What do you do with a government agency that stays in the news for all the wrong reasons? Spend $100,000 on a rebranding exercise.
This one comes with its own captive audience but probably not the bunch you need to influence, and the code name might as well be ‘Mission: Impossible’.
The ACT Government has just awarded a contract to local communications outfit Couch Creative to overhaul the branding (an unfortunate term in this instance) of the ACT Corrections Service, which operates the Alexander Maconochie Centre (aka, the prison).
Couch Creative will have to live up to its name to overcome a history of scandals, management failures and security breaches, including last year’s contraband brouhaha that locked down the prison and this week’s allegation from Liberal MLA Giulia Jones of a dial-a-drug drone delivery service at the prison.
The prison operates to the requirements of the ACT Human Rights Act but that hasn’t stopped it being a scene of inmate violence, deaths in custody, sky-high Indigenous incarceration rates, cost blow-outs and the subject of poor report cards such as last year’s review by the ACT Inspector of Correctional Services.
In some respects, any corrections system and prison is a poisoned chalice but this one, according to the contract, is ”undergoing a transformation, in the engagement with its staff, in the recognition of its brand and the personification of what this brand represents”.
The re-brand will ”showcase to staff and stakeholders, a new and progressive ACTCS, highlighting the positive and life-affirming work carried by employees across the ACTCS, on the frontline, in their daily workplace and the community”.
Part of the pitch will be to encourage the right people to want to work in the Corrections System as part of a new and ongoing recruitment drive.
”The intent for ongoing recruitment is to attract and retain ACTCS employees, [and] inspire the current workforce to embody the ACTCS brand values in action,” the contract says
When the campaign has done its job with its captive audience, the next phase will extend outside to ”promote and highlight the work being undertaken to … ‘Support a Safer Community’”.
This will involve rebuilding the ACTCS website and overhauling its content, including a video message from the Commissioner and an Our People section populated by staff members who represent the new-look agency and its values.
We will also discover what it will take to be a corrections staff member, outlining the new vision for ACTCS employees and dispelling myths about working at the Alexander Maconochie Centre.
The 12-month contract covers print, digital and broadcast media including staff interviews, case and testimonials.
It will be delivered in two phases, the first by 31 August 2020, and the second by 16 November 2020 when there will be a discreet (soft) launch.
The price tag does not include the media buy required to implement the community campaign, which will be managed separately through Justice and Community Safety Directorate (JACS) Media.