New logo

GMCA rebrands to sell devolution

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority will soon get a facelift and adopt a greater social media presence as part of a strategy to communicate the successes of the historic devolution deal.

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At the last GMCA meeting on Friday 27 February members were being asked to approve the updated communications strategy, Stronger Together, which sets the sub-regional policy agenda until 2020 and aims to develop a more effective and co-ordinated communications plan. The strategy includes designs for a new logo, website, and publishing style.

The devolution of a range of powers from central government to Manchester was agreed in November 2014, in return for agreeing to appoint an elected mayor. Last week, it was announced that this deal would be extended to include control of Manchester's £6bn NHS budget. Following the agreement, GMCA set a goal that by 2020 Greater Manchester would generate more income through tax than it spends on services, through a more effective approach to public spending and service delivery.

The communications strategy's objectives are:

  • promote success of Greater Manchester's growth and reform agenda
  • demonstrate the outcomes of devolution and publicise successes
  • support and promote work of leader and chief executive.

The new-look website is already in development, with plans to deliver clearer navigation and search ability for users along with a cleaner design, due to go live on 1 April 2015. In a second phase of improvements, the website will have interactive forums on news and developments, with live streaming of the GMCA board and committee meetings. GMCA will also get a social media presence on Twitter, to publicise outcomes and decisions of meetings.

According to a report by Donna Hall, chief executive of Wigan Council, ahead of the GMCA meeting, "both the brand and the strategy have been developed and refined to reflect the devolution deal and now put forward a strong image of Greater Manchester.

"As awareness of the GMCA increases more effective support must be provided to portfolio holders to enable them to convey key messages in relation to the policy agenda that they are leading. And it is critical to engage employees within each local authority and partner organisation to ensure that they understand their role in delivering change."

The grey and copper coloured brand was designed to "pull together the whole of Greater Manchester, to describe a shared history, vision and bright future", with a particular emphasis on the region's industrial heritage, using "metallic hues".

While a central Greater Manchester communications team has been established to oversee the project, each of the ten local authorities along with Transport for Greater Manchester and Growth Company will be responsible for putting GMCA content out within their organisations.

The designs were produced by the in-house team at Manchester City Council with website software by Jadu. A new website address will be used but has not been released yet pending government approval as it will use the suffix.

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It looks very flat and pedestrian. Like the BBC logo but in corduroy. Hmmm.

By Dirge

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