Are you in or out?

If you type in Brexit to Google search it comes up with approx. 8.8m articles all giving their news and views on whether or not we should vote to stay in Europe or opt out.

From a coms view it is interesting to watch the yeas and the nays as they discuss, debate, disagree and denigrate. It is hard to miss the tsunami of media coverage, and yet, ask the man on the street if he really understands the issues, the complexities, what it will really mean to them and I imagine most will be daunted and dare I say, disinterested.

Which is not demeaning the British public at all. In fact, if anything, the Brexit battle, like the London Mayor elections, has filled me with communication fatigue. It’s not the endless speculation and arguments over what’s right and what’s wrong, I love a good debate.  But how the tactics has sunk to the lowest communication denominator - berating the opposition.

The Goldsmith/Khan London Mayor Election race got dirty, with gloves off in the last round and racist sparring from both corners.  Likewise the EU Referendum has turned into a coms strategy of playground politics with the reasons to stay or go lost in the shouts of juvenile ‘don’t pick them, pick me’.

It takes me back to my youth. Watching the party political broadcasts in the 80s. Obviously having no knowledge, interest or engagement at 8 years old (I was no William Hague) to what the men and women in suits were saying, my only take out was the negativity towards the other party.

Antelope is not a political strategy coms consultancy, and I certainly don’t confess to understand the complexities of politics. But surely aren’t brands today (and let’s not forget that is exactly what the pro or against parties are whether it is Brexit or the London Mayor elections) better drowning out the opposition’s negativity by concentrating on what they do well, and keeping the conversation about their points of differences to their audience rather than highlighting their opponents and countering them at every turn? 

Sure we need to put our head above the parapet every now and disagree with ignorance and injustice. But we too need to ignore the white noise of those who disagree and focus on doing what we do well, our bit of ‘gold dust’.  We need to be robust in our strategies, focus on the vision and keep the communications crisp and the conscience clear. The only way to beat the opposition is not to compete with it but to run a different race, on your own terms.