Case Study: Changing the name of a government Branch to increase accessibility, future proof, provide clarity of purpose, and support improved service delivery outcomes
Our client is a Branch within a large government department providing critical support services to its customers and the connected community. Smarterknowledge was engaged to assess and potentially change the name of the branch so it reflected its purpose and service offering, and the increasingly diverse needs and expectations of customers, stakeholders, and partners.
The case for change and impact assessment
Detailed consultation was undertaken to develop a strong and robust ‘Case for Change’. The case for change defined the Drivers, Criteria, and Benefits of changing the name of the Branch and became the foundation for the project and key messaging.
Key drivers included:
- Customers and stakeholders (recognisable)
- Organisational (reflects service delivery) Strategy (aligned and future proofed)
- People and culture (drives values and behaviours)
At the same time, we undertook a detailed stakeholder analysis and an impact assessment that identified the operational impacts of a name change. Impact categories were identified to assist with assessing the level of impact, mitigating risk, and prioritisation of effort.
Key categories included:
- Branding and signage
- Customer service portals (knowledge articles)
- Forms and templates
- Group email addresses
- Internal collaboration platforms
- Intranet sites
- IT systems
- Policy and delegations
- Procedures and processes
- Publications and resources
- Records (and information) management
- Strategies and plans
- Website (external)
Ideation and selection
Following endorsement of the Case for Change, over 30 ideation sessions were held generating a list of 180 potential names. A methodical analysis was completed (e.g., frequency, alignment, search results) to develop a shortlist of names. Following further testing, a new name was selected that better described ‘what they do and who they do it for’ and would help to strengthen identity and position within the community.
Implementation and communication
Implementation of the new name was staggered to reduce administrative burden on the Branch (and Department) and allow for communication to build in frequency and prepare audiences for the change. A range of communication activities and materials were developed, but the underlying strategy was ‘tagging’ key messages into existing communication (media, articles, social). It was also important to have leadership buy in and a key spokesperson to drive the message.
Launching and embedding
Due to the developing COVID situation, formal launch events were redirected into video and online activities. Following the launch, the focus was on auditing to ensure the updates had happened across all internal and external categories (including partner websites) and that the name was embedded across all communication channels.
The new name positions the Branch for the future and reflects successful alignment in describing ‘what they do and who they do it for’.
A seamless transition with minimal disruption
The implementation of the new name was a seamless and smooth transition with minimal impact on operations and service delivery of the Branch. The constant reinforcement of internal and external messaging through a ‘tagging’ approach meant by the time the name was launched, audiences were already familiar and there were no surprises.
The case for change provided the foundation for the project and careful planning and early engagement were critical to implementation and regularly appreciated by stakeholders who were required to make updates. What may seem like a long lead time can become very short when navigating large and complex environments!
The key benefits of the name are aligned to the drivers and delivered:
- Increased accessibility – customers and stakeholders identify and trust it is a government led service
- Future proofed – a name that will remain current in a constantly changing organisational environment
- Clarity of purpose – audiences understand what they do and who they do it for
- Improved service delivery – fosters pride and a more united and integrated customer service culture
Streamlining and improving governance practices
This project also had a major side benefit that was leveraged throughout delivery. Changing the Branch name touched on nearly every aspect of Branch functions and highlighted gaps and opportunities to review and streamline governance and business practices. Examples include greater brand consistency, standardised naming conventions, reduced number of group mailboxes and customer entry points and greater visibility of policy and guidance.