Party leaders fall short on market identity

Branding – promising to deliver certain qualities – is as relevant to politicians as it is to corporations, reported the Toronto Star Dec. 15. Heading into Thursday’s French-language debate, and Friday’s round in English, the brands won’t be as easy to identify because they largely haven’t been established. To their credit, all of the federal Canadian parties know they need a strong brand, said Ashwin Joshi, marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business. But it’s difficult to develop an effective one. Harper, like Martin, has not established a definite brand and is currently testing a few. So far, he has tried to be the “tax-cutter” by proposing to slash the GST, and then the “family man” by promoting the $1,200 baby bonus, said Joshi. During the debates, Joshi said, viewers should expect leaders to answer two questions that will promote their brands: Why should you vote for us? and, Why should you not vote for the other party?

On air

  • James Laxer, political science professor in York’s Atkinson School of Social Sciences, was interviewed about US ambassador to Canada David Wilkens’s warning to Prime Minister Paul Martin not to criticize the US, on CBC Radio’s “Homestretch” in Calgary Dec. 14.
  • Thabit Abdullah, history professor in York’s Faculty of Arts and an Iraqi citizen, participated in a panel discussion about voting in the Iraq election, the new constitution, interference from foreign countries, forged ballots intercepted at the border and the historical significance of the election, on TVO’s “Studio 2” Dec. 14.
  • Monica Belcourt, director of York’s Graduate Program in Human Resources Management, discussed and answered viewers’ questions on what employers can make employees do outside of work, what functions should be considered mandatory, and what is not, on ROB-TV’s “Workopolis” Dec. 14.