June 11, 2004
NEW LABOUR NEEDS TO RETHINK BRANDING
Election results indicate that ‘New Labour’ isn’t working
Alec Rattray, director of consulting for European branding consultancy Henrion Ludlow Schmidt believes that the UK’s Labour Party needs to completely revisit its brand, following the disappointing turnout in yesterday’s European election:
“New Labour is known as a slick campaign machine but voters have lost the connection of what the campaigns are all about. Winning votes seems to be the beginning and end of political aspirations. It is no wonder the apathy party wins every election.
The current image of New Labour is of a slick spin machine, detached from daily lives. It has lost touch with its historical mission to involve people in government by building an inclusive, democratic, mass- membership organisation. The Iraq crusade is a symptom of the party acting with contempt towards its constituents.
Politics is now seen as the preserve of politicians not the public, who are becoming ever more disenchanted and disenfranchised. Political parties are generally regarding as ‘all being the same’. In branding terms, they fail to differentiate themselves and they lack relevance.
Part of the problem is that branding is a much-misunderstood concept in both business and politics. For many it simply means a logo or corporate identity. However, it is not as simple as that. Brands are the soul of an organisation, encompassing every activity that an organisation is involved with.
Just as Labour reinvented itself in the early 1990s, it needs to reinvent itself again by:
· Taking a stand the European Union. Does it want to be Labour Nouveau, or Red, White and Blue Labour?
· Embracing its mass membership ideal. Affiliation through trade unionism has eroded: how can the Labour Party once again be our party?
· Differentiating itself from the other political parties in the way it communicates. This doesn’t mean yet more verb-free sentences, but finding a new political vernacular.
But above all, the Labour Party needs to redefine its enemy: brand positioning relies upon an appreciation of the alternatives. The enemy is not the Conservatives, it is not voting.
The New New Labour Party should re-brand itself as the party that really believes in democratisation: taking an elevated, optimistic and humanistic view, not indulging in ‘petty party politics’. This way Labour can give people faith in voting and faith in themselves.
Was this what “the third way” was all about? Was this what ‘the big conversation’ was intended to do? In which case, quite evidently the packaging got in the way of the product.”
Alec Rattray is available for comment, if you would like to secure an interview with him, please contact Ged Carroll at Pirate Communications on 07929 202480.
About Henrion Ludlow
Henrion Ludlow Schmidt is a leading European brand consultancy with offices in London and Hamburg. Founded in 1981, Henrion Ludlow Schmidt advises companies on holistic branding, which recognises branding issues across organisations’ entire operations. Henrion Ludlow Schmidt has worked with a variety of organisations including Mercedes-Benz, Deutsche Bank, Transport for London, Miele and KLM.
Henrion Ludlow Schmidt’s founders Klaus Schmidt and Chris Ludlow recently authored ‘Inclusive Branding’ (Palgrave MacMillan, 2003), which investigates the holistic approach to brands featuring case studies ranging from Virgin to Manchester United.
For more information please go to www.henrion.com
For further information please contact:
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