The NDP’s Brand is Strong. It’s Going to Win – and It’s Going to Win Big.

brand, layton, marketing strategy, promotional strategy, strategy

When Canadians go to the polls in next week’s federal election, Liberal leaders will likely be shocked by the outcome. The average person on the street might not be surprised, but I’ll bet more than one Liberal and PC candidate will wonder what happened when they find themselves ousted by the NDP candidate in their riding.

Jack Layton’s team is doing a brilliant job of building his brand… and face it, today elections are more about the party leader’s brand value than about the actual issues. It’s about the person as much (perhaps more) than his or her politics.

Jack Layton is being portrayed as a man of character, depth and compassion. His values and human qualities come shining through in every TV commercial, radio spot and public appearance. Increasingly, the Canadian consumer is choosing brands that embody values congruent with the type of person he or she is or wishes to be – and this is something politicians would be wise to note.

In addition, the values presented in marketing materials are reflected by most of the people working in his campaign. If a company’s reputation is built on one value, and its employees don’t exemplify these values every time they interact with customers, trust and loyalty wane.

In Layton’s case, the message is simple and consistent – something essential to building trust.

As for Michael Ignatieff, he is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Based solely on his woefully inadequate marketing materials, poor performance at events intended to bolster his brand (i.e. to get people to think well of him) and reluctance to defend himself against the PC’s derogatory remarks, I predict that our Liberal Leader will lose his Lakeshore Riding seat. It’s my riding. I’ve seen him in action and I’m sure he’s hurting the party. Remember, many people vote “party” rather than local representative.

That said, I believe Stephen Harper will likely pick up Liberal seats lost to Ignatieff’s brand bungling (some Liberals may never bring themselves to vote NDP, no matter how good the campaign) giving him a majority – though that is most definitely what I personally think is good for this country. Harper’s team has applied brute force in getting the messages out so they’ll have impact and deliver the #1 spot, even if Harper will not be as well-liked or regarded as Layton.

Back to why I believe Jack Layton will deliver the #2 spot in the election: In business, brand strategy is business strategy. When your brand is strong, you win. At its core, political success is very similar to business success. Jack Layton’s brand is strong and he’s going to win big as a result.

I’m looking forward to seeing how things unfold on May 2nd, but won’t be surprised when brand wins over politics.