Dennis Matthews: The most successful brands insert themselves into culture without turning away existing audiences
When was the last time anyone associated the Conservatives with breaking barriers? It’s not that they haven’t: the first woman cabinet minister and the first black MP were Tories; Conservatives gave women the vote and brought in the first Bill of Rights. Conservatives are not perceived to be innovative anymore, and as a result, the party is increasingly removed in parts of the country that are growing fastest.
The solution comes from how Conservatives talk. Think again about those ubiquitous auto ads; most don’t mention horsepower, turning radius or lease rates. Leave those details to the dealerships because car brands know that purchasing a vehicle is primarily aspirational. Yet all too often, the Conservative Party has been focused on boutique tax cuts instead of presenting vision, values and purpose. It’s values and purpose that transcend the country. In our interconnected world, the days of targeting—and excluding—groups of voters has come and gone. It’s all about big-picture perceptions.
There’s no doubt the Conservative Party is an established brand, but it has become frozen in the first decade of the 2000s; a brand perceived to be exactly where it was on almost every major issue in the years before Stephen Harper became prime minister. There are very few products that were used in 2003 that look or feel the way they do today.