Brand Labor has “taken a trashing” but the public relations industry is confident the party can make a comeback in the polls with Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister.
Spin doctors predict the party will move quickly to change their narrative, but with today the final sitting day of the parliament any changes will be symbolic.
“Rudd will need to create a clear and early distinction between the Gillard Government and the Rudd Government,” Tim McPhail, director of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, told B&T.
Rudd took the first step last night in his speech by promising a better relationship with the business community and appealing younger voters, according to McPhail.
“We can expect potential changes to key policies such as the mining tax and he has already shelved changes to the 457 visa rules.”
The asylum seeker issue is another point where Rudd can stand apart from Gillard, according to Mathew Jones, managing director of Ogilvy Public Relation’s agency Parker & Partners.
“The period of time between now and the election is quite short so his ability to make big far reaching changes is limited but he will make some symbolic changes,” Jones said.
Jones believes many Australian’s will welcome the change and expects the polls to show a lift in Labor’s fortunes.
“For whatever reason Julia Gillard didn’t seem to connect with the electorate in her time as Prime Minister despite her obvious attributes – her intelligence, her humour, her drive, her strength.”
In comparison, Rudd’s frequent television appearances from before he was opposition leader have made Australians feel like they know him.
“They still feel like they know him and they feel like he has returned to the job that the voted him into.”
In McPhail’s mind “there is no doubt Labor’s brand has taken a trashing in recent times”.
“Rudd’s resurrection won’t fix this in itself and we can expect that the focus in the campaign will be on brand ‘Rudd’ given its brand equity,” he adds.
However, the Liberal Party has already launched a campaign directly attacking ‘brand Rudd’.
The below video is reported to be the first of many and features a series of Rudd’s Labor colleagues criticising their new PM.
Asked if Labor has a hope, McPhail said: “Yes, Abbott is still favourite, but strap yourselves in for an interesting election ride.”