Newcastle City Council to decide whether to change its brand name

CITY of Newcastle or The City of Newcastle?

Is there a difference, and if so, what is it?

As anyone who has followed the rise of Facebook will know, the social media platform that changed the world was originally known as The Facebook. The name change to Facebook is now viewed as an important part of its marketing success, and while it wasn’t the first organisation to drop the definite article (as the word “the” is described, grammatically) from its name, it is probably the most influential.

In a report to tonight’s Newcastle City Council meeting, council staff are urging the elected council to adopt City of Newcastle for “branding and trading purposes”, although the organisation itself will still be known, legally, as the council.

Councillors are told that using the term City of Newcastle to describe the council will bring it into line with “the practices of many other councils throughout Australia”.

That may be the case, but no matter what the organisation wants to call itself, it’s a fair bet it will still be known as “the council” for as long as there are councillors to sit around the table.

 Ironically, it’s only three years since the council took what was effectively the opposite tack to the one that councillors are being asked to take this time around, when they resolved to stop using “The City of Newcastle” to refer to the council and to only use it when referring to the Newcastle local government area.

Now, because the May 2015 resolution did not include changing the wording in the corporate logo, this has caused confusion “over an extended period of time”, justifying a decision to go back to “The City of Newcastle, but without the “The”.

Interestingly, there are no estimates of the cost of the change, with documentation and digital updates to be done within existing budgets.

The signage on council equipment will be updated, according to the council papers, when new equipment is required.

On that point, it is worth noting that the council papers spell out the council’s existing acronym as NCC. Presumably, then, the NCC signs will be replaced with the council’s new acronym, which will be CON or CoN.

Either way, that may not be the brand message the council is looking for.

Just a thought . . . 

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