As we head into another new business year (does anyone really work in January – in our defence it’s near impossible to sleep so functioning on all cylinders is a rare occurrence at this time of year), I have high hopes that this fine country is in the process of a brand identity renewal.
Have we rested on the laurels of the Lovable Larrikin for far too long? It’s not really an identity that serves us well if we want to be taken seriously on the world stage, not least because where do women fit in with that?
Sentiment around Australia/Invasion Day has run stronger than ever this year, with lengthy debate pursued in the media and several organisations electing to work on the national holiday rather than celebrate. And, combined with our nod to diversity and inclusion by voting in favour of same sex marriage, we seem to be well on the way to emotional maturity.
The country’s sentiment helps shape the work culture, so if we are to achieve anything close to a working environment that is equitable across the board, something that we’ve made a focus in our business to helping others achieve, we need an overall shift in attitude in Australia.
We are a sophisticated country with rich cultural diversity and we have a wealth of talent in the arts, science and business, so viewing some news items in my feed this week has seemed incomprehensible (an unfathomable choice to bolster local jobs, the larrikin looming large on live TV, the discovery of top secret cabinet documents in second-hand filing cabinets – you actually couldn’t make this stuff up – and Tourism Australia’s latest blockbuster ad for the US market that is banking on the popularity of a 30-year-old movie). But, an amazing choice for Australian of the Year, the second year in row with a focus on STEM, and some well-articulated and educated discussion around diversity, inclusion, community and environment suggests that we are hopefully moving in the general direction of progress.
It’d be easy to blame the politicians (I won’t lie, they do fall short of expectations time and time again) or the media but ultimately, the responsibility is ours to determine how we want our ‘brand’ to be perceived around the world. Do we laugh with (at) the Larrikin every time he pops up or do we say, mate, we’ve moved on, why don’t you hop on board?
Our team has been given the opportunity to work with some incredible brands this year, all of them determined to effect some kind of positive change, which is our little contribution to the brand makeover. Watch this space…