As I just noted HMRC has appointed American marketing guru Melissa Ledgerman to lead an overhaul of its communications and brand strategy.
As part of the new strategy, online services for taxpayers and advisers will be greatly enhanced. But access to these new digital services will linked to a series of massively open online courses (MOOCs) relating to tax requirements and responsibilities.
Depending on their success at passing relevant modules and client compliance levels, advisers will be entitled to varying levels of access to enhanced services available via HMRC’s online portal.
Legerman is renowned in Silicon Valley marketing circles as a strategic lightning rod and provocative thinker. Her 2012 book ‘Touching the Void: A Brand Adventure’ introduced the concept of “brand shock”, while her infamous TED Talk 'Bigger than Jesus: Why marketing is our new God' brought her notoriety amongst the Christian community.
More recently, she has worked with Corby as part of a rebrand of the manufacturer's Trouser Press line, including last year's 'Wowzers! Those are some well pressed trousers!' campaign.
Ledgerman's salary is rumoured to be in six figures.
Ledgerman is quoted by Mycustomer.com:
“HMRC is an iconic global brand, recognised for its innovation and entrepreneurial approach to tax administration. I plan to take that recognition to a new level by empowering our team to new heights of excellence.
My role will involve positively influencing market perceptions – in terms of our talent, our customers and the marketplace occupied by commercial stakeholders. The taxman has had a bad reputation for too long. It's time to sex up the world of tax. By the time I've finished, you Brits will be begging to pay more tax.
These touchpoints build brand awareness at every node. We’re going to assemble a whole bunch of interactive feedback loops to reinforce positive behaviours, within and beyond the organisational perimeter.”
In the presentation that convinced the HMRC board of commissioners to embark on such a high-profile appointment, Ledgerman set out a five-point plan to refocus the department’s lines of tax into five units - or “pillars” - called Care, Recovery, Focus, Interactive, and Interface.
Other initiatives put forward under Ledgerman’s plans include:
Board members including John Whiting and Ian Barlow put through an executive development and bonding weekend in Wales. “It was invigorating,” the OTS tax policy director told MyCustomer about his bog-snorkelling initiation. “Being up to your neck in muck for three hours gives you a new perspective on the challenge of simplifying the tax system.”
Customer care courses conducted by facilitators from McDonald’s University; HMRC staff will gain competency badges to signify their qualification across different disciplines.
- Regular compliance with filing requirements and deadlines will entitle taxpayers to a “loyalty bonus” discount on their liabilities.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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