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Monday 11 August 2014

TV Licensing Brand Philosophy

We recently noticed that one of our previous Freedom of Information requests had been cited on the Television Licensing in the United Kingdom Wikipedia article.

The request in question, about the wording and approval of TV Licensing letters, dates back to December 2011. Despite the passage of time, we remember clearly that our primary motivation for making that request was the prove that the BBC authorises the menacing tone of every TV Licensing standard letter (threatogram).

In that we succeeded, but it appears we didn't pay much attention to the secondary disclosure documents released by the BBC at the time, one of which was the TV Licensing Brand Communication Guidelines.

This 59-page guide outlines the structure of TV Licensing publications in minute detail. It is these guidelines that irritatingly insist on the word "Licence" being incorrectly capitalised in every TV Licensing document. 

As well as explaining the acceptable layouts, spellings, colour schemes, type faces, font sizes and phrases, the guidelines contain an interesting page titled "our philosophy". 

Below, for your entertainment, we reproduce TV Licensing's brand philosophy word for word (complete with abysmal grammar and punctuation):
TV Licensing puts the public at the heart of everything we do.

Why? Because we're a public service organisation. And 95% of households across the UK are our customers.

They love TV, radio and online content. They abide by the law that created the TV Licence. And even in the hardest times, most find a way to pay 39p a day toward that world of information, entertainment and conversation that enriches our lives.

Which is why when we talk to them, we remember we're talking to the people we're here to serve.

So we're polite, respectful and open.

We do not seek to persuade but to inform and enable.

We do not obfuscate, omit or spin. We make even complex things - like the law - simple.

We take pride in being helpful to those looking for a way to pay their TV Licence.

We are not aggressive or threatening. Rather we're clear, conversational and considered.

We do not shout. We tell people what they need to know so they can choose their own actions and the consequences of them.

We never assume guilt. Instead we trust that most people will do the right thing.

We also believe that to be fair to those who do we need to be firm with those who should, but don't.

We didn't create the law. But we were created by it as much to enable it as to enforce it. With as much transparency as sense of responsibility.

While we give everyone every opportunity to comply with the law, we are unwavering in bringing to account those who persist in breaking it. Appropriately. Proportionately. And efficiently.

Why? It's just as rewarding to us, as to the public we serve, to see fewer of the pennies go towards collecting the TV Licence fee and enforcing TV Licence law, and more of the pounds go towards the TV, radio and online content we all love and live by.

After all, our ambition is to be a modern self-serve digital brand in a fast-changing media world.

Having read all that, we're sat in stunned disbelief at how far detached TV Licensing's brand philosophy is from its brand reality. 

In particular we take umbrage at the idea that TV Licensing doesn't shout and isn't threatening or aggressive. Oh really? Equally farcical is the notion that TV Licensing never assumes guilt and doesn't obfuscate, omit or spin. TV Licensing spins more than Alistair Campbell on a merry-go-round.

It just goes to show, as we've said all along, how little understanding the ivory-towered BBC actually has about the reality of TV Licensing operations on the ground. They really don't have a clue.

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