Leader – Biting the brand that feeds it

So, the English ICA has called in a brand consultancy. Should we now expect the focus group-driven, spin-doctor tendency to take the helm at Moorgate Place?

Watergate conspirator Jeb Stuart Magruder once claimed: ‘All government is 75% PR.’ As New Labour lends further credence to that theory, New ICA is following the example of Richard Branson and the Big Five firms in testing the concept commercially.

The Big Five’s branding drive makes sense; like modern pub chains they are constantly merging and refurbishing themselves. Image and reputation are all.

The ICA’s move should not surprise us either – after all, Big Five partners play a major role in the institute and shape the ICA’s world view.

What is discomforting, however, is that the initiative is top-down. The consultants will be defining strategies that set the ICA apart from rival bodies like ACCA, CIMA and CIPFA – bodies that have had trouble defining and differentiating themselves from each other. Ask members involved in any one of the many recent merger debacles.

The need to rationalise the profession still casts a long shadow over the institutes and no doubt this will have preyed on minds within Moorgate Place as they decided to call in the image enhancers. But as it embraces corporate values, the ICA needs to re-acquaint itself with the people who really define its identity – the members.

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