Alberta Election 2012: Party Branding. Who Gets a Passing Grade?

Craig

Posted by on 18 April, 2012

As a branding professional, naturally I’m very interested in what political parties are doing to effectively position themselves, especially come election time.

As the 2012 Alberta Election draws near, with little time on our hands and in many cases unable to read through the loads of content on party websites, how effectively are the parties communicating to Albertans in one minute or less?

Do we know what their mission or vision is? Do we know how they are different from the other parties? Can we quickly get their stance on important issues? Can we easily find their beliefs and values to understand if they are closely aligned with our own?

The following is a brief report on the five major parties in the upcoming election. I’ve evaluated them with a grade of A+ to F on how effectively they are communicating their party’s brand, taking into account their mission/vision, position, platform, citizen engagement, and overall visual presentation.

Alberta Party: D-

Mission: Not readily available on website

Position: Not readily available on website

Platform: Better Healthcare, Better Education, More Transparency in Government, Better Jobs, More Investment in Communities

Why a D-?: When the revived Alberta Party relaunched in 2010 I was excited to see where it would go. Many of Alberta’s influential people seemed to support the party as well, which was encouraging. Fast-forward roughly two years and the Alberta Party has withered into obscurity, completely irrelevant. Finally after reviewing their website I have some ideas why.

Unfortunately in my one minute review I have no idea what the Alberta Party stands for. Dreaming bigger, re-imagining, and reinvigorating is apparently all we need to do to become a better Alberta. It’s easy to say everything can be better—we already know things can be better, but how? Despite its positive and inspirational outlook on Alberta, the Alberta Party says a lot but doesn’t actually say anything. There might be some seeds of insight in their platform, but if these seeds exist they require too much digging to find the truth. The only thing preventing me from giving the Alberta Party an ‘F’ is its smart looking identity and fresh visual presentation.

Website: http://www.albertaparty.ca/

Liberals: B-

Mission: Committed to manage public money responsibly, and to build an Alberta that our children can grow into with confidence in their ability to succeed.

Position: Unlike the PCs and Wildrose, we believe in universal, public healthcare and education.

Platform: Guaranteed Health Care Delivery, Eliminating University Tuition, Direct Funding of Neighbourhood Associations, Instant Run-Off Voting.

Why a B-?: While the Liberals don’t have the prettiest website presentation in town, the most important information — what they stand for, can be quickly located in under a minute. Their commitment to Albertans is communicated and their platform is easy to find. The Liberals position themselves fairly well—noting why they’re different than the two right wing parties. In addition, they’ve gone as far as creating a microsite called “Tory? Or Wildrose?” noting the striking similarities between the PC and Wildrose views. A half point lost for their cliché-isms and one point lost for their DIY visual presentation.

Website: http://www.albertaliberal.com/

NDP: B-

Mission: Not readily available on website (It may reside on the About page, unfortunately, this page was down at the time of my review.)

Position: Most Albertans are not getting their fare share under a PC government. We believe it’s time that Alberta’s prosperity, drawn from our shared natural resource wealth, worked for all Albertans, not just a select few.

Platform: Quality Public Healthcare, Affordable Electricity, Education for Success, Protect Our Environment, Oil Sands Prosperity

Why a B-?: The NDP has both solid design and succinct communications working for it. The website boasts the strongest visual presentation of all party websites, making information easy to find, and most importantly, the position and platform can be found in seconds. One point lost for failing to provide some type of mission or vision statement, and a half point lost for the About page being down.

Website: http://albertandp.ca/

PC: F

Mission: Not readily available on website

Position: Not readily available on website

Platform: Not readily available on website

Why an F?: No clearly defined mission or vision, no positioning, and the PC platform is buried. Deep. So deep in fact, it took me about 20 minutes of Google-searching and reading to find something that resembled a platform. This proves to me the Tories don’t care what Albertans want nor do they feel like they need to tell us what they plan on doing. I suppose when you have the power to manipulate the media it doesn’t really matter. (Oops. Did I just say that out loud?)

The website should score a point for its contemporary visual presentation and on-site search engine (shockingly the only party to have one); however, pretty design is insignificant when concise and transparent communication efforts are an epic failure. Thus, an ‘F.’

Website: http://www.votepc.ca/

Wildrose: A-

Mission: To dethrone the PCs and restore order by putting taxpayers first. (While this isn’t an “official” mission, after a quick assessment of the website it’s pretty clear.)

Position: We believe in government transparency and accountability. We believe Albertans deserve a direct share in the success of the province’s energy sector; neither of which we’re getting under a PC government.

