ITALIAN BRANDER: WHOEVER WILL CAPITALISE ON ANTI-EU SENTIMENTS WILL WIN THE ELECTIONS IN ITALY AFTER GREAT COALITIONS FAIL.
London 19/02/2017 – Robert Lingard, bestselling author of Brand To Sell and founder of Brand Bullets, brand building company that operates in the broadcast PR industry in London, has recently recorded a speech as a social experiment imagining a political project that would have made the Northern League the second most voted party in Italy and tackled Bruxelles hegemony by creating a duopoly with the Five Stars Movement.
«Having given particular attention to the political discourse of the Northern League in the last two years for professional purposes, I have been often criticized as someone who wanted the party to fail. In reality, I have always deployed a professional and analytical approach when coming to my conclusions. Being neither a politician nor a citizen living in Italy, what the leader of the party does is irrelevant to me on a practical matter.
My attention on the Northern League was driven by the fact that the leader of the party has been the only candidate to make the electoral campaign less boring than usual and the only political figure who could have really positioned himself against the Five Stars Movement (although with a few limits).
My hypothesis was that anti-EU sentiments and pro-market reforms are prevalent in the Northern regions; thus I have articulated a speech by having in front of me the picture of a far-right representative and entrepreneur (once Northern League), imagining what topics could have appealed to him by bearing in mind the very first positioning of the Northern League—which wasn’t a nationalist party but an independence party promoting economic deregulation and political decentralization.
Then I boosted the speech on Facebook targeting those who had already interacted with the political pages of the main parties and leaders. The result of a five-day Facebook campaign was incredible: 34 percent of those who saw the advert on their timeline watched the video, and my cost per view was incredibly low ($ 0,01).
Being based on anti-European arguments, a federalist reform of the country, and the privatisation of entire sectors, the speech was promoted in Lombardy and Veneto (the two most productive regions in Italy) showing the same results with a sensible difference between major cities and towns. The speech was seen more often when the post was boosted in towns rather than cities.
My results undoubtedly show that in the most productive territories of the country, anti-European arguments are supported by the necessity of getting rid of state bureaucracy and administration.
Under the guide of Matteo Salvini, the Northern League has lost its own original positioning and changed the target of its own propaganda from the small-medium entrepreneur to the common man.
After Matteo Renzi’s political failure, the Northern League was the only party that could have competed against the Five Stars Movement.
This was given by the fact that Matteo Salvini is to a certain extent “pure”: not being implicated by the scandals that the Northern League faced under the administration of the previous leader and not having won anything significant on a political level, the leader of the Northern League keeps his own credibility untouchable, while Renzi’s and Berlusconi’s authority is compromised.
However, Matteo Salvini has committed an unforgivable mistake from a political marketing perspective while the polls were showing his ability to get 18 percent of consent on a national level: instead of intensifying his propaganda in order to become the first party on a territorial level (in the northern and central regions) where the Northern League operates on a few topics in a complete monopoly (the pursuit of federalism, for example), he decided to extend his political reach and appeal to the southern regions and position the party as an anti-immigrant force.
His decision was wrong on three levels:
Matteo Salvini has been able to attract considerable publicity and to partially recover a political party undermined by scandals, but he has committed the classic mistake that the majority of marketing directors make after getting a position in a new company: changing the positioning and extending the line of products to appeal to more customers and to demonstrate they are better than their predecessor.
Today, the initial target of the Northern League (small-medium entrepreneurs) doesn’t have any political representation, and it is composed of the people who have suffered the most economic recession and stagnation during these years.
Additionally, Matteo Salvini did not get the lesson that came from the referendum on autonomy promoted in Lombardy and Veneto in October 2017, where 95 percent of voters said Yes in Lombardy and 98 percent said to be favourable in Veneto.
Among those who voted YES to autonomy, there were those who have always voted for the Northern League, but also those who are usually inclined to vote for other major political parties like Forza Italia, the Democratic Party, and the Five Stars Movement.
The results of the referendum on autonomy should have led Matteo Salvini to understand where to focus his political marketing efforts. The electorate of the Northern League is neither in Sicily nor in Naples but in the northern and central regions.
Even if you take out the word “Northern” as he did, the League is and will remain a political party whose aim isn’t to be first on a national level but first on a territorial one.
In politics, inclusive policies never work from a marketing perspective. Thus, what a politician should bear in mind is that people are used to seeing the world in black and white, and his goal should be to nurture the controversy without fear (as long as it is legit). This shows why political parties that position themselves as centrists are never the first in terms of consent. People want to belong, believe, and support. They need to nourish their identity through a leap of faith and sense of belonging.
Let’s see what the latest available polls have to say...
According to Istituto Ixè, the Democratic Party has dropped by 0.6% only in the last seven days, being now at 21.5%. Forza Italy grows from 17.3% to 18%, while the Northern League falls from 11.1% to 10.8%. According to the data made available by Istituto Ixè, the Northern League was at 13.5% on November 15th .
According to CISE, the institute of electoral statistics, the Northern League is at 21% in the northern regions and at 19% in the central regions, while it is at 7% in the southern regions.
Considering valuable the 7% of consent in the South of Italy (which I hardly doubt), in the northern and central regions the Northern League has three times the consent than in the south.
Matteo Salvini has lost a unique occasion to focus on the huge electoral battalion of undecided voters by intensifying the campaign in the northern and central regions, leaving the southern electorate to the Five Stars Movement.
According to data released by SWG on February 15th, the undecideds are about 18 million of a 47 million electoral base and have the ability to influence the electoral result by 2%.
Among those 18 million there are:
The Northern League, being loyal to the original positioning of the party and the themes that made it the first party in the North of Italy, should have focused on this wide slice of electorate and contended with the Five Stars Movement.
My speech, as a social experiment, shows that in the most productive regions of the country the anti-EU sentiment and the need for deregulation is high. Without the marketing mistakes committed by Matteo Salvini, the Northern League probably would have been the second political party most voted in Italy and created a duopoly with the Five Stars Movement that would have lead toward a solid anti-EU front in Italy.
My thesis is that the political party which succeeds in capitalising on a consolidated anti-EU inclination and the necessity of liberal reforms to re-boost the economy will win not the following elections coming on March 4th but the next one (probably in one year or two) after great coalitions fail.
Italian parties are already negotiating the terms for the formation of great coalitions. But great coalitions have never worked in the last seventy years of democracy in Italy where the length of a government is less than two years. Political parties see in great coalitions a form of political stability, but on the contrary, they are the root of a particular form of instability called paralysis. On the verge of controversial topics, political parties will see the opportunity of political capitalisation and will leave the country without any possibility of substantial reform on that particular subject».
ELECTORAL MAP AFTER NATIONAL ELECTIONS
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