While the entire nation adjusts to an unprecedented and historic shift in political leadership, some initial insights can be extracted from the new Election Business Model, if you will. Here's what we learned during #Elxn42:
Politics hath no fury like a generation scorned. The highest voter turnout in 20 years was a direct result of younger generations feeling unheard and undervalued. While Harper himself is popular on Twitter, the Tories appeared to struggle with authentic, relevant relations and meaningful dialogue with anyone under 40, which could have helped galvanize the vote. This heavily evidenced with #ByeFelicia mentions to Harper across all social mediums.
Influencer Marketing: it works, and the Liberals knew that. By leveraging highly visible, relevant key stakeholders ("Influencers") with evangelical followings, they captured the loyalty and trust of civilians who otherwise sat on political sidelines. The secret isn't youthfulness, it's creating accessible, transparent leaders who reflect the average Canadian and engage with them in meaningful ways. See Robert-Falcon Oullette.
Social Sway is a reality. As Western Canadians, we have witnessed the power of social media during elections not once, but twice in a year's timeframe. First with Bowman's Mayoral sweep (closely reflecting pages written by Mayor Nenshi), and now with Trudeau's election week surge. We must accept that swing votes now look to social media for education and guidance on major political issues, progressions, and ultimately, votes. Expect to see more in 2016 from our friends south of the border.
Gender Equality: It's a time of reckoning for women in politics. Of 184 newly elected Liberal MPs, a record 50 (or 27.1%) are women. Trudeau promised an even cabinet, which would again make history. Nellie would be proud.
- Reliance on legacy is a dicey game. While the Conservatives and NDP had strong brands to leverage, sheer power was not enough. Succession planning through political leadership demands innovation in approach to keep relevant with all voters - not just boomers - and a conscious effort toward the innovation economy itself. Upcoming generations expect brands, businesses, and leaders to work for their loyalty across relevant means (technology). It's not a fickle notion - it's the reality of today's consumer-brand relationships.
A new generation of politics
The 42nd Federal Election may have turned Canadian politics on its head, but it serves an important lesson to the nation. "One size fits all" campaigns are no longer, and major demographic shifts in consuming political media, communications, and branding have literally mobilized a new generation of voices.