Monday, May 21, 2007

Why improve what you do when you can rebrand?

Jeff Masters: A New Name for the National Hurricane Center

Administrators at the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) are making moves to promote their "Corporate Identity" by renaming the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service, according to an article published yesterday in the Miami Herald. The new organizations would be called the "NOAA Hurricane Center" and the "NOAA Weather Service". The proposed changes are being vigorously opposed by new NHC director Bill Proenza, who said, "what's happening is scary."

........Proenza also complained that NOAA is spending between $1.5 million and $4 million on a "bogus" 200-year NOAA anniversary celebration (NOAA was founded in 1970, although some of its component organizations are 200 years old). I do believe that NOAA has a name recognition problem, and that it needs to spend some public relations money to get their name more recognized by the public. Public relations campaigns are essential for any organization to succeed in today's world. However, I think NOAA is going about their public relations campaign the wrong way. The amount being spent on the 200-year anniversary celebration is excessive, given NOAA's stinginess in funding important hurricane research. Furthermore, NOAA should leave the names of the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service alone. Departments of NOAA should be named, recognized, and funded based on their individual missions and function, not based on those of their parent organization. NHC and NWS have worked hard to earn their name recognition, and it would be wrong for NOAA to change their names.

Well W certainly has made government more like business. Idiotic "rebranding" exercises that do not create value (other than for the contractors tasked with designing the new corporate "identity". Add on to this the agency spending millions for a celebration when they are cutting money for hurricane research proves Washington can be just as short sighted as Wall Street.

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