Did the Labour party lose the election because of Gordon Brown’s brand value, or did David Cameron win more seats because his party’s policies were more in tune with the country’s wants and needs?
There is no doubt that over half the country disliked Gordon Brown. Okay, disliked may be too strong a word! Plus, in marketing terms, we would say he had negative brand value! But however you describe it, Gordon Brown’s ‘value’ was very negative – the opinion polls confirmed this!
But in a new media world where consumers are very media savvy and brand aware, what could the Labour party have done to build and then manage the Gordon Brown brand?
The first thing they should have done, in my view, was find out what negatives there were, in relation to social, economic and demographic terms, as well as geographic. Once they have the data they can then map out strong and weak areas (the issues) that need to be addressed. Then the intelligence gathered would allow a clear understanding, which in turn would establish relative messaging – both in relation to correct communications and necessary activity.
When you consider that Gordon Brown was the longest serving Chancellor of the Exchequer in British political industry (10 years), you have to agree he had a lot about him – he certainly had the experience of government and the political will. So why was it therefore, that the personable (the brand personality) wasn’t wheeled out for all of us to get to know and then understand – why was it left until the last-minute before they even tried? Did they suffer from ignorance, egotism or simply bad planning on behalf of the party’s spin doctors and publicists?
Okay, everyone could argue that the Conservatives had more ‘promotional’ budget than any other party, but sometimes the smaller the budget the more creative and focused the strategists mind!
What I do know after analysing the media feeds soon after the election results were understood is that the party planners – the brand managers of the Labour party were very, very quick to drop the umbrella brand (Gordon Brown) they had spent thirteen years creating and managing – badly – to start creating a replacement, which in my view will be David Milliband.
I think everyone would agree that politicians, whether loved or loathed are a much-needed requirement. What I now understand from politicians however is that they, in today’s consumer (voter) savvy world, they need to be just as proficient at brand management as they are at debating and being disloyal!
Or am I wrong; did Gordon Brown and the Labour party lose the 2010 election because the Conservatives just had better policies?