At the conclusion of Australia’s longest political campaign since the 1960’s we could all be excused for believing that this has been the longest ever political campaign in our history.
So why on the very eve of our election, and having had so much time to engage the public, do I have the feeling that both major parties are really ignorant of their ‘customer’ needs and wants for the future of our country and our citizens?
Do polling surveys and research groups provide real insights into our needs?
In making this observation I am reminded of that anonymous aphorism: “people use statistics as a drunk man uses a lamppost – for support rather than illumination.” Political parties even more so.
This commentary is not about your or my voting intentions – it’s just that as marketers, BrandQuest are bemused by the seeming lack of understanding and empathy of what really effects the political parties customers (read; voting public) and what it takes to win their business (read: voting at ballot box).
As an outsider you could believe that our national approach is based on the policy of winning marginal seats and votes rather than an overarching strategic vision.
In part, this is supported by the major parties odious and negative advertising blitz (the two major parties have spent in excess of $10 million in 10 weeks!) in which they have each engaged in, for their seeming lack of a brand strategy, to drive desired outcomes.
Do our political parties realise that potentially its time (pun intended) to run a political campaign strategy based on positive issues and positive outcomes – as opposed to throwing mud at each other and pork-barrelling their way to tomorrow’s polling day?
As a nation and as a culture (and today that includes our many and diverse immigrants who have not only gravitated to our geography, but to our ‘easy-going, positive way of life and living), surely our national psyche is more pre-dispositioned to a ‘glass half full’ proposition than the opposite.
The current campaign has been bereft of truly imaginative, insightful and tangible directions and outcomes for the future – again something that surely should have been driven by a brand strategy.
In summary, both major parties have failed to tap into the zeitgeist of our people and therein the blame lies directly with our politicians, their advisors and ‘so-called’ minders.
What if a political party developed a strategy based on a positive manifesto at the outset of our next campaign – and stayed consistent to it?
How might they have better run their campaign from such a ‘positive’ position? What might such a manifesto include? How might their customers gravitate to such an ethos – potentially prepared to swap ‘their current buying habits’ in favour of a more idealistic and dare we say, honest and down-to-earth approach?
Perhaps as importantly what if every highly predictable, potential slur and sully from the opposite side was met with a ‘sticks and stones might break my bones, but names will never hurt me’ stoic reproach in order to stay true to their more positive manifesto.
Such a manifesto should ideally include the inescapable truth that neither (or any) political party can deliver an outcome that will please “all of the people, all of the time” and that in any election – and any democracy for that matter – not every need can be delivered every time and that trade-offs and ‘give and take’ will be required to ensure future stability and prosperity…not for vested interest groups with vested lobbyists, but for the best intentions and outcomes of most.
As it is, the status quo is that the vast majority of our nation’s voters see the current endless political scrap as tiresome and odious – and the outcome of our election will be more about which mud stuck and which research company’s qualitative groups and quantitative polling was more accurate and directional.
A lost opportunity – whoever wins or loses
If only a political party had embraced and enacted a brand strategy that was based first and foremost on delivering to a shared vision of their future goals, and then to a clearly defined brand strategy.
A strategy based on how that future might be achieved, what it will take, what sacrifices will be required and what benefits can be delivered to their customer (the country and its citizens), as opposed to force-feeding the customer on what ‘they should buy’ in the short term.
Unfortunately, irrespective of the outcome of tomorrow’s election, we can confidently await the hollow words delivered by the victorious leader as “the people have given us a mandate to rule”.
Even though, before preferences less than 50% of votes will have been in their favour.
And therein will be the proof that they simply do not understand their ‘customers’.
BrandQuest is a strategy and brand management consultancy that intrinsically believes that great brands are born of the founders and staff who work there. They are not the result of an outsourced creative endeavour but the cumulative knowledge that a company possesses.
Since 2007, BrandQuest has developed a process that within a 3 week time frame can extract and refine this inner knowledge into a powerful brand strategy.
Our clients work with us because they seek:
- Increased brand and business value
- Alignment, clarity and direction for their Branding
- Robust, authentic and fearless advice