Australian Border Force – Brand power or absolute power?

Jan 12, 2016Media Releases Spin

From fast food to funerals, the power of marketing is well known – but what emerges when the pursuit of brand power is driven by pursuit of more questionable power?  The answer may be the Australian Border Force.

Government tender documents show the Abbott/Turnbull Governments have spent well over $6 million dollars branding the organisation, including new uniforms, name badges, tags and lanyards, flags and promotional merchandise and stationery.

But costs associated with the new corporate identity extended to more than just new digs, with the Department spending more than $10,000 to dispose of stationery with old logos on it and order a $62,000 review of branding activities.

Labor’s waste spokesperson, Pat Conroy, says the motive behind the marketing should be questioned.

“Of course additional resources are required when a Department is created, in this case through amalgamation, but also when an agency changes roles or responsibilities,” Mr Conroy said.

“In reality, there are a lot of administrative changes and this goes down to every piece of stationery and every product that has been produced under the old banner. As we can see here, even out of date products are being destroyed.”

“Why on earth, after all of this, would the Department spend even more money on a review of all this?”

“You don’t have to spend over $60,000 to know that this has been a costly exercise.”

“It isn’t good enough to change the whole structure of an organisation just to satisfy Ministerial ambition or political ideology.”

“There are legitimate questions for the Government to answer about the ABF, particularly when we look at how marketing material and branding are creating a culture within the organisation. We’ve already seen the Operation Fortitude debacle and the notorious secrecy of the Government when it comes to asylum seekers.”

“I recently wrote to Commissioner Quaedvlieg asking for details about the total expenditure on branding the ABF but he refused to give a figure. He did confirm that around two thirds of the Department’s budget for this kind of activity had been spent on ‘updating brochures, client information, airport/seaport/building signs, corporate merchandise and vehicle and vessel livery’.”

Tenders relating to branding of the ABF:

$10,511.34 – Recall and destruction of ACBPS branded stationary $12,710.50 – Printing of ABF notebooks
$13,884.20 – Printing of ABF notebooks $14,877.50 –  Branded plush puppies
$15,050.00 – ABF Flags $18,165.40 – Border Watch merchandise
$19,901.93 – ABF Lanyards and ID cards $25,465.00 – ABF Uniforms (Badges/tags)
$29,150.00 – Border Watch merchandise $34,620.00 – ABF Name Badges
$38,280.00 – ABF Promotional Material $55,000.00 – Recruitment of ABF Commissioner
$62,000.00 – Audit of branding $5,645,801.77 – ABF Uniforms