When we planted an American flag on the surface of the Moon, that was branding.
When JPL put their name in Morse code on the treads of Curiosity, that was branding.
Nearly everything we do is a form of branding, both #1 and #2. This comment is branding.
Some might argue that there ought to be only one brand for the Federal Government, and I think once upon a time there was only one brand. It was a serious, White male in a dark suit who somehow had acquired significant power despite a total lack of charisma. He was a Bureaucrat.
Now, Bureaucrats have mohawks, and they’re memes.
There is no right answer to the question of where the branding balance should rest. It’s true that Congress defines Federal agencies by what they do. Congress, however, gets most of its information from Googling now, which means they see the same branded websites the public sees. The challenge is that the only good brands are successful ones, and there’s no way to measure that at the outset.
My standard is this: brand conservatively. If you exist under an already established, trusted brand, then ride that pony as far as it takes you. Don’t stop using your agency’s logo until you get a letter from your Director telling you to knock it off. Bureaucrats have forgotten how useful it is to present themselves as representatives of a much larger entity.
As we go into sequestration, a lot of folks will complain that the public now casts aspersions upon them as Federal Employees. But how many of those same folks reject their agencies’ brands? We should not be surprised at all that when we fragment our identity then we are easier to belittle.