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What can marketers can learn from Jeremy Corbyn

September 16, 2015

This summer has seen one of the biggest shake ups of British politics for decades. The race for the Labour leadership has seen heated debates, hard-fought campaigns and disagreements a plenty. Yet whichever end of the spectrum you may sit, we can learn a lot from the running of the political marketing campaigns. We have been very interested in the insights they have generated over the past few months. This week OTB takes a look at what marketing can learn from the politics of this weekend…

Honesty is the best policy

Perhaps one of the biggest headlines of the summer’s political debate has been the somewhat unexpected rise of Jeremy Corbyn. The Islington North MP who just this weekend became leader of the Labour party. Many have speculated as to what has driven this rise. It is widely agreed that his honest approach to campaigning and willingness to express his opinions have set him apart from others in the contest.

The Drum published an article this week suggesting that brands could in fact learn a lot from Jeremy Corbyn’s approach. Genuineness and an apparent lack of micro-managing his public appearance endearing him towards a large number of voters. The Drum said ‘The key is authenticity. He’s genuine, passionate, human and devoid of the PR-ready lizardry of modern politicking.’

Create a dialogue

One of the primary features attributed to this summer’s Labour leadership race has been its ability to create a dialogue with party members and the general public alike. Asking them to engage with politics and make the most of the ‘£3 vote’ opportunity afforded to them by the change in election rules. As one contributor to The Huffington Post argued ‘Regardless of political leaning, Corbyn is also the rare figure who speaks with, not at, the voter, a far cry from the painfully rehearsed candidates opposing him.’

This drive towards engagement is an important notion for marketers looking to learn from this campaign. Brands are ever more focused on generating strong communication channels between themselves and their consumers. Whether it’s through social media campaigns, competitions or opportunities to contribute ideas, brands are often seeking new ways to create dialogue with their customers. Adobe’s CMO site claims that encouraging user-generated content is the key to brands creating this dialogue. New features such as Pinterest’s ‘buyable pins’ working wonders for beauty brands trying to engage their clientele.

Young, social and free

The link between social media and politics is a growing one. Barack Obama harnessed the power of social media campaigning back in 2008 to win his place in the White House. Social media marketing has become an ever-growing component of many a political campaign. Jeremy Corbyn and his leadership bid have done exactly that. They have taken to social media to successfully engage the young and disenfranchised portion of the population. It is this market who have contributed to his landslide victory.

The role of social media for marketers has never been more prominent. It is not only politicians who have realised its potential for engaging with the younger demographic. In fact, social media and youth-focused marketing have become so important for brands that London is once again holding its Youth Marketing Conference this October. The event is in association with huge brand names such as ITV, Twitter and Yahoo. The conference aims to allow marketers to generate insights on engaging with young people and embracing social media marketing. These are two keys skills for any company looking to drive their brand into the future.

Who knows where Corbyn and the Labour party goes from here. It is clear to see that their success thus far has been due in large part to their strong political marketing strategy and honest brand appeal.


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