Julia Gillard faces a monstrous task to take out the next election as tough reforms and constant sniping from the Abbott camp whittle away any popularity she once had.
So is there any way she can fiercely claw back into outright favouritism before the real polling begins in September? Could the incumbent Prime Minister be marketed to an election victory?
To find out we asked marketing and advertising guru Jane Caro what’s wrong with the PM’s pitch, and how she can turn it around.
“The problem is that her warmth and humility doesn’t translate in the media. On all personal accounts she is a very warm person, but this just doesn’t come across in the public eye.” Caro says.
“We want women to be warm, but Gillard comes across as cold and withdrawn.”
She says the spoof Big Brother ads were the sort of endearment that the PM’s lacks.
“I think Channel 9 actually did her a favour on that front, showing her doing the shuffle on their ads.”
But that was probably the first bit of well directed publicity Gillard’s had, and it wasn’t even from her own PR team. That’s the heart of the problem.
Caro says that turning her current predicament around is an almost impossible task because her message has been wrong from the start, beginning with the circumstances she took office.
Also, politics is a very tough place to be at the moment, no matter where you are.
“Unfortunately, worldwide voters are more about voting people out at the moment than voting them in.” Caro says.
So what can camp Labor do to turn opinions around from here?
“I would drive a marketing message of courage and endurance. Acknowledge that she’s shown doggedness because people respect that.” Caro says.
“Emphasise her tenaciousness, doggedness and courage, and also that she’s achieved a great deal. Because she has, that can’t be denied.”
Caro says that Gillard should take some notes from a couple of current and past political characters similar to herself.
“She’s a bit like Angela Merkel actually. Merkel is not very warm or exciting, but she comes across as very stable and dependable.”
“Gillard’s problem is that voters don’t see her as exciting or dependable, and as a politician you need to at least be one of those things.”
An inspiration closer to home is the frank former Liberal leader John Howard.
“She would be well advised to take a leaf out of John Howard’s book,” Caro says, “He was predictable, dependable and enduring.”
“Howard overcame some lengthy odds in his political career. He was a long distance runner, if you like, and that’s exactly what Gillard needs to be marketed as.”
So what’s the lesson for small businesses in all this? Identify the strong, most marketable aspects of your brand and build a campaign around them.
There’s no benefit to be gained from trying to be everything to everyone, so pick your pitch and stick to it from the start.