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What Small Business can learn from Jeremy Corbyn

We all know what a media stir Jeremy Corbyn caused last year during his rise to become the leader of the Labour Party. Whether you follow politics or not, his sudden rise to fame from the ranks of near obscurity can offer the small business owner a lot of important lessons.

What makes JC stand out from the bland rank and file politicians we see every day on our newsfeed is that he stands for change. He is noticed because he is very different to the navy-blue suits that litter the halls of Parliament, both in his beliefs and in his appearance. Despite the PM suggesting during Prime Ministers Question Time that he should ‘put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem’, Mr Corbyn refuses to let himself blend in with the crowd.

The public are led to believe that Corbyn really doesn’t buy into the whole spin-doctor, PR machine, styling or image marketing that the other leading politicians tend to favour, and that has been trendy since Tony Blair started it all back in 1997. But instead JC forges his own path – which to me is pure marketing genius by itself!

So what lessons can Jeremy Corbyn can teach us in business?

Image is important

Your image counts for a lot in business, but it doesn’t mean that you have to look exactly the same as everyone else. Corbyn doesn’t look like your average politician – he doesn’t like to wear a tie, has a bit of a scruffy beard, and he rarely wears a suit, but it still didn’t stop his image going viral on the run up to the party elections.

So although you want your company image to look professional so you can be taken seriously