It’s now looking increasingly likely that, come Saturday, Jeremy Corbyn will sweep to victory in the Labour leadership election. And despite pleas to the contrary, speculation the party is headed for a split will likely increase.
While many would view Labour breaking in two with dismay, the birth of a new centre-left political group could be the ideal opportunity to address an identity crisis Labour has faced for some time, and help to create a new type of political party fit for the modern age.
Since 2000, Landor has been tracking public attitudes towards the Labour party using BrandAsset Valuator (BAV), the world’s largest database of consumer brand perceptions.
The results paint a picture of a political brand which has lost its way. In 2000, when New Labour was at its height, 77.8 percent of respondents to our survey considered the party to be ‘relevant’.
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By 2006, that figure dropped to 56.8 percent and has fallen even further since, with just 40.9 percent considering it relevant today.
The current turmoil facing the Labour party certainly hasn’t helped, but the dramatic decrease in relevance represents a more fundamental issue facing the party.
Labour, as a brand, doesn’t stand for anything anymore.
It is an institutional name derived from the 19th century. The associations that once held relevance for it have little meaning for millennial audiences today.
The name that’s chosen for any new political group that emerges from the split will need to be strong enough to help it escape the gravity of the historical institutional language, messaging and iconography that surrounds Labour.
"Progress" is already the name for a movement within the party, so could the liberal wing of Labour claim the name as their own?
It would immediately communicate a confident message and brand vision that millennials can own and believe in, and a rallying cry for the party faithful.
There’s no doubt the new party would face significant challenges, but opportunities to redefine political parties don’t come around all that often.
If Labour MPs are brave enough, they could steal a march on the right and create something that reflects the expectations and attitudes of modern audiences.
The world now belongs to millennials - it makes sense that we build our political parties around them and not ideas that belong to the 19th century.