Flagging the future: rebranding and reflection

2500It’s not often that the people of an entire country get a chance to rebrand themselves but that’s just what the population of New Zealand will be doing in a national referendum to choose a new flag.

Voters will be asked to rank four designs shortlisted from thousands of entries.

The consultative process included a survey in which 43,000 New Zealanders shared what they stand for on-line and via post.

In 2016 there will be a second binding referendum in which New Zealanders will be asked to choose between the most popular of the four new designs and their existing flag.

220px-NZ_flag_Photo

The current flag

Process of change

It’s a process of change and self-reflection in which long and deeply held beliefs and emotions are questioned and pitched against emerging feelings about the future.

It’s a long time since anyone could reasonably expect to have a single life-long career. We rebrand ourselves over and over again as we move and develop in life. Companies, too, might expect to rebrand to reflect their changing services and customers. But a country?

Strong memories

Reading about New Zealand’s initiative brought back very strong memories of when we at The Case Centre reviewed our own brand, title and logo back in 2013, and decided to change to something that reflected not just how we were in 2013 but what we wanted to become: an emotional and intellectual home to all those engaged in using and developing the case approach to management education wherever they are located, whatever their experience, and however they express it.

I’m very impressed by New Zealand’s level of consultation and the openness of the process so far and look forward to seeing the outcome flying in years to come. For what it’s worth, I like the black and white kora, or unfurling fern tendril.

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