South African-based Brand Leadership Group has been central to the election campaign that ensured that Professor Atta Mills, the presidential candidate for Ghana's leading opposition, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), was sworn in as the next president of the Republic of Ghana.
Mills defeated the ruling party, the National Progessive Party (NPP)'s Nana Akufo-Addo, in a competitive run-off on 28 December 2008 and subsequent final one constituency vote on 3 January 2009 winning 50.23 percent of the vote to Akufo-Addo's 49.77 in an incident-free election widely recognised as a model of democracy for Africa.
Brand Leadership, engaged by the NDC since March 2008 through to the run-off on 28 December 2008, crafted and implemented the re-election campaign communication strategy. Blending the principles of marketing, branding and political campaigning, Brand Leadership developed a strategy anchored on a winning “four-phase political branding” campaign that encompassed, (i) setting the election agenda, (ii) mapping out the case or manifesto for change, (iii) nation building and (iv) voter mobilisation - designed to reassure committed voters, win swing voters and re-establish the NDC and Mills as the best custodians of Ghana's values, ambitions and prosperity.
In bringing the campaign alive, Brand Leadership first developed the NDC campaign brand positioning resulting in a simplified, clear and consistent anchor promise of “a better Ghana - investing in people, jobs and the economy” and a leadership positioning campaign for Prof. Mills as “the better man, for a better Ghana”. The party's “umbrella” corporate identity was enhanced, and the campaign visual style given a new distinct identity leveraging the grand Ghanaian's party's heritage identity of red, green, black and white for party positioning phases and alternately the national flag of Ghana for the “nation building” phase.
To activate the campaign, Brand Leadership developed, implemented and project managed a multi-media integrated campaign that included events, roadshows, outdoor, TV, radio, print, internet, publications, public relations and media training for key party spokespersons and leadership, including Prof. Mills. The campaign, launched with a massive rally at the National Theatre and live broadcast on major broadcast media on 7 May elicited a stunned response and press conference by the ruling party caught unawares by the resurgence of the NDC. The ruling party was kept on its back foot with an evolving, but consistent and aligned eight-month Brand Leadership-led campaign.
Says Thebe Ikalafeng, founder of Brand Leadership and project and strategy director of the election campaign communication, who attended the inauguration in Ghana on 7 January 2008, “Naturally we are excited that Brand Leadership was a part of a mutually satisfactory journey with the NDC in Africa's foremost model of democracy. The campaign, as Barack Obama's campaign demonstrated, clearly heralded the new era of “political branding” with its roots firmly in marketing, branding and new media. It is always gratifying when one can show a causal effect between a campaign and the results. We, as does the NDC, have no doubt, the clear, consistent and disciplined campaign run by the NDC and its aligned activation contributed to victory in a very close but nonetheless exciting and successful election.”