Blog Putting politics in the shade
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Putting politics in the shade

With a general election looming in the UK, we did a short experiment that highlighted the psychological power of colour in politics.

Earlier this year Emberson brand’s Creative Strategist Rich Whitehouse did some brand consultancy work with members of his local community. These were a group of impassioned individuals – mums and dads, computer consultants and care workers – all unhappy about how their hometown was being run by their local council.

Feeling let down by the UK’s political system, still largely dominated by two main parties in many regions, they decided to stand together as independent candidates in the town council elections.

Without experience or the backing of an established political party it was vital that potential voters saw this diverse group of individuals as one cohesive unit, and this is where branding makes all the difference.

We’d arrived at a tagline and registered it with the Electoral Commission. As part of their discussions Rich conducted a ‘blind experiment’ to identify which colour would best communicate the values shared by the group when used as part of their logo and marketing. To avoid confusion on polling day the new group needed to steer clear of the familiar colours of the main parties – especially red and blue.

We used the principles of colour psychology to quickly compile lists of positive traits (below) for the candidates themselves to vote on. But the name of each associated colour was replaced by a letter to make sure each choice was solely based on the best fit.

Thankfully the same groups of anonymous attributes were consistently chosen. Yet the fascinating thing is that two of the top three choices turned out to be red and blue!

It seems that there’s a kind of inescapable gravity forever pulling us back to these two opposing binary states – stimulation vs calm, earth vs water, Republican vs Democrat, Labour vs Conservative…

By way of a happy ending the Independents stormed to victory in the local elections with every candidate winning a seat, completely replacing the existing council.

If you want to bring the psychological power of colour into play on your next project, why not get in touch at hello@embersongroup.com