Branding In The Philippine National Police: Service Reputation
BY: Nick Torre III • Sep 11, 2019
In the police service, there is that thing we call “service reputation.” The closest business term equivalent to “service reputation” that I found is branding. While there are no hard and fast rules that clearly define what this “service reputation” exactly means or what constitutes it, it is often an unwritten tiebreaker if not a major parameter in promotions and designation to positions of higher responsibilities. Most especially during conventions of the Senior Officers Promotion and Placement Board, “service reputation” is often heard. “Magaling yan” (snappy and dependable) or “Malatuba yan” (lax and unreliable) is the most common positive and negative definitions of an officer referring to his/her service reputation. But what does really constitute “service reputation?” In my personal experience and based on observation of my peers, subordinates, and superiors alike, defining the service reputation of another or building one for yourself is quite a tricky endeavor. Be straight as an arrow and you get branded as “Boy Totoo” and it may have a pejorative connotation. Be lackadaisical in your assignment and you are frowned upon too. There are those who go on AWOL (absence without official leave) and dismissed from the service yet years later triumphantly return to the PNP rolls just as if nothing happened. And on the other extreme, there are those who toil day and night for the good of the service and yet remain unknown and unrecognized. So what is the “it” factor for “service reputation” and how is it similar or different to branding in the business world?
A short browse on the Internet returns several definitions of branding but the common theme revolves to something like this:
“Branding is the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers. (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/branding.html)
Restate the definition and replace the keywords fitted for the PNP and it will read:
“Service reputation is the process involved in creating a unique name and image for yourself in your superiors’, peers’, and subordinates’ minds, mainly through *** with a consistent theme. Service reputation shall establish your significant and differentiated presence in the police service that attracts and retains superiors, peers, and subordinates.
As can be seen, even with a cut and paste overlay, I still cannot find the exact words for the “it” factor. Is it simply working your ass off? Is it betting on a superior by following him/her wherever he/she goes and be an understudy in the hope that someday, that superior will soar to great heights, thus bringing you along? Is it making sure that you are always in the limelight and every move you make is publicized to ensure that you are recognized? Or perhaps a combination of several methods?
The police service has extremely unique perspective and service commitments that an individual’s brand or “service reputation” could be ushered in by acute sensitivity to forthcoming public safety needs based on closely observed community developments and/or timely responses (even fortuitous presence) to risk/s on the community.
The most common banter topic among peers pertaining to the easy start for “service reputation” is having that fortunate opportunity to react to life-threatening situation/s and doing the right actions to protect the constituents. There would always be talks about a peer (lucky guy) who just happened to be buying banana cue from a street vendor when an armed robbery hold-up occurred and he was able to do all the right things. Similarly, talks revolve about a policeman who was sleeping in the bus on his way home when an armed robbery occurred and when he woke he up did all the appropriate actions. Further, a medal of valor awardee was thrust into a situation where he needs to give his all or perish. Incidents like these were always fun topics simply because the opportunity to create a “service reputation” was afforded rather than sought.
Career-oriented young commissioned officers go for the so-called “heartache assignments” aspiring to have the opportunity to build their “service reputations” through the rigors of sweat, dust, and blood and subsequently pursue advanced academic studies to establish their “service reputation”. A police officer’s “service reputation” or personal brand would always have an impact on how he would grow in his career as well as how he would acquire his community’s support.