Platform: Balanced Budget and Savings Act, Wildrose Family Pack (Make Life More Affordable for Albertans), Alberta Energy Dividend (All Albertans share in our energy wealth), Decrease Patient Wait Time, Alberta Accountability Act (Make Government Accountable to Albertans)

Why an A-?: Whether you agree with the party’s views or not, from a branding standpoint the Wildrose party is pretty tight. They have a strong position, a strong platform, strong communication, and a nice, clean visual presentation. Wildrose is focused and they have clearly defined why they are different than the only party that has mattered to Albertans for over 40 years.

Like the Liberals, they’ve also created a microsite called the “Redford Files,” which focuses on the culture of PC corruption in Alberta. If that’s not a good positioning strategy I don’t know what is. From a strategic standpoint, this explains how a relatively unheard-of newcomer has resonated with so many Albertans and surged into a front running spot above the Liberals and NDP. Wildrose has
something to say and they’re saying it loud and clear.

Website: http://www.wildrose.ca/

Still undecided on who to vote for?

Don’t know where all the parties stand? Short on time?

In 5 minutes you can quickly find out which party you’re most aligned with. The answer might surprise you.

Check out CBC’s Vote Compass or keep reading to see where the parties stand on top issues. (Unfortunately the Alberta Party is not included in the Vote Compass results.)

Aboriginal Affairs

Alberta should contribute funding to schools on First Nations reserves.

Disagree: WR
Agree: LIB, NDP, PC

First Nations should have more say over how Alberta’s natural resources are used.

Neutral: PC
Agree: LIB, NDP, WR

Economy

Worker safety laws should be more strict in Alberta.

Agree: LIB, NDP
Neutral: PC, WR

During economic downturns, government spending makes it worse.

Disagree: LIB, NDP
Agree: PC, WR

It should be easier for workers to organize a union.

Neutral: PC, WR
Agree: LIB, NDP

When businesses make a lot of money everyone benefits, even the poor.

Disagree: LIB, NDP
Agree: PC, WR

Education

Alberta government should freeze tuition for university and college students.

Disagree: PC, WR
Agree: LIB, NDP

Private schools should not receive public funding.

Disagree: PC, WR
Agree: LIB, NDP

Employment

The minimum wage should be raised.

Disagree: WR
Neutral: PC
Agree: LIB, NDP

Welfare recipients should get more money.

Neutral: WR
Agree: LIB, NDP, PC

Energy

Alberta government should freeze electricity prices.

Disagree: PC, WR
Neutral: LIB
Agree: NDP

Environment

Environmental issues should be solved by industry, not government.

Disagree: LIB, NDP, PC
Agree: WR

Environmental regulation should be stricter.

Disagree: PC
Neutral: WR
Agree: LIB, NDP

Environmental damage caused by the oil sands industry is exaggerated.

Disagree: LIB, NDP
Agree: PC, WR

Family Values

Taxpayers should not provide funding for abortion.

Disagree: LIB, NDP, PC
Neutral: WR

Federal Relations

Albertans pay more than their fair share to the rest of Canada.

Disagree: NDP
Agree: LIB, PC, WR

Health Care

The private sector should have a bigger role in health care.

Disagree: LIB, NDP
Neutral: PC
Agree: WR

People should be able to pay for faster access to medical treatment.

Disagree: LIB, NDP, PC, WR

Housing

The Alberta government should limit rent increases.

Disagree: PC, WR
Neutral: LIB
Agree: NDP

Immigration & Multiculturalism

Immigrants should adopt Albertan values.

Neutral: NDP
Agree: LIB, PC, WR

More should be done to accommodate religious minorities in Alberta.

Neutral: LIB, PC, WR
Agree: NDP

Landowner Rights

Alberta government should have more say over what landowners do with their property.

Disagree: LIB, WR
Neutral: NDP, PC

Law & Order

The blood-alcohol limit for drivers should be changed from .08% to .05%.

Disagree: LIB, WR
Agree: NDP, PC

Oil Industry

The Keystone XL pipeline will take jobs out of Alberta.

Disagree: PC, WR
Neutral: LIB
Agree: NDP

Alberta government should take a bigger share of royalties from oil and gas companies.

Disagree: LIB, PC, WR
Agree: NDP

Public Sector

Alberta should scrap the Human Rights Commission.

Disagree: LIB, NDP, PC
Agree: WR

Most provincial government workers are paid too much.

Disagree: LIB, NDP
Neutral: PC
Agree: WR

The provincial budget deficit should be reduced, even if it means fewer public services.

Disagree: NDP, PC
Neutral: LIB, WR

Taxes

Corporations should pay more tax.

Agree: LIB, NDP
Neutral: PC, WR

Wealthier people should pay more tax.

Agree: LIB, NDP
Neutral: PC, WR

Comments

  • Rick Newcombe says:

    Solid objective analysis. Great work and helpful insights for future reference.

  • Craig says:

    Thank you kindly Rick. I’m pleased to hear you found it helpful. Regardless of who people choose to vote for, it will be interesting to see how everything plays out on Monday. Best of luck to you and your party.

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