Saturday, March 02, 2013

Simplification In Branding, Weather Style

The name "Hydrometeorological Prediction Center" is a mouthful to begin with...and it's even worse when you're trying to type it out, hence many weather writers and weather observers tend to refer to it as the HPC, which casual weather observers may not know the difference between that, HP, or HDTV.

Thankfully, the National Weather Service (HPC's parent) has decided to rebrand HPC into the Weather Prediction Center effective March 5th.

According to the director of the HP...er, WPC, Jim Hoke, “The new name captures the great breadth of products and services delivered each and every day and night of the year as the center works alongside the rest of the National Weather Service team to build a Weather-Ready Nation. Although our mission hasn’t changed at all, it is nice now to have a name everyone can understand, pronounce and spell.”

The WPC provides a national forecast hub for analysis of potential heavy precipitation, storm systems, and other weather features of a non-tropical (or formerly tropical) lean.  Their forecasts and analysis are leaned upon by local offices as a guidance and starting point for the local offices' forecasts.  Paul Kocin, formerly of The Weather Channel, is one of the WPC's forecasters and often handles the winter weather end of the spectrum.

The naming and branding process wasn't a quick one -- nothing in government ever is -- as the suggestion for a rebrand started back in 2009 out of an external review of the then-HPC by University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which suggested a new strategic plan and broader name recognition.

While it took a while to get from point A to point B, the point B is a very good starting point to help in that branding and awareness.