It’s voting day in Canada! Political affiliation is not often discussed, and although we all have strong beliefs, not enough people in Canada vote — Why?

Politicians are always trying to show the public that they are normal, down to earth people, yet somehow never really convincing anyone.

In branding we talk about it as a gut feeling. When consumers are faced with choosing a product, they base their decisions on what appeals to their lifestyle, their needs and what fits well with who they are. The political landscape has become much more complex these days, and with that complexity comes the need to organize information, which is what branding does so well.

So how can branding help a politician be successful? That depends on who can create a concise brand that Canadians can understand and can who relate to without much effort. Let’s look at Obama and what made his campaign so successful. His popularity seemed to stem from his apparent integrity and genuine forward thinking views, whereas most other politicians seem to try too hard to be something that they are not.

Obama’s campaign was so successful that Business Week, the America’s influential weekly magazine said “When the book is written on this election, it should not be titled ‘The Making of a President, but ‘The Marketing of a President: Barack Obama’s Campaign As A case study in Branding Excellence.”

Successful personal branding is about successfully communicating who you really are and what you believe in a transparent and focused way, and it’s not about creating a fictional identity to ride on the back of. Branding aims to ensure that a product or service is projected in such a way as to have its distinct identity communicated to the consumer. This concept is also relevant in politics and government, since perception is as important as reality in the political evolution of a given people.

Politicians need to focus on their brand vision and clearly articulate their point of view in an insightful manner. If politicians remain consistent in their messaging, we may see a shift in the voter turn out of Canadians.

The challenge is to build a successful political icon out of a politician in
the mind of the consumer
— but this is the stuff a first grade brand expert
is made of.