In between gyrating graphics, pushing pixels and vaunting visuals, the design team at Cannings Purple have been keeping tabs on how the brands of the political parties are being perceived.
Perhaps surprisingly, the conservative WA Liberal Party has pipped the others at the post when it comes to online brand-perception.
The WA Liberals have easily discoverable Western Australian social media channels and website. There’s also brand professionalism, personality, consistency and a positive user experience from using their rather well-designed website.
The WA Labor Party’s website has — unfortunately — let them down. In fact, it has so much red that it hurts to look at. The social media icons on their home page also don’t follow convention.
The goal of social media icons on a home page is to link people directly to a social media channel, not to share a website address. Distinctly different social media and website imagery hurts their consistency.
Why didn’t they use the nice grey image with Mark McGowan on their website? It certainly would have soothed those sore eyes.
The Nationals are perhaps another surprising result – finishing equal with the Greens and only half a point behind the Liberal Party.
The Nationals’ brand is so consistent that it begins running the risk of being seen as boring. It needs a little more variety in its execution. Meanwhile the Greens (who have probably the most visually attractive brand) fail to have their social media links at the top of their site. They are all the way down in the footer and harder to find.
The minor parties don’t fare so well on our scorecard, as good branding is more synonymous with established organisations.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party have no dedicated Western Australian website (just a landing page) or social media channels, instead choosing to rely only on their national channels.
Finding their official Facebook channel is very difficult, with several pages claiming to be ‘One Nation’ apparently run by members of the general public. Their brand certainly has personality, but lacks a cohesion and consistency. On their website, social media links are clearly visible and navigation is fairly clear, despite not being as visually appealing as some other parties.
The Fluoride Party could potentially win up to two seats this election, and (once we designers figured out how to spell fluoride) were quite easily discoverable and distinguishable from their parties in other states. Their website is unfortunately the worst of the parties we looked at.
Visually, it’s dull. It only has social links in the footer and it’s not immediately clear how to find latest news, support them or donate to them without too much scrolling and clicking.
Their logo appears on their website and twitter, but not as the profile picture on Facebook. Instead they have opted for a picture of their full-page newspaper advertisement, so they fail the brand consistency test. Finally, the lack of photos of actual people on their website and in their social media channels (stock photography does not count!) make for a brand that could use a bit of life.
Websites and social media channels create a digital billboard, onto which the world gazes. So if your party website and social media channels look nice and work correctly, that rubs off onto how the masses perceive your ability to govern. But if you can’t govern a Facebook channel, though, how can you govern a state?
A user’s experience on your website and your ‘discoverability’ on Google and social media channels can leave them with a negative or positive feeling. Are you frustrating or assisting them in achieving their online goal?
In addition, brand consistency gives people confidence that they’re using an official channel of communication, and a professional looking brand makes people think they’re dealing with professionals. All these metrics contribute to brand perception, and it’s important to maintain a positive image in the marketplace, or at the polling booth if you’re a politician.
Yes, positive online brand perception alone can’t win an election, but having a negative image makes the job that bit harder. Good branding only sells a bad product once. Or perhaps in the case of politics, once every four years.