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Jeremy Corbyn and the Authenticity Factor

08/09/2015

Jeremy Corbyn has caused quite a stir on social media and amongst the general public, with recent EMR research indicating that the Islington MP is tweets ahead of the opposition on Labour supporters’ preferred platform, Twitter. From a marketing perspective, what brand Corbyn has achieved has been nothing short of spectacular – his meteoric rise from rank outsider to dominating the ‘marketplace’ will undoubtedly be the envy of marketers across the country.

But why has Corbyn and his ‘Jez we can’ campaign struck such a chord with huge swathes of the general public? While his sandal-wearing granola-munching public image may resonate with traditionally left-leaning demographics, ‘old uncle Jez’ couldn’t be more different from what branding experts would identify as being a goer with youth demographics.

We think that the answer lies with the appeal of his perceived authenticity – his moral principles. Indeed, commentators have observed that no small part of Corbyn’s appeal is the alternative that he offers to ‘career politicians’. Politicians are supposed to represent their constituents’ wellbeing, but many career politicians are seen (rightly or wrongly) as putting their own interests above others’.

Jeremy Corbyn therefore benefits from the authenticity factor in that his principled approach sets him apart as a ‘real’ politician and the payoff from this in terms of popularity will come as little surprise to brand strategists. The marketing world is full of examples of authenticity being utilised effectively to boost sales. Coke’s return to its original recipe after its dalliances with ‘New Coke’ famously brought customers back to the fold in their droves, and market leading brands such as Johnnie Walker are quick to point out their authentic backstories and commitment to quality.

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