Why have the Liberal democrats done so well? – A brand perspective

BBC debate - showing Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats at the centre of the stage
BBC debate - showing Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats at the centre of the stage - effectively getting a supermarket listing for his brand

I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last few weeks since the first debate and thought it would be good to relate the huge surge of support for the Liberal Democrats to a consumer brand – which they have effectively become when they are ‘advertised’ in such a high profile manner.

I think the answer is simple.

By allowing Nick Clegg to stand on the stage next to the two major brands of Labour and Conservative, they were giving them the equivalent of a supermarket listing for a minor brand.

For a minor brand to get a listing in the likes of Tesco, they are immediately given the assurance that ‘if it has been chosen by Tesco to be sold, then it must be okay’ as the overarching brand is that of Tesco as a distributor and comes with their own big brand reassurance. Similarly, a place on that platform came with the assurance that they must be broadly equal in stature.

Likewise for Nick Clegg to be ‘offered for sale’ alongside the market leaders it comes down to whether the consumers like the packaging and the price and feel like a change from the main brands. He’s a good looking bloke (I haven’t got a man crush or anything) and he speaks well. He also constantly refers to the other two parties as the OLD parties – a really important differentiation for the younger voters/buyers.

I have asserted on many occasions that the future is unbranded, and many of us will always choose the guest beer in a pub rather than being herded into the mainstream brands – This is the same principle. It is a brand backlash against the mainstream brands and may be here to stay.

So the mistake came in agreeing to the debate in the first place. They gave they Lib Dems a listing that their previous size may not have warranted. There was no place for UKIP, the awful BNP or the SNP, despite their late court protestations.

If the Lib Dems do sweep into some form of shared power then I believe it all stems from their amazing move to get themselves onto the debate platform in the first place.

I can’t wait to see the outcome on Thursday night.

New Labour poster Campaign – Step outside Posh Boy

In what would be a quite remarkable brave new poster campaign to position Gordon Brown as the tough kid of politics, the UK Guardian today showed this new poster. If they have the nerve to run it, it will win them the General Election. I know it’s an April fool, but I still think it would be brilliant if they actually ran it!

New Labour poster for Gordon Brown - Step outside posh boy
New Labour poster for Gordon Brown - Step outside posh boy

I wrote a few weeks ago about how much harm the David Cameron retouched posters had done for his reputation and subsequent chances of winning the UK General election, and this could be the perfect riposte by Labour. It has always been the Conservatives who have utilised the best Ad agencies and as such, the best work, but now Labour and Gordon Brown are playing them at their own game and actually winning.

Branding needs rebranding

Have a read of this article in the Sunday Times about Saffron looking at rebranding Gordon Brown and New Labour.

Click this link to read it

Ignoring the politics of it, Wally Olins makes a few points that we have been batting on about for for a few years now.

1. The more you advertise a bad product, the faster it will fail.

2. Changing a logo on its own will change nothing – other than the logo.

3. Branding itself needs rebranding – it has a bad name because there are too many people looking to just do (1) and (2) above without any thought to all the other stuff which is, perhaps even more important.

We read Wally’s first book years ago and it is brilliant.

Wally Olins On Brand

I guess his second will be just as good too. I’ve just bought this myself, so will report back soon as to whether he adds anything new to the mix.

Wally Olins: The Brand Handbook

We believe that David Milliband will be the next leader anyway!