Nudging the governmental meter closer to more authentic and meaningful citizen engagement is both a vision and a professional goal of mine.
Government agencies tend to function as an intermediary market, writing policies in response to legislation that in turn drives program and budget development. Activities are frequently accomplished through contracts with businesses external to the agency.
The citizen (customer) is considered peripherally, if at all, in the development of programs or projects, and usually only due to the squeaky wheel approach.
While fashionable to criticize government agencies and bureaucracy, both agencies and citizens have a vested interest in developing a deeper understanding of the role the other plays in community, social and economic development.
Advancing Voices: Start-Up Business Considerations in Branding, Marketing and Digital Promotion documents the branding, marketing and promotion ideas for specialized consultation and facilitation services, starting with identifying the potential customers. The report explores their common traits, key attributes and top motivators:
A strengths-weaknesses-threats and opportunities (SWOT) analysis and identification of competitors is also detailed in the report. Two decades of experience in the private non-profit and public sector lend credibility to my skills; however, I am also well-known as a staunch advocate for marginalized people, which can be perceived as threatening by community leaders.
With dictionary and thesaurus at hand, I considered different business names and then checked for current trademark usage before sketching possible business logos. Once the draft names and logos were completed, I developed a survey to test receptivity to the names and logos.
This culminated in a return to the drawing board, leading to the Advancing Voices name and logo.
Additionally, I felt it was important to create a POWER Communication and Social Media Marketing Plan for an existing community business, Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights, a local business, rather than a potential business.
While intensive and challenging, this class provided me with an excellent opportunity to continue exploring my interests in the strategic use of strategies and tools to further support government agencies in authentically engaging citizens, especially marginalized and disenfranchised people, and to help citizens more fully claim their roles and power in a participatory democracy.
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