In asserting that Political parties are NOT brands Jim Belshaw may be seen to be in grumpy old man mode — but that’s OK, because I too am a GOM, and I agree with him on this one.
There is a subtle but quite dreadful corruption of thought with the attachment of the word “brand” to political parties. It goes with the adoption of supermarket politics and the use of the word “punter” to describe voters.
Brand is a commercial term. It describes something we buy, something to which marketers have attempted to attach an image or bundle of attributes. Branding sells cars or soap powder.
Political parties are not brands even if they have some of the elements of brands and branding. I do not vote for, or refuse to vote for, a political party because I like the brand. I do so, or refuse to do so, because I like or dislike the things that the party stands for.
Politics is about ideas and actions. Mr Howard did not lose the last election because there were problems with the coalition brand. He lost it because of the Government’s actions…
At the same time, we must be aware of the way we are being marketed to — if that’s a legitimate word. We do well to study The Gruen Transfer to discern what is so often being done to us these days in political campaigning and spin doctoring.