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How political apathy (and exhaustion) opens opportunities for brands to lead change

25th August 2022

What a year for politics (so far…). Putting Brexit, the Ukraine War and the cost-of-living crisis aside, the UK scandal ridden government has torn itself apart, to the point where we’ve been left practically leader-less during the ‘summer of discontent’. Despite the constant spotlight on Whitehall, the local elections earlier this year saw record low voter turnouts and it’s suggested that the number of Conservative Party members voting in the upcoming leader election is feeble. 

Perhaps it’s exhaustion from the endless party politics news cycle, but waning voter numbers are another indication of the record low levels of trust in the UK government.

However, we mustn’t confuse lack of public engagement with lack of passion for change. The public simply can’t and won’t rely on the government to implement urgent and important societal movements. It’s seemingly down to citizens, with the support of businesses and organisations, to deliver.

Now, more than ever, is the time for brands to harness the important role they play in society, rather than being afraid to put themselves out there on issues that sit close to the hearts of their customers. With the public so disenfranchised with the work of politicians, communications leaders should help clients navigate the new status quo and use brand influence to support the needs of the public.

It’s up to brands and organisations to arm their customers with the information and means to drive movements and make change. Brands with purpose are nothing new, of course. This is more than CSR or campaigns for good. It’s the 2022 amalgamation of CSR, public affairs and consumer communications – and then some.

The next decade will be transformative for the communications industry as our remit and influence expands. Our role is no longer to simply communicate messages and connect with audiences, but to shape the direction and actions of a business from within. Whether that be devising business-led initiatives to support consumers through the cost-of-living crisis or creating cross-brand alliances to actively tackle climate change, the door is open for us to supersede the government and create real change for real people. 

The question is, are we brave enough to push our clients and companies into that space and take the accountability that our government is lacking?

Hannah Lynch is a director at Alfred 

Want to know more about Alfred’s work with brands and movements? Read some of our case studies and download our Brands and Movements report.