Party conferences: Conservative brand wins the conference battle against Liberal Democrats and Labour

Peter Knapp
The Conservatives saw the "gap in the market" (Source: Getty)

As we get to the end of the party conference season it’s been fascinating to see how the political landscape has been reinforced by the way that the main parties have presented themselves, and their brands at the events.

But the parties have not all been as successful as each other. Here's how they got on.

The Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats shuffled back on stage. Here was the chance for a new velocity for the brand, but alas no. The seagull was flapping around and their strapline: “Stronger economy. Fairer society.” was so small it was barely visible and therefore barely worth having. If you think the message is worth sharing surely you make it so people can actually read it?

The rest of the stage was unconsidered and unfulfilled, perhaps some would think that was "on brand?". The party may think that custard yellow "rocks", but as per any colour, if you don’t do anything with it you will be at the mercy of the photographers’ lens and "custard" will prevail as far as the brand is perceived.


The new Labour era was a strange affair, a colour palette seemingly inspired by a middle England combo of sofa and curtain swatches. It was friendly and soft but lacked any sense of evident reconsideration and revolution.

Gone was the Labour logo, the red rose (maybe because it’s often seen as the ‘red rose of England’ and now is the time to re-engage with our friends north of the border?). The strapline of “Straight talking. Honest politics.” is in line with Corbyn’s rhetoric, but it was visually dispensed in a timid, secondary way that dropped into the corduroy colour swamp far too easily.

Read more: How Corbyn will impact market sentiment

The Conservatives

Lastly, the Conservatives. No surprises here, they clearly saw the "gap in the market" and decided to reinforce the leadership message. They too have dumped their previous logo, the ol’ oak tree and replaced it emphatically and triumphantly with the Union Jack, blazed across the stage…it was rock and roll! The stage was managed and coiffured to within an inch of its life.

Read more: The best reactions to David Cameron's Conservative party conference speech

Everything about it was considered, powerful and brilliantly managed: It exuded confidence and stature, “we are going this way…”; The strapline “Security Stability Opportunity” was proudly emblazoned over the flag (and you could read it clearly!); An economic set of words, but clearly chosen for their unambiguous message value. It was a boldly dispatched brand image.

The verdict

In a world where Joe Average is less and less engaged by politics and politicians, these subliminal messages are critical as they reinforce brand images and stereotypes associated with different parties and create valuable impressions of the brands in the minds of the voters.

So, in the brand race for the love of the nation the Conservatives won this stage by some distance due to the considered and well managed brand presentation they put on.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

Related articles