In the lead-up to Saturday’s election, Landor was curious to determine which brands voters most associated with our two leaders. It turns out ScoMo’s values are most closely associated with Ford and Shorten is more of a Tesla sort of guy. Hear why from Landor’s APAC president, Nick Foley (below image).
From many aspects, brands are just like people. In the same way that our minds subconsciously select values and attributes in those that we want to be friends with, a similar process occurs when deciding which brands to engage with.
With this in mind, we were curious to determine which brands voters in the upcoming federal election most associated our two leaders with.
Our commissioned research looked at ten different categories, to which we overlaid the primary data collected with global research from Landor’s proprietary research tool, BAV (Brand Asset Valuator).*
The results of the study provide a useful insight into how each leader is perceived based on the brands either the PM or the leader of the opposition are associated with. One of the hot topics in the 2019 election is climate change.
Whilst some in the Liberal party are reluctant to acknowledge the warming of the planet, the ALP has put aside memories of pink bats from 2009 and has consistently campaigned on the need to work towards a cleaner future.
The majority of respondents in the survey attributed the PM with the Ford brand, whilst Bill Shorten was linked to Tesla.
The results are not that surprising given the PM’s penchant for brandishing lumps of coal and attending V8 car races at Bathurst. Although, the BAV data paints a mixed picture for the government. BAV data reveals that Tesla ranks much higher on differentiation and is held in higher esteem than Ford.
Conversely, Ford has much higher relevance amongst consumers and they also have a greater knowledge of Ford than they do Tesla. The correlations with the leadership candidates are not only interesting but valuable when one considers how voters often make a link between policy and personality. As well as looking at car brands the study assessed the leaders across a range of other product categories.
With regards to tech brands, it’s not quite a case of Sco-Mo being a PC and Bill being a Mac, but it’s close. The links with Microsoft and Huawei are not anything negative, however, it does indicate that the PM enjoys broad appeal when seen in the context of a power brand like Microsoft. Huawei is still a relatively new brand in Australia and is seen as a ‘different brand’ with strong links to China.
The benefit of overlaying the Landor Australian research with the BAV brand data is that it provides a unique insight into where each politician may be ‘leading’ and where they could be ‘lagging’. Using the BAV construct, brands that have ‘leading’ attributes are marked high on ‘relevance’ and ‘differentiation’. Whereas brands scoring high on ‘esteem’ and ‘knowledge’ are typically well-established brands that are often in a mature phase of the product lifecycle and benefit from higher levels of trust.
Our brand study of Australian voters in this weekend’s federal election reveals that the PM enjoys a high attribution to brands like Ford, Microsoft, RM Williams and XXXX Gold. For the Liberal camp this suggests that Scott Morrison has a broad appeal with voters and is widely trusted by the electorate.
Bill Shorten and his advisors can view the research positively due to the differentiation some of the brands the opposition leader is associated with. By being attributed with brands like Huawei and Tesla, it appears Shorten is being rewarded for taking a lead on issues like climate change and forging stronger relations with China. Both of these issues are key points of difference between the government and the opposition and this is reflected in the survey results.
Other categories the study assessed included fast food, sport, fashion, airlines, telcos, banks and media companies. In the majority of responses, we saw there was a difference between Morrison and Shorten. According to the research, Bill’s a VB sort of a bloke whilst Scomo’s more a XXXX Gold kind of a guy. If the PM was a fast-food brand it would be Grill’d whilst the opposition leader would be Maccas.
The categories where the two leaders were most similar were banks, telcos and airlines. This is not entirely surprising. It wasn’t that long ago that the government owned Qantas, The Commonwealth Bank and Telstra.
If either the Liberal party or the ALP were looking for any signs from this research, it would be this. Great brands stand for something whilst never standing still. They are nimble to risk and responsive to opportunity. To succeed in the long term, great brands are designed for change. Future focused. Ever evolving. Such brands connect at a higher level and evoke emotion rather than reiterating facts. Striking the balance between relevance, differentiation, esteem and knowledge requires a deft touch.
The attribution of brands to the PM and opposition leader indicate that Morrison is held in reasonable esteem and has the appropriate level of relevance. These factors are less apparent for Shorten.
However, Shorten’s attribution to brands that are different and new aligns with persona that is restless and looking to move the agenda forward. In this case, the leaders are personal brands. On Saturday voters will have the choice between two personal brands.
Brand ScoMo is fairly established and voters have a solid knowledge of what he stands for. Brand Shorten is less understood, but the corollary of indicators suggest he is the more exciting brand to know.