Morrison and Shorten fail to build brand differentiation

brand personality

Spot the difference: Neither of the leaders has an engaging or distinctive personal brand.

While the polls have consistently pointed towards a narrow win for Labor, they also highlighted very small differences in whom Australians prefer as their PM.

The last Newspoll before the election shows the Labor are just in front with 51-49. It also shows that neither Morrison nor Shorten have a leading perception in community.

The difference between the the two leaders is also narrowing as we get closer to the election. Of the two main party leaders, Scott Morrison is just ahead 45% compared 37% for Bill Shorten. 17% of Australians are still uncommitted to either leader.

brand differentiation

ABC’s Vote Compass highlights provides a bit more context on our leaders and it’s not pretty.

None of the leaders rate highly on key leadership traits. In fact they all fail on the public perception of competence and trustworthiness.

Again, it’s hard to split the grades with Shorten ahead on both competency and trustworthiness but both scoring less than 5 out of 10. Greens leader Richard Di Natale scores slightly higher than Morrison on both traits.

personal brand

Essential Report also shows the indifference in the two main leaders. They asked Australians about a range of scenarios for which leader they would choose. In many cases, the majority of respondents were unsure.

Morrison was preferred to ask about investing in money (37% to 21%), go to the footy with (31% to 25%) or to give their children advice about the future (31% to 25%).

Shorten was preferred to negotiate a pay rise with (37% to 29%) or seen as more likely to loan you $100 (31% to 26%).

Again, most of these are like splitting hairs to find the differences.

Brand differentiation

What does this tell us about brand Morrison or Shorten?

While there are some differences in their parties and policies, it doesn’t appear that this translates to the leaders.

Shorten isn’t recognised for representing the traditional Labor values of equality, democracy, liberty and social cooperation.

Morrison also isn’t recognised for representing the Liberal values of lean, responsible government, individual freedom and free enterprise.

While Australian politics isn’t and shouldn’t be about just a personalty contest, we are left with two bland leaders who Australians can’t connect with or trust.

Is it any wonder many Australian’s are finding it difficult to get inspired and potentially support one of them?

Michael Hughes

Michael is Managing Partner and Strategy Director at Truly Deeply, a brand agency with 25 years’ experience working with brands to position them for growth. His deep expertise is in unlocking the strategic power of your brand to create a differentiated, compelling and authentic brand proposition that will engage all your audiences. Michael has extensive experience working across Australia and the Middle East working with leading Australian and International organisations across just about every sector.

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