I have been watching the car crash that has been Change UK with interest – personally, as this was a movement I did want to support, and professionally, as it is a case study of how not to communicate in the modern era.
We live in a fast-moving media age, with a voracious press, amplified on social media, than can turn even a minor error into a major disaster. Given that let me go through Change’s errors and where, in reflection, they could have done better:
Launch. However much the launch of the Independent Group was not supposed to be either the Chuka Umunna show or the second coming of the Gang of Four (that’s the SDP, not the Maoists or the post-punk band), it came over as a mix of both. The announcement was both arrogant and confused – which brings us to point two;
Party – or not. You are either a political party with candidates and a clear mandate, or you a pressure group wanting one thing – like the Brexit Party. If this new grouping has said “we have one aim – to stop Brexit” then people would have coalesced around it, but they hoped for more and delivered far less;
Who’s paying the piper? Yes, the Brexit party is shadowy about financing - but Change UK was supposed to be open and democratic. It came across as something rather different;
What’s in a name. WFT is Change UK? Who thought of that? A political movement should be about an idea – change is methodology. I would have gone for something that says what you are about – something like the International Party;
No logo? Or is it a logo? Or is it something cut off an old Tesco bag. Apparently one of the MPs designed it. As the husband of a graphic designer, I would suggest you employ a professional. You would rewire you own house would you?
European election confusion. It appeared that Change UK was surprised that there would be European Elections and so was ran a shambolic, amateur campaign. Maybe the right thing to do was to admit it was too soon for the new party – sit it out and agree to support the LibDems for this election, while campaigning aggressively for a second referendum.
It was said that Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on Brexit has invigorated a party which was becoming irrelevant – unfortunately for him that party is the LibDems. If Change UK set itself up as the natural home for pro-European Tories and Labour supporters, it was outflanked by Uncle Vince who masterclass of playing against type is up there with Charlize Theron.
By failing to plan its communications, Change UK communicated failure. It could’ve been a contender.