Have you seen it? The US government has launched a new website dedicated solely to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Well, the American people asked for more transparency, and they have got it. To quote the home page, “This is your money. You have a right to know where it is going and how it is being spent.”
I am tempted to make a snarky comment about the past administration here, but this is a blog about branding, not politics.
Barack Obama does indeed reflect a 21st century sensibility, and it goes beyond his passion for his Blackberry. What he has done is to reinforce his brand promise of government transparency in a tangible way, using communication methods that are open, clear and easily accessible. There is opportunity for the public to both learn and engage. In the style of classic cascading communications, many government agencies have also set aside a section or page on their own websites dedicated to the Recovery Act. Not only that, his team has created a logo that will be deployed on other agency websites and literal sites (such as highway construction, I guess) where our ARRA tax dollars are at work.
Washington is littered with logos, of course. The majority are dedicated to Departments and Agencies. (I just took a quick tour of a dozen or so, and it’s a very interesting visual exercise.) It’s unusual for legislation to be identified this way. In this regard President Obama seems to be following in the steps of the Roosevelt administration; the WPA had its own logo, too. But if you think of the impact of the Recovery.gov logo in terms of reach and frequency, it has the potential to really become top of mind to the American public in a positive way.
This is pretty classic brand-building. It remains to be seen whether the program has “legs”, whether people engage, whether communications are timely and correct. But it’s a good start.