Political branding: A consumer perspective on Australian political parties
Why are voters in advanced democracies turning away from established mass parties to take their electoral chances elsewhere? This article draws on concepts from marketing scholarship, specifically branding and brand equity, to apply a ‘consumer’ lens that assesses the major parties in Australia as failing ‘brands’ being left behind by disillusioned voters. An initial sample of 200 voters were asked what words or phrases came to mind when they thought of each of four Australian federal political parties. The strength of associations for each party, elicited from this sample, was then validated on a broader sample of 1015 voters, in addition to whether the association was considered positive, neutral or negative. Data revealed distinct brand associations for each party and the extent of penetration and brand equity across subgroups of voters. We find that Australian mass parties are caught in a downward spiral of negative brand associations and low brand penetration, leading to voter dissatisfaction.