Fashion and Passion, Persona and Colour

These words individually and collectively stir a family of emotional chords in people. They message to people’s natural desire for peace and happiness; belonging and freedom!

The connection is soulful and the identification is bold. When those chords are struck by leadership that ‘touches down’ on people, the music is enjoyable; inspiration flows and the relationship is rewarding.
What are we pointing towards? Barring crisis conditions, people will consistently engage politics and elections from a cultural perspective. The majority are decisively motivated by feelings and interests, not rationality.

Recognise the importance of two fundamentals in the relationship between politician and people. Firstly, that culture holds the key to understanding a wide variety of issues. Ignore it or try to trick it and you ‘go down’! Secondly, where the subjective conditions appear to give a natural advantage to one side, the other must create their own ‘rising tide’ to be competitive. The requirement is an innovative package of sound and exciting ideas that are capable of making a difference and prosper the people.

While this process is in train, the leaders must bear their humanity to the people. They must say sorry where it is right and prudent to do so. Then they must show that they understand and accept that a very important duty of leaders is not to mislead and let-down their followers. It is not the noise of loyalists that wins the elections, but the leadership inspiration that convinces the majority.

Whereas a ruling party will trade heavily on its’ record of achievements, an opposition party must generate its’ own story! The challenge is to find a way for the brand to trend.

People are willing to buy, have and consume what is ‘in fashion’. This is true of consumer goods as it is true of political goods. Therefore, every effort must be made to build the appetite for one’s party among the various demographics in the country. The first order of business is to create a party brand that is lifestyle-relevant, attractive and authentic. When the brand is fashionable, it is on the lips of the people and at the top of their minds.

The trend towards victory begins here. It is completely misleading to announce a re-branding when the only evidence put forward is a multi-coloured image which neither gives an advantage nor is it appealing, an indefensible case of ‘fake branding’!

Passion is an energy source! People are generally passionate about important goals (welfare, education and career) and values at the personal level. At the country level, they may be passionate about governance, the state of the society and the economy. Citizens normally care deeply about their safety and welfare. The party that wishes to prevail must respond passionately to and be in sync with these popular causes.

Persona predicts behaviour! Often, the party takes on the persona of its leader. If the leader has difficulty with being out-going, broad-minded, humble and repentant, success will be hard to achieve. Where people want to hear from the party, but the leader is happier with a ‘strategy of silence’, the party’s image is affected. So that a leadership posture whereby the hands are clasping the chest rather than being out-stretched, will be bad news! The situation is worsened if ‘she playing smart without being clever’!

Almost every one chooses furniture, clothes, cars, etc. on the basis of colour. Colour appeals to and reflects personality and character. Colour conveys the mood and feel of the brand essence. In politics, it is a flashpoint of identity, belonging and public disclosure. Colour does no mischief by itself; it is people who sometimes think and behave badly.

There is no logic to suggest that Joan Webley came to Grenada with her ‘warrior politics’ and since then, ‘colour’ has spoiled the Grenadian! Nonsense! Bleaching the face of the founding fathers is wrong and misguided. Distinctiveness is lost and the mood has gone awry! Not to correct the error is even more frightening, as it says something about the attitude that is likely if those responsible were to be influential in Government!

The culture determines many things and it has unique ways of sifting substance from chaff. Fashion and passion have a natural place in the mind and heart; and persona and colour can either be powerful contributors or passive constraints. Self-pleasing conduct may satisfy the faithful today, but self-defeating actions will break their faith tomorrow.

William Joseph

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