What can Marketeers learn from Jeremy Corbyn?

This is a response to an article on the Marketing Partner‘s article asking: “What can Marketeers learn from Jeremy Corbyn?”


Remember the old adage: Oppositions don’t “win” elections, governments “lose” them.

What the mainstream politicians have done over the last decades is to consistently lie, lie and lie a bit more.

‘Wot did it for Labour’: Tony Blaire’s dodgy dossier dragged us into a war nobody wanted and which, as evidence has shown in the meantime, was based on false ‘evidence’ (there were no WMD after all).

Or for the Conservatives, David Cameron’s (too) many broken election promises. From “We’ll be the greenest government ever” to “We won’t scrap Child Tax Credits”, to “We’ll protect the NHS”. Take your pick. There are plenty more to chose from.

People are equally sceptical about the friends our governments cosy up to: from the head-chopping Saudis to the Palestinian-bashing Israelis, to the job-destroying Chinese.

This is what has created disillusioned voters.

And it is not just the political mainstream that is under fire, but a wider range of organisations. Just look at the VW scandal, FIFA, drugs in athletics, or the tax evasion by big corporations like Amazon, Starbucks.

If you’ve been watching Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s War on Waste, you’ll have seen that on their website Waitrose promises to be ethical and give surplus food to charities rather than binning it. Yet Hugh and his crew found bins full of perfectly edible food at the back of the stores.

This is a perfect example of companies breaking promises. Morrison’s say they work closely with their farmers… Yeah, right. Let’s get real. VW is not alone in fudging the truth. These companies, just like our politicians, are in danger of losing the trust of their customers.

This is what has created disillusioned customers.

To sum it up: people are discontent with what the mainstream is offering. And Corbyn turned up at the right time, right place.

He made his stand at the perfect moment, becoming a lightning rod for the discontent. 10 years ago he wouldn’t have got anywhere. But now is his moment. This is what makes him a potent opponent. No matter what smears the press throw at him, if he persists with displaying the attributes you mention, he is someone to watch out for.

In an attempt to break form the betrayal by the mainstream of politics, the electorate once turned to the Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage, but now has turned to the SNP (which is limited to Scotland but has broader appeal) and Corbyn.

To get back to your point though: “What do marketeers have to learn from Corbyn”.

So if marketeers really, really want to learn a lesson here, they and their clients first need to look at what it is that they are doing wrong. And setting that to rights.

Stand truthfully by what you are saying and doing. Don’t ‘greenwash’ your operation for example like Waitrose and Morrisons try and do. Practice what you preach. And be 100% committed – from the top down to the shop floor. No fudging. No: “we must watch or profit margin first”.

By breaking away from the corporate ‘middle ground’ companies and organisations could really gain their own, distinct voice and identity, and above all, gain the trust of a wider range of customers.

Corbynism is a simple brand to understand: be truthful and principled, and the rest will come to you when the moment is right and the other players fall by the wayside. If you just do what the others do because they appear to doing it right, you could get tarred with the same brush as they will be at some point down the line.

And here is one point not mentioned in Corbyn’s attributes: don’t just believe in what you do, but think long-term, and stick to it.

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