Fixing the Tory brand

flash-pack-3-size-3I was interested to read a piece in the Guardian recently about the election in which the following paragraph caught my eye:
“Last month the chief whip, Michael Gove, issued a coded criticism, writing in the Guardian that the Conservatives would only win the general election if they could show the electorate that they were the “warriors for the dispossessed”. The party needed to show it had a soul, that it cared about more than mere wealth creation and the rich. On Saturday Lord Ashcroft, the party’s former deputy chairman, argued that Cameron had not changed the party enough to win a majority on 7 May, and suggested the campaign – including the regular throwing of insults at Ed Miliband – was ineffective and a bag of contradictions. Cameron had “failed to fix the brand while the sun was shining” and had not addressed the common voters’ perception that “the Tories were not on their side and were not to be trusted with public services like the NHS”, Ashcroft wrote on ConservativeHome. “The Tories now score no better on these measures than they did at the last election. If too many voters see the Tories as the nasty party, they seem unlikely to win anybody over by ramping up the attacks on Miliband.”
The phrase Cameron had “failed to fix the brand whilst the sun was shining” was telling.
Fixing the brand is not about changing perceptions about whether the Tories are on the voters’ side, or can be trusted with the NHS.
A brand is much more fundamental than this – it’s about core values, about making and keeping promises and about connecting with users at an emotional level.
The most successful brands are “trust” brands – the ones consumers turn to for advice, for delivering their promises, and where they feel safe in investing their time or money.
As Simon Sinek says, you have to start with WHY not WHAT. Why are you in business, what gets you up in the morning, what is you mission in life and how will that benefit your customers.
In the current general election, we’ve heard too much about what and not enough about why.
In the absence of these fundamental values, voters look at what the parties do, and the personalities who run them, and make up their own minds about the core values which lie behind them.
Interestingly, the advert for Flash appeared on the same page – how’s that for media strategy?