Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Brand Control to Major Tom

I have just discovered that somewhere inside the Marketing department of The Bank is a person, or perhaps a whole department, who approves use of The Bank’s brands and logos in third-party applications. If they say NO, it might actually stop an entire project.

Some things a company can’t win. Given a fuss about an unauthorised use of the company’s logos, you can almost hear the snarks asking “Don’t you have control over who and when and why your logos get used? How difficult is that?” Then you have “You mean an entire £1m project was stopped dead for six weeks until it was pointless by a bunch of bureaucrats who weren’t convinced it was a proper use of the logos? What stupid bureaucracy.”  

There’s no middle way. There might seem to be, but there isn’t: any rule you make will always have some circumstance in which its opposite should have been applied, and by Sod’s Law, that will be the circumstance that happens.

I’ve always thought the bureaucrat-guaradians should have the role of explaining their reservations, but the ultimate decision must always rest with the project sponsor. And he/she can’t get out of that responsibility by referrring to the bureaucrats’s worries, but nor will they get into trouble if they go against the bureaucratic judgement and then it goes wrong for exactly those worries. Otherwise you send a “nobody ever got fired for going along with the bureaucrats” signal, and guess what your company turns into?

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