Our Thoughts and Insights

Edelman Editions

Red Lines & Clear Blue Water
General Election 2015

Government Affairs
Downing Street

The publication of the party manifestos is always a much anticipated event in the election campaign and this time has been worth the wait as all three parties sought to respond to the realities of their polling. In this week’s Edelman Election Briefing we provide a guide to the key measures from each of the main parties’ manifestos, while also assessing what impact – if any – these might have on the race for Number 10.

The publication of the party manifestos is always a much anticipated event in the election campaign and this time has been worth the wait as all three parties sought to respond to the realities of their polling. The Labour Party sought to reposition itself as the party of fiscal responsibility, meanwhile the Conservative Party made a number of allegedly unfunded spending commitments and sought to hide its ambitions to slim the state.

At this election the manifestos are both more and less important. More because they set out the public opening bids, common ground, redlines and potential deal breakers for coalition talks in the days, and maybe weeks, after May 7th. And less important as at this election it will be highly unlikely that any one party will achieve the votes to have the opportunity to try to implement its manifesto in full.

Increasingly the parties will need to become more honest with the voters and indicate which policies are cast iron commitments and which are aspirations that they will amend, trade or cast aside in coalition negotiations. If multi-party government is to become the new normal for the UK political system, then the manifestos will need to evolve too.

In this week’s Edelman Election Briefing we provide a guide to the key measures from each of the main parties’ manifestos, while also assessing what impact – if any – these might have on the race for Number 10.

To view this week’s briefing, please click here.

Written by: Michael Zdanowski, Associate Director at Edelman

Does press support make any difference to voters?

Government Affairs ,Media
newspaper_press

It’s a British phenomenon which always becomes more evident at election time: Britain is essentially a pretty liberal country with a pretty conservative press. So, does press support make any difference to the outcome of a General Election?

It’s a British phenomenon which always becomes more evident at election time: Britain is essentially a pretty liberal country with a pretty conservative press.

To judge from the partisanship of Fleet Street alone, a foreign observer would have to deduce that if the people who buy national newspapers are politically in tune with their chosen titles, the UK was decidedly right of centre.

In circulation terms, loosely calculated, about 72% of UK daily newspapers are right of centre (Sun, Times, Mail, Express, Star), about 10% are in the centre (Independent, FT, Evening Standard – I’m counting their distribution as circulation) and only 18% are left of centre (Guardian, Mirror).

The way Britain votes, however, is significantly different.

Taking the voting share of the eight elections since 1979, adding them together and dividing by eight, an average result has been:

CON – 37.7%

LAB – 34.7%

LIB/SNP – 19.9%

Nats (SNP/PC) – 2.1%

Others – 5.5%

On the basis that the Nationalists are predominantly left of centre voters and that the “Others” – principally the Northern Irish parties would, if combined with the Nats, cancel each other out, we can draw the conclusion that the UK is, in unscientific terms, 58.4% liberal and 41.6% conservative.

But does press support make any difference?

Famously, the Sun claimed to have won the 1992 election – and something certainly seems to have happened in the last 100 days before the final poll, according to this excellent article from May2015.com.

Conservative support rose from about 38 per cent to about 43 per cent while Labour’s share crashed from 44 to 35, the second largest fall it has experienced in the course of an election campaign in the past 40 years.

That might suggest that powerful lobbying by the press – which was particularly hard on Neil Kinnock’s party that year – had a serious effect.

But what was the largest fall in Labour’s support during a campaign in the last four decades? It was five years later for the Tony Blair landslide, a result that came despite polls that started at LAB 54 CON 31 LD 12 changing to LAB 44 CON 31 LD 17.

Why was that significant? Well, in that year, the Sun was campaigning FOR Labour and most of the traditionally conservative press were either following suit or reluctantly backing the Tories.

So it’s hard to argue that the press has any claim to influence the outcome of British general elections.

In fact, the continued dislocation between the political colour of newspapers bought by Brits and the way those same people vote in the only poll that really matters suggests that Fleet Street neither leads nor follows its customers.

 

Written by: Ben Fenton, Senior Consultant at Edelman

What branding challenges do political parties face?
General Election 2015 - Update 4

Government Affairs
election_debates

As the election continues, all the political parties are under increased scrutiny. This week, Edelman examines the branding challenges the parties will be confronting in this year’s campaign, while also providing a roundup of the latest developments on the campaign trail.

As the election continues, the increased scrutiny which is the feature of modern campaigns is being brought home to all the political parties – threatening to throw their strategies off course, force them to defend policy proposals in forensic detail, and deal with the potentially vote-losing consequences of damage to their brands.

While marketing a political party to the electorate used to be comparatively straight forward, both the main political parties are now confronted with the task of delivering the kind of retail offer which voters have become accustomed to receiving as consumers.

This week’s Edelman Election Briefing will guide you through the branding challenges the parties will be confronting in this year’s campaign, while also providing a roundup of the latest developments on the campaign trail.

To view the Election Briefing, please click here.

Image: 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

Triumph of the Verticals
By Richard Edelman

Culture ,Media
NYmag header

Edelman President and CEO Richard Edelman discusses New York Magazine's transformation from being a New York City-focused to a national, from a master brand to a focus on the verticals.

A while back, I spoke with Michael Silberman, who runs digital for New York Magazine, at a party for Chartbeat, a metrics provider for media. In a follow-up call, I learned about a six-year transformation of the brand that would take it from being New York City-focused to national, from master brand to a focus on the vertical brands. I also was impressed to know that there are now 27 million unique visitors a month to its sites, which have no pay wall and are supported solely by advertising. I was told that the readers go via mobile optimized versions of the website; apps “are expensive to build, difficult to maintain and hard to get people to download,” Silberman said.

New York Magazine is owned by the Wasserstein family and was founded in 1968 by Clay Felker. Political coverage has been trenchant, with deep analysis of the impasse around the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. From its sections, very successful vertical blogs have been spawned, including:

  • Vulture (as in Culture Vulture)—Begun in 2007, this is now a real rival to Entertainment Weekly. It covers TV, movies, books and art. It has nine million unique visitors a month.
  • Grub Street—Begun in 2006, this is the food and restaurant vertical. It is quite New York City-centric but has engaging pieces on celebrity chefs, food TV shows and the best restaurants in town. This site has 1.5 million visitors a month.
  • The Cut—Begun in 2008, this is the fashion and beauty vertical. It grew out of early coverage of Fashion Week with slide shows of the runway. Now it has added beauty and street style, international style and celebrity style. There are also stories on body image and diet. (Note that with each of these additional sub-groups comes a broader advertising opportunity with brands). This has 6 million unique visitors a month.
  • Daily Intelligencer—This is a news blog and anchors NYMagazine.com. It has “a little media, a little business, a little Wall Street, a little technology,” Silberman noted. Monthly, it has 3.5 million unique visitors.
  • Science of Us—Begun in 2014, this is a sociology and psychology site. It offers research based articles on issues such as Human Behavior and Society. From a standing start in May, it now attracts as many as 2 million unique visitors a month.
  • NYMagazine.com—This is the master site, with between 9 and 10 million unique visitors a month. It takes articles from the print edition and best of the group’s blogs.

There is a combination of playful, short-form content and longer-form, in-depth stories. “We want to get a richer reading experience via the deep immersion in long form,” Silberman pointed out. “But we also want to make things that people want to share and link to.”

He said that editors are constantly using Chartbeat to “see what is taking off. We check headlines. We see that a story is taking off on Vulture and decide to put it onto the main NYMagazine site,” Silberman said.

The creation of these robust vertical products tells you much about how today’s reader consumes content. I graze horizontally in my largely mainstream world; the next generation is vertical, fast and visual. That is why The Economist has launched Espresso as a paid, short-form play in app and digital editions for a daily breakfast read so that there is more consistent connection to readers. The New York Magazine story is an example of relentless progress a step at a time.

This article originally appeared on 6A.M., Richard Edelman’s blog on trends in communications, issues, lessons and insights.

Written by: Richard Edelman, President and CEO at Edelman

Please update your browser.

This website requires Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer 9+