Cookies 🍪

This site uses cookies that need consent.

A marketer's assessment of the 2024 UK General Election

I adore general elections. The chance to participate in the democratic process is a genuine privilege, and the ceaseless spin, scandal, and slander are endlessly entertaining – until you remember that these individuals are competing to govern the country.

However, beyond that, general elections are intriguing from a marketing and branding perspective. The weeks leading up to the big day are the political parties' final opportunity to sell themselves to the electorate; to persuade them that their vision is the correct path forward. It's advertising in its purest form. Even the term 'campaign' extends beyond politics into marketing.

With that in mind, and with our own general election entering its final week of campaigning, we thought we would share some observations from a marketing perspective.

This isn't a political piece; we will not be commenting on the policies or performance of any specific party, but we do encourage everyone who's eligible to vote on 4 July 2024.

Simplicity is key

The adage 'Keep it simple, stupid (KISS)' remains relevant for a reason: it's effective. A quick poll among our team showed that most people could recall Labour's simple slogan of 'Change', but none could remember the Conservatives'. Some could recall that there were three statements, but couldn't specify what they were.

The same holds true for the other parties. No one could recall the campaign slogans, but had a vague idea of their broader promises. Labour, being the 'de facto' alternative, seems to have successfully tapped into the mood of the nation with their succinct, one-word pitch.

This isn't to suggest that campaigns should only consist of a single word, but keeping things simple certainly helps in cementing the message in your audience's mind.

The Conservative Party is suffering from brand erosion 

The Conservatives have been in government for 14 years, and it's not overly political to say that, at times, their governments have been embroiled in controversy. That's simply the nature of politics – it inevitably comes with the territory.

Regrettably, this also means that there has been 14 years of brand erosion. The decisions made as a government, whether right or wrong, will invariably leave some people discontented, and over time, this resentment will grow. It's likely we're now at a point where the Conservative brand lacks the credibility to appeal to the electorate. This is evident in the response to Rishi Sunak, who, for the most part, has provided less turbulent leadership than his predecessors, but this hasn't earned him any more political goodwill among the voting public.

This situation is further exacerbated by the Conservative campaign being run less effectively than it could be. Nonetheless, Sunak's cachet is being damaged simply due to a lack of trust in the Conservative brand.

Loud stunts generate momentary buzz, but don’t always lead to more conversions

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey was exceptionally active in the initial weeks of the campaign, making a literal splash with dips in the North Sea at Sheringham, a waterslide in Somerset, and a failed attempt at paddleboarding in Lake Windermere. Yet, despite his speed on a bicycle in Powys, the polls have failed to follow suit, remaining largely unchanged.

The Liberal Democrats harbour no illusions about being able to form a government, which gives them the freedom to make this campaign more enjoyable. The Liberal Democrat brand has been struggling in recent years, so injecting more fun and levity into their public image could help rejuvenate their standing in the eyes of the voters.

Focus on the pain points

This is great advice when you’re pitching a vision for running the country, but the advice is applicable for any marketer – focus on the customer. Show them you understand their problems, and explain how you’re able to solve them. 

Again, looking at the Labour Party, you can see how they are very focused on what are seen as key issues in the country: healthcare, education, and investment in public services and infrastructure. 

This can be contrasted with a Conservative policy of the reintroduction of National Service, which on the surface seems to have limited appeal and doesn’t immediately address any of the key pain points of the electorate – perhaps explaining its muted reception and failure to shift the polls. Similarly, their campaign ‘Keir Starmer needs YOU to give him a blank cheque’ is focused less on solving issues and instead just trying to talk down the competition, and polling indicates that it isn’t resonating. 

Speak to your audience where they are

One thing our team has noticed is the prolific use of social media in this election. All parties seem to be heavily relying on social media to convey their message – and using memes in an attempt to make their message more relatable. If you take the time to examine the party messaging across platforms, you'll notice that it varies depending on where they're posting. This is due to the platforms each having slightly different audiences. Facebook typically attracts older users, while Instagram and TikTok tend to skew younger. The result is not only a change in language but also a focus on different issues. The BBC has an interesting article on political spend and targeting, which further emphasises the importance of reaching the right audiences.

Don’t overpromise and under-deliver

A commonly held belief is that all politicians are the same and that they all lie. While we're not here to comment on the truth of that, there certainly have been issues with overpromising and under-delivering. Over time, this has damaged the reputation of both parties and politicians, leading to a breakdown of trust of trust and a reluctance to participate in the democratic process.

This serves as an important lesson for your own marketing. While it's crucial to promote your product, bear in mind that false promises and overselling will inevitably be exposed when users engage with your product or service. Once you've developed a certain reputation, it can be difficult to win back customers.

The 2024 UK General Election offers a fascinating case study in marketing and branding strategies. As political parties compete for the electorate's favour, the principles of simplicity, brand management, engagement through stunts, addressing pain points, and targeted communication emerge as key focus points. At Brew Digital, we recognise the value in observing these strategies, but we also believe that there is always room for improvement. Our expertise allows us to provide stronger, professional, and tailored strategies for our clients, ensuring that trust and credibility are maintained. Just as in politics, overpromising and under-delivering can erode trust and damage a brand's reputation. As we approach the election on 4 July 2024, let's appreciate the intricate dance of marketing at play and remember to participate in the democratic process. 

If you're looking to enhance your marketing efforts with proven, expert strategies, contact us today to see how we can help elevate your brand.

Stay up to date

Sign up to get the latest content from Brew Digital delivered straight to your inbox.