Coalition government – a test of character

20 May 2010|Added Value

Britain breathes a sigh of relief. Calm descends after weeks of frenzied election activity that kept everyone, including the parties themselves, guessing right until the last. So, now that there is a result – Britain’s first coalition government in 36 years – what do the UK public think about a new government, with the Conservative Party’s David Cameron and the Liberal Democrat’s Nick Clegg sharing the helm? Is this really what they were looking for?

In the run up to the election on May 6th, the UK public watched in fascination as the political leaders raced to establish their brand characters to win the majority vote. Which character traits were people looking for in their ideal leader? And how well did the party leaders fare against this? We used CharacterLab, our new online brand character development and testing tool, to find out what Britain made of its putative Prime Ministers.

Characterlab has been designed to measure the nature and intensity of a brand’s character. It uses Jungian archetype theory as its currency and delivers three distinct solutions; it reveals what your archetype foundation actually is, its relative strength/consistency, and how distinct it is from your competition. It enables you to create new or alternative archetype directions for your brand; and it allows you to test creative development and communication, before activation, to determine if it’s on archetype or not.

In this instance, we were interested in the archetypes associated with the nation’s ideal leader.  We asked 1300n would-be voters to identify the primary and secondary archetypes they would like to see in an ideal leader and matched those against the archetypes projected by the three political leaders involved in the race for leadership.  (See more of the original Politics of Branding study here).

Interestingly, the study revealed that the Britain’s ideal leader is a close character match to the new Cameron-Clegg partnership. Both leaders show qualities of the Regular Guy and Nurturer, which are overarching archetype personalities also found in the Nation’s Ideal.

Just days after being sworn in, the duo have displayed a carefully choreographed “natural” chemistry, as they announce a raft of immediate changes. Confident, collaborative press conferences from the garden of 10 Downing Street have made them appear down to earth and at ease with each other. At the same time, it’s clear from the new policies, that both leaders have had to be flexible, compromising on their beliefs to reach solutions that are in the best interests of the nation. Could this actually lead to more dynamic government where issues are more openly debated and resolved?

The nation seems impressed by the speed at which the new government has started to gel and get on with the task at hand.  Whatever your political bias, there’s no denying there’s a lot to do to get Britain back on its feet. Time will tell whether this new chapter in political history led by a partnership more in line with the empathetic, open qualities favoured by the nation will succeed. Powerful brands have powerful characters at their heart. If the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister stay true to their brand characters, the nation should get what it was asking for.

For more on character creation or CharacterLab, please contact Ruth Moss or Paul McGowan.

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