Government comms teams have been warned not to use incorrect logos and branding across the NHS and Public Health England (PHE). It would appear that national screening programme providers haven’t been following stringent guidelines. This begs the question; how hard is it to control your logo?
Having worked in NHS comms I know how precious the logo is and how much power one can wield with its use and association. It is after all, one of the most recognised logos in the world. I worked for a Trust that was awarded Foundation status and can remember when we consequently received our updated logo. It arrived in a pack on a CD. We only got one copy. I literally held it in a clocked drawer, such was its value. There was a long list of people who would have liked to get their hands on it!
Writing on the Public Health England blog, Nick Johnstone-Waddell, Public and professional information lead, has been highlighting examples where its national branding has been used inappropriately on local resources. He called on “everyone to follow some simple rules” which includes not using any national PHE or UK National Screening Campaign logos without permission. This included not using visual elements from national screening resources out of context.
Navigating those brand guidelines
There are many issues with managing the consistency of logo use and the correct application of brand guidelines. Here’s some for comms folk and brand custodians to consider:
- Brand guidelines are complex. They cover everything from size, positioning, location, colours, fonts – and don’t even start me on co-branding rules! So it makes the life of a comms pro really challenging. Johnstone-Waddell asking “everyone to follow some simple rules” sounds good; but the reality is not so straight forward
- Brands have value and credence; association with the popular ones has huge value – the NHS ‘Any Qualified Provider’ policy underlines how major names such as Virgin, Care UK and UnitedHealth Group, to name etc. are clamouring to be service providers and take a piece of the £5.9bn of contracts on offer in 2017 alone. Get the contracts and companies gain a direct association with one of the worlds most recognised brands. And the ability to use the logo
- In a digital age, logos are easily accessible online. Google images is testament to this. On this basis, it’s very easy to get and use a logo of average or even good quality
- Also in a digital age, we need to think about how our branding works online as well as on those nice, glossy corporate brochures. Think long and hard how that fussy logo will translate into that small circle profile image space on Twitter or Instagram… Or not.