The importance of branding in political campaigns

The importance of branding in political campaigns

Now, at Visualise Graphics, we are completely apolitical…at least when it comes to our business. But, with Brexit, Trump, the French elections and the upcoming British snap general election it feels as if we can’t really escape politics - it is basically everywhere. But, of course, when the team at Visualise do talk politics, we don’t discuss policy or manifestos, what we dissect and analyse is the branding of the political players. Because, make no mistake, colours, logos and themes are big business in the world of politics. In running for office you need voters to buy into your brand – in much the same way a business requires of their consumers.

One of the first politicians to appreciate this was Obama, whose branding in both his 2008 and 2012 campaign was described by The Guardian as “familiar, credible and sincere, and at the same time fresh, bold and friendly.” Obama was actually one of the first candidates to bring in outside help to design his branding and, in our humble opinion, it really shows. From the use of the font Gotham, an unfussy sans-serif type which evoked classic American architecture to his fantastic logo, a blue “O” rising over a striped field of red and white (that has been compared, by many, to the epic Nike tick), it was a symbol of change and hope and has become as American as a hamburger or the 4th of July. Basically, boy done good.

Meanwhile in Trump vs Clinton, both candidates took entirely different approaches to their branding. Trump capitalised on his slogan, “make America great again!” and simply used that, time and time again, as his backdrop. In truth, this effort did pay off – his consistency of messaging saw most Americans able to easily recall his slogan.

And then there’s Clinton, whose branding was actually rather clever. The use of the letter “H” – her first name, rather than “C” – her married name, which she shares with ex-president and current hubby, Bill, emphasised her role as separate from that of her husband. Whilst the arrow through the middle symbolises movement and a drive forward – good messaging for, what would have been, the first female president.

Hilary Clinton Logo

Now, let’s take a look at our own British election - Theresa May vs Jeremy Corbyn. Whilst May’s popularity is higher than that of her own party, poor Jezza is not doing too well in the polls at all. And this shows in the branding that has been picked up by both parties. At election rallies and speeches, May’s paraphernalia has focused on her: in big, bold letters words like “strong, stable leadership” which is suitably complemented by a bold, sans-serif, all capitals type which loudly and proudly draws the attention of the reader. Whereas the conservative party logo is, a little like Baby, and shoved into a corner, although the party colours of blue and white have still be used to great effect. Remember how we are always harping on about the importance of simplicity? – well May and her design team have used this principle to great effect. Its simplicity means it can be used across multiple platforms and can easily adapted for the campaign for a local MP. May and her team – we salute you!

Theresa May Slogan

Meanwhile, over in the Labour camp, most labour MPs, and even Corbyn himself, are focused on the party – reminding voters of Labour policies and beliefs, rather than drawing attention to their leader. It is certainly a rather interesting contrast. They have also used their traditional party colours of red and white and the use of their font in upper and lowercase as apposed to uppercase making it appear far softer than the Tory choice – perhaps as a contract against their perceived hard line candidate?

So if you are planning to run for the French, British, American or indeed the Swahili government in the next few years, I would be delighted to help you with any of your campaign material.

Please feel free to give us a call on 0208 088 2153 or drop us a line.

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