The Communications subcommittee meeting was held on 10 December in Motueka. All relevant councillors were in attendance.
The Agenda was somewhat brief and received a number of reports: (1) terms of reference for communications subcommittee, (2) local media strategy, (3) council branding and logo, (4) engagement calendar, (5) online communications, and (6) media monitoring. I only wish to discuss two topics, the subcommittee’s terms of reference and branding, as the other reports were barley discussed.
Terms of Reference – and the wider question of subcommittee structures
The purpose of the report was to identify the areas of delegation specific to the communications subcommittee in relation to the community development committee. The proposed delegations seemed somewhat constrained and one had to wonder why there was a subcommittee at all. Interestingly, the community development committee has the highest number of subcommittees – four. These are: (1) communications, (2) grants, (3) creative communities (grants), and (4) community awards.
In contrast, the engineering committee (the most heavily worked given the size of the reports the committee has to consider) has no subcommittees, the environment and planning committee has only a hearings panel and development contributions subcommittee, and the corporate services committee has only two subcommittees – commercial enterprises, and audit.
In my opinion, the four subcommittees should be rationalised into two: (1) communications, and (2) grants and awards – or perhaps none at all if the communications subcommittee is to have little mandate to make recommendations to the parent community development committee.
Branding of Correspondence
This discussion arose from a much earlier discussion (held by the corporate services committee, see earlier post) in relation to cost savings from not using pre-printed letter head for internal documents or other documents that were archived in the council’s electronic document management system. Instead, the council’s colour printer’s would generate these documents using only the textual elements of the TDC logo (ie, “tasman district council”) and not the circular logo or swish. It was agreed at that meeting, that this single coloured textual branding would not be used for external documents as it could cause confusion for people use to receiving documents with the full TDC branding.
It was noted that staff had taken (unwisely), the opportunity to use the simplified textual brand on a single council vehicle. The purpose of which was not fully explained. Although it did demonstrate that the wider used of a single coloured textual brand (without any logo imagery) was more cost effective than the current TDC branding.
At this meeting, it was suggested that the council’s colour printer’s could also be used for external documents, as colour printing was cheaper than using pre-printed letter head. However, it was noted that the council’s colour printer’s could not reproduce the full range of colours (thirteen separate colours) that appeared in the full TDC branding. Thus, if the colour printer’s were used for creating external documents, a simplified TDC logo would have to be developed.
It was agreed, that any simplified branding would have to be consistent with the full TDC branding. And could only be used for letters and correspondence after existing pre-printed letter head had been consumed. This was not to be a wider rebranding exercise. Staff advised that they would report back with a simplified brand which (we were advised), would cost no more than half an hour of a designer’s time.
In my opinion, the TDC branding is not well designed for digital media (due to its complexity, size, and wide colour range). It is in much need of refreshment. A much smaller and simpler logo (without a swish) would produce cost savings and be a much stronger image. Whether a simplified brand would be rolled out more widely would depend on any roll out being revenue neutral (ie when old signage required replacement). This is because our primary concern must be keeping our costs down, and rebranding should not be a priority, when other more pressing issues are more of a concern.
Agenda and Minutes
For copies of the agenda and minutes see http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/subcommittee-meetings/communications-subcommittee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/CommunicationsSubcommittee/2013/2013-12-10