A Case against Brand Politics

Politics is the art of gaining and retaining power. In democratic societies it is public opinion and perception that gets a leader elected. Public opinion is malleable in many cases – that is to say it is subject to change. Think of policy matters like nationalization of airline. This view was popular in the immediate years after independence; and since, we have had public opinion changing in favour of privatization, then nationalization and then again privatization over last couple of decades.

Brands, however, have to be consistent in their communication. They cannot be seen changing their stance as that would affect their consistency, and thus credibility. Politicians have the luxury to take a stance that serves their interest of either gaining or retaining power; and they deal with complex ideas that affect the present and future of the society. Corporate Brands do not have that kind of influence as they are mainly business enterprises who have to stick to their vision and value-proposition, which they have crafted for their consumers.

An attempt to politicise a brand comes with the threat of antagonising people with opposite view. It is part of the game for the politicians; but businesses are in business for profit motives as they have something to offer as a business proposition to the society. A brand would face multiple challenges if it seeks to transgress its role as a business enterprise to a political one. Corporate Brands and Politics operate on different turfs – one demands consistency, while other may provide benefits for being inconsistent in some ways.

Pratik Pillai, Unitedworld School of Liberal Arts and Mass Communication (USLM)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.