2018 so far has seen Malaysia eyebrow deep in the silly season. Mud has been slung with gusto. Enemies have become friends and former friends are no longer on speaking terms. Families have been riven. Loyalties have been tested. Faces have been cut out of prominent billboards.

As the dust settles on the 14th General Election, we will learn very shortly if Malaysians will place their trust in new leadership or continue with the same old.

But no matter who wins, long after the fancy manifestos, after the catchy songs and the fiery ceramahs, after viral videos and neighborhoods blanketed with flags, comes the true test–can the ruling coalition deliver on their promises?

And here we find that many parallels can be drawn between brands and politics. After all what is a political party but a brand writ large? Both Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional have logos, slogans, manifestos, advertising budgets social media strategies, and even celebrity ambassadors, all contributing to a certain brand experience. Their main service is of course, stewardship of our great nation.

And just as brands must offer a product that delivers on its promises, so must a political party live up to the expectations built up by their communications, or risk losing the people’s trust and loyalty.

The people, both as customers and as citizens are no longer content to stay silent. In an age where people are more informed and vocal than ever before, how can a brand deliver on its promises?

Change begins within.
Employees (or party representative) may be the first point of contact for customers, so its very important that their attitudes and actions reflect on the brand’s culture. It is crucial that they know what your brand stands for, what values you stand for and how you collectively want to be defined.

Don’t promise the world.
Instead of creating fairy tales about what it will be like to do business with your company, stay grounded by focusing on the bright spots in the customer experience and build on these. Your actions should speak louder than words.

Include others in the discussion.
The people deserve to have a say. Sitting in a room with a small group of leaders creates a bubble that may not be serving the collective’s best interest. Really listen to what people need and create a strategy to assure their future.

Acknowledge that your culture may need to change.
Evolution is key to survival. You may be successful today, but future success may not be assured if you stagnate and leave things to calcify. Continually assess your culture, brand and strategy and be ready to adapt when it makes sense to your brand message.

Promises are worthless if not kept. So to the new Malaysian government, Godspeed and we wish you all the best.

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How would your brand participate in the golden age of the geek?

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