How could I not have a hint of Canadian politics in my blog this week, following our Federal election?!?
Funnily, I came up with the idea for this week’s blog while in Quebec over Easter weekend when I noticed that only one party’s candidate’s signs included branding of its leader – Jack Layton, the leader of the NDP. Fast-forward to this past Monday’s election results and you have to wonder what sort of impact this had on the outcome.
I’m not really someone who’s into politics, but since this “branding” jumped out at me, I had to pay attention and think about it. In the end, it may have been a brilliant and powerful move on Layton’s part, at least in Quebec.
Why was Jack Layton the only leader associating his personal brand on the signs of his candidates? Was Layton simply more confident about his own personal brand than Harper, Ignatieff and May? Did he feel that his own personal brand carried weight and would help individual NDP candidates, whether they were known or unknown, new to politics or old-timers?
Maybe because the NDP fielded a large number of “rookie” candidates, the party felt it was important to make the direct association with the party and the leader instead of the candidate alone. This connection may have helped, so that people voted for the party (NDP) and the leader (Jack Layton), not necessarily the candidate. Given what we’ve heard about several rookie candidates who didn’t even campaign, yet won against incumbent Bloc or Liberal candidates (at least in Quebec), the powerful Jack Layton brand may just have done the trick. Now that’s a strong brand, and a smart and strategic use of branding!
Whatever the thinking was behind this, I thought at the time that it was quite powerful. And of course now with the election results behind us, I think it’s even more powerful.
And what about you? Did you notice the “Jack Layton” branding association on the NDP party’s candidates’ election signs? Did it make you think twice about it, and the role of branding, even in politics?