of routine communications updates. Seriously? What about wayfinding systems, websites, brochures, uniforms and vehicles that still have plenty of use? That means there will be multiple designs in use at the same time.

A logo should act as a cue for thoughts and feelings that people hold about the entity. In this case, someone should tell the NSW Premier that NOBODY is traveling to experience NSW government departments and that all of these entities do not share the same brand essence as government departments.

Fortunately, logos are only one part of any marketing toolkit. But this is a very worrying example of bureaucratic interference in the serious business of destination marketing.

Bill Baker

Bill BakerBill Baker

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