Great Public Service is a Brand We Need to Shout About!

Dear PPMAer

The other week I was asked by AskGrapevine HR for my views of what others may think of the public sector, linked to the economic downturn. Whilst acknowledging that my views of what others might think of our sector may be way off the mark, my rather glib response was that I thought we had taken a pretty big hit. If I had been pushed, I could have repeated what some unfriendly sorts have said about the public sector which is that its going down the toilet, with a more moderate view being that we are at least in the bathroom territory!  As unfair as this perception may be, it is nevertheless there and not helpful in terms of us trying to recruit new people or in keeping our existing employees engaged and motivated. However, such jaundiced attitudes are endemic in our society and hardly new. For instance, how many of us remember the widely held view that ‘British is Best’ (which in itself is a fairly jaundiced belief) to later turn into ‘don’t buy British whatever you do’! Why is it that us Brits seem to like extremes I wonder?

Such thoughts led me in the AskGrapevine HR piece to start thinking about those well known British brands that are doing rather well in spite of the economic climate, with the thought that maybe we could learn something from them. Being something of a petrol (and diesel) nut, I thought about JaguarLandrover. Maybe not a British owned company anymore, but certainly a British brand and doing rather well. Its doing well, not just in terms of sales volumes and product lines but also in people management, whereby the whole world it seems wants to apply for each vacancy advertised!   Now….whilst we in the public sector might not be as shiny, racy or sexy as the likes of JaguarLandrover we do have our own brand attributes and I think we need to flaunt these a whole lot more. Changing peoples lives beyond material gain has got to be our brand niche and that seems to me to be pretty worthwhile stuff to shout about…..which brings me on to flaunting the HR profession….but I’ll leave that for another time….


Vice President

By | 2012-07-17T10:22:12+01:00 July 17th, 2012|Categories: Richard Crouch|5 Comments


  1. Raffaela Goodby 17th July 2012 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    When I was at school, we had a lovely concert where we sang a rather special version of ‘Nobody loves a lonely Jaguar’ (ooh ahh ooh ahh) – and your post made me think of that.

    There is strength in numbers, millions of us work in local gov, and we know we are doing a great job – improving the lives of the people – making savings – trying to maintain engagement and protect staff where we possibly can.

    If we start with ourselves, be the change we want to see, then the press must surely follow and stop (or lessen at least) with the public sector bashing.

    So if everyone could learn the words for the Jaguar song we can have a rendition at the 2013 seminar?

  2. Jo Moffatt 17th July 2012 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    As an organisation which works with many leading brands and helps them use their brands and brand values to build healthy internal cultures I’d endorse your blog Richard. We have found that the brand techniques and methodologies we use to define and establish cultures translate very well to a not-for-profit or public sector environment.
    Earlier this year we ran a survey to uncover the extent to which UK businesses had ‘brand-hearted’ cultures. You can read the report here
    It’s clear from our survey that organisations do have values and that amongst the senior teams there is an understanding of what these are. Clearly some organisations are firing on all cylinders when it comes to bringing their brands to life inside. However the survey identified a disconnect in terms of organisations failing to successfully embed the values amongst employees in a sustainable way to help create the right kinds of values-based cultures – the kinds of cultures that keep employee engagement high, customers happy and loyal and bottom line revenues growing. I hope you’ll agree the findings resonate equally in a public sector context.

  3. Richard Crouch 18th July 2012 at 8:32 am - Reply

    I can’t say I’ve heard of the Jaguar song and find it quite difficult to believe someone would want to write about a lonely car! Lonely HRD maybe but not car! Raffaela I think is spot on by saying brand promotion needs to start with ourselves and has put a great twist on Gandhi’s well known phrase “We must become the change we want to see.”

    Jo I think is so right as well. And perhaps the message here is that values shouldn’t be imposed from above but fuelled more from ‘within’. This would certainly help detract from the ‘laminated’ values we see too often – pinned on a wall but not demonstrated.

    So, the short message may be is – lets get behind our respective brands, put our personal flavours to them and go out and sell!

    All the best


  4. Steve Jarvis 18th July 2012 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    At a time when there is so much energy for blame I really think those of us involved in the Public Sector do need to keep focus on delivering the best we can with what we have left. As they say, we can be victims or we can simply continue to give the best of ourselves for those we serve and care for. Attitude is everything and attitude is infectious. It really depends on our own attitudes and however we want others to see us as organisations and as individuals. I for one believe in local government and I know colleagues do too. We may get knocked down but we always get up again as the song goes, we will continue to do so to the best of our abilities irrespective of what Government and local politics throw at us.

  5. Richard Crouch 23rd July 2012 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    Strange coincidence or maybe not, but I was talking to one of the PPMA’s key sponsors last week and brand was mentioned then. It seems its also on the CEO radar – probably because its on our radar as well!

    From the comments so far, I feel a song theme emerging. I wonder if there are any budding PPMA song writers out there who want to give it a go? Who knows, you could end up being famous…or do I mean infamous? And, if anyone can sing, maybe something for the April Seminar in Bristol? Best book a band just in case….!

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