Will Political Branding Influence Your Vote?

The May 2015 election is fast approaching and we will soon be bombarded with information, messaging and campaigning from all of the leading – and not so leading – political parties.

Some of you may be very interested in politics, you know your Cameron from your Clegg or your Miliband from your Farage. Some of you less so. But one thing you won’t be able to miss is the colourful branding that each of the parties have adopted over recent years.

With so much information available across so many forms of media – do politicians believe that a strong identifiable brand is a way of making sure you can differentiate between the parties? It would appear so. Today’s society has become so brand aware and image conscious that it has become very important for politicians and their parties to create and portray a strong brand identity to amplify their messaging. And, just as consumers are influenced by adverts and packaging (images, colours and fonts) – can the same influence be applied when voters choose which party to vote for?

For a long time, the main parties – Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats – have dominated the elections. Traditionally, each party was associated with the wealthy, working classes and a mix of social / liberal ideas respectively. Arguably, the Conservatives and Labour more clearly stood for certain groups in society and their messaging was clear. You could automatically know who was who.

However, by the mid 90’s, things changed. Labour was rebranded from ‘The British Labour Party’ to ‘New Labour’ and parties that had started out on the fringes were attracting more attention – think SNP, The Green Party and UKIP (though not necessarily The Monster Raving Looney Party). Whilst these smaller parties may be somewhat niche – focusing on specific polices – the 3 main parties seem to have all converged on the middle grounds – sharing similar views and opinions at one time or another.

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If all branding was removed and you were reading about the 3 main parties, would you be able to tell the difference between them? What about if you were new to voting or someone not that interested in politics or current affairs?

If you’d liked what you heard from a leader and you believe in his parties particular policies, a way to remember them again in the future, would be to associate them to their brand. And have their brand reinforce their message.

Whichever party you decide to vote for, having a strong brand and clear messaging makes it easier to make the distinction between the parties and allows you (the voter) to focus more on your particular party when they are delivering their messaging – whatever the media.

In America they have long used slogans, fliers, badges, signs, adverts etc, to increase voters awareness. In Barack Obama’s 2007/8 Presidential Campaign, branding was relied on heavily to get votes – can everyone remember ‘Yes we can’?

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Whilst the UK isn’t quite on a par with America just yet, we are getting that way! And it won’t be long before we start seeing signs in people’s front lawns here!

Branding has a huge part to play in a voters everyday life and it is used just as importantly as a way for political parties to reach voters. If branding helps you pick which shampoo to use on your hair in the morning or choose which type of cereal you want for breakfast, will it influence your choice when it comes to voting?