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EU Remain; style over strategy?

As we all woke up this morning to an historic referendum result, we finally know the answer to the question that’s been on everyone’s minds. With referendum broadcasts dominating the TV guides and posts about the pros and cons of Brexit flooding our Facebook feeds – the reminder to vote was unmissable. And in the wake of such a bold move towards independence, there doesn’t seem to be any less passion in the messages out there.

Looking at the two official lead campaigns ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ and ‘Vote Leave’, each were obviously highly invested in persuading voters to support their case. But I find it interesting that only one called upon design agency expertise (those who specialise in creatively repositioning people’s opinions) to deliver their political message – a message which is part of a pivotal point in our country’s history.

This particular campaign to support ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ focussed on engaging younger voters. Designed by a London based agency, it’s had mixed reviews but it is at least a fresh approach to political campaigns.

It would be interesting to know if this new approach was behind the landslide support of the remain vote of 18-24 year olds. Did it engage a new audience and influence them to change or affirm their opinions?

The multiple considerations behind this “In” campaign to inspire a new target audience, is something we recognise well here at Tribe. As brand experts there’s more to our work than simply producing an engaging set of visuals for a client. It’s about communicating a message in a way which persuades people to shift their perceptions, to think differently and to change their consumer habits to buy into the brand (or in this case, political stance) in question.

Neglect to consider this bigger picture, and you run the risk of something with significantly less persuasive influence. If the strategy is wrong, however strong and compelling the message and visual style, it will fail to succeed. As yesterday’s vote highlighted, it was the older generations that were in fact the vital demographic in this referendum. Was this campaign targeted at an audience which were already decided on their choices? Maybe there was more opportunity to influence an undecided group of voters in the older generations. If this was potentially overlooked in the planning of this campaign, it could have been seen to have cost the Remain group the referendum. It highlights just how important it is to have a strong strategy behind the brand or message you are promoting.

Whatever your opinions on Brexit, the influence this campaign had on the results will be interesting to see in more detail. Maybe going forward, political promotions should take heed of the result of this new style of campaign ahead of future elections. In this case at least, the results are an interesting read. If the remain campaign had continued with its new approach, targeting a bigger audience or with an alternative strategy, would we have been waking up to a different news story this morning?

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