Thursday, July 19, 2012

T&T Police: New look.Same taste ?

Imagine creating a campaign to enhance the public image  of  the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. I cant.
For me,writing a campaign to convince people to use pesticide as an alternative to milk in their morning cornflakes seems a far easier proposition. 
The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service must surely have the worst image and the most negative public perception than any other brand in the country. 
However it appears the TTPS are about to embark on a re-branding exercise.

Newly appointed National Security Minister, Jack Warner  has announced a new initiative aimed at transforming our police service, called  “Shift”. 
"Shift" stands for  Service, Honour, Integration, Focus and Transition. Its budget is  $1.3 million. 
"This is not an anti-crime plan. This is a transition plan to change the image of the Police Service...they want to change the image and get better results and better service, and this is what they are working on". said Mr. Warner. 

The TTPS could certainly use a rebrand. But I am not sure how this is going to lead to "better results".Mr.Warner and his colleagues should be careful  to avoid the route most brands in T&T take when they choose to "rebrand", which is to focus  on making nice new packaging and slapping a big new tagline on it, while ignoring the quality of their product.A brand is more than a look, its an experience.And anyone who has ever had to experience the TTPS knows that 
the Pubic's distrust/dislike of the  service  stems from very real and serious problems within it. 

In 2009 the Geneva based Small Arms Survey published a report on gang violence entitled No other life. Guns, Gangs and Governance in Trinidad and Tobago .The very well written and researched report describes how corruption in the TTPS is largely ignored by administrators who benefit from criminal activity.It even describes sections of the TTPS as operating exactly like criminal gangs themselves. 

The Ministry of National Security responded to the report by the Small Arms Survey, in a manner in which I have seen many times from brand managers everywhere;they claimed the report was biased and then they ignored it. 
In some ways I understand this reaction. No one wants to publicly admit to failing. Who wants to admit that their product is crappy? Its easier to believe that its just an "image problem". 

The TTPS is just like a crappy product that no one wants to buy, and  re-branding it should not just be about changing the way it "looks", but should be about changing the nature of the TTPS itself. That's the only way the brand will gain the trust of the public. 

Trying to sell the public something they know isn't worth buying can have dangerous consequences for a brand. The legendary advertising man David Ogilvy once warned his clients ;

"The consumer isn't a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything". 

Mr. Warner would do well to take his advice. 

A lesson in re-branding from Domino's Pizza.  see  New Image for Police Service

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