The Brit Tory leader David Cameron is engaged in a marketing exercise known as re-branding. History shows that doesn’t work, so expect Blair’s New Labour to govern for a while yet.
Cameron’s analysis seems to be based on focus grouping showing that Tories are regarded as “toxic” by Brit voters – the party of “sleaze” (corruption), tax cutting, nationalism and libertarianism.
But focus groups are good at picking up moods, and poor at detecting their underlying causes. So it’s quite likely the people surveyed just don’t like the sleaze part, while supporting core Tory values – low taxes, national independence, strong defense etc. Indeed the comments section in conservative Brit newspapers show many hold those values.
But Cameron has dumped those folks. He won’t commit to cut Brit taxes (now more than Germany’s), he backs the EU (widely hated in the UK), he doesn’t support grammar schools, and has embraced the Global Warming scam.
So he’s committed himself to picking up another voter base.
Retailers often try this, always fail, then after much anguish revert to their original customer base. Brit examples are Bhs and M&S; Americans are The Gap and Nordstom.
The retail re-brander is always a new CEO who goes after a new customer base because the existing one is shrinking or competition for it is fierce.
But moving base is tough, since retailers must focus obsessively on their target customers – good buyers (the core of any retailer) can give you a thumbnail description of each of their top customer types. For example a fashion retailer might target “women aged 25-30, with kids, married, working part time, household income £X”. They’ll know what customers in this group buy, why they buy, how much they spend, what they aspire to.
So when the CEO decides to move base, the entire organization has to replace its deep customer knowledge and that can take years. And while that’s going on, sales tank.
That’s how this happened:
New Coke was the unofficial name of the sweeter formulation introduced in 1985 by The Coca-Cola Company to replace its flagship soft drink, Coca-Cola or Coke.
Public reaction to the change was devastating, and the new cola quickly entered the pantheon of major marketing flops. The subsequent reintroduction of Coke’s original formula led to a significant gain in sales.
David Cameron is attempting a New Coke, and it won’t work, so look for Brits to elect New Labor until the Tory Party gets itself a leader who respects its base.