February 12, 2016

Image via Flickr courtesy of CeBIT Australia at

As we look ahead into the year there will doubtless be many topics on the agenda, which will influence how people think and feel about their life.

Of course, matters close to home will be front of mind:  jobs, interest rates and whether or not the housing bubble will ‘burst’.  Will we have another scorching summer and subsequent bushfires?

On a more pop culture level: what new TV shows will come out? Who will be the new faces on our screens and new stars on the web?  Will there be a new ‘hot app’ that comes through and makes a small but significant change to our lives?

And on a broader level, the world’s response to ISIS and the Paris climate talks could have major repercussions worldwide. Regardless of the potential repercussions, these will definitely have some major column inches. And we can’t forget the upcoming US elections, which will also have their fair share of the column inches.

In Australia, this year is an election year too.  The pollsters will earn their keep, that’s for sure. At the moment, Labour is almost silent, clearly trying to work out if Bill Shorten should lead them to the next election. Meanwhile, the Liberals are taking a sharp breath of relief with the jump in polls since Malcolm Turnbull took the top job. 

What might Turnbull’s leadership mean for the year ahead?

Image via Flickr courtesy of Ken Bosma at 

A year or two ago, we hypothesized that Labour needed to present a positive outlook for Australia: The Great Australia.  This was in stark contrast to the negative  ‘roll back’ and old school manner of Abbott’s Liberal leadership. 

But with the change of leader, the Liberals have ‘evolved’ from within.  The Liberals are now pushing an agenda full of possibility and potential. Led by Malcolm Turnbull, there’s a focus on innovation, tech, development, and recovering the ability to converse within the party and with the broader public (and just in general, to sound normal!).

The media (at the moment) adore him.  This from Brian McNair on The Conversation:

“His style is relaxed, quietly confident, but also serious. One gets the sense that he understands the frustrations of the Australian people these last six years or so with the prime ministerial merry-go-round and the backstabbing and the men in suits behind closed doors, and is resolved to offer a different, more conciliatory approach to the great problems of our time, such as climate change and migration policy.

“One gets the sense of a man eager to break through the dividing lines and establish a national consensus around the country’s key challenges. Regardless of one’s ideological preferences and party affiliations, this is an appealing pitch to most Australians, I suspect. After Rudd’s smarminess and Tony’s shirt-fronting brutalism, after Gillard’s fatal policy flips, Turnbull is a refreshing change.”

McNair is right: it’s hard not to be excited by Turnbull’s plan.  It gives us all a sense of daring, a sense of hope. The media are no longer talking about squabbling politicians, but are actually talking about policy (for the most part).

Cultural strategy hypothesises that people need to have something to fight against to create a strong ‘movement’. However, in this instance, the positivity of the current government may actually bring people together over the next year, all wanting to be part of a positive movement.

Turnbull will have a lot on his plate as we head into the elections of September 2016.  I’m sure he won’t be thinking of his impact on marketing strategies, however it will be fascinating to see if his approach to governing the country has a flow-on effect to what people look for in their own lives and subsequently on the brands they interact with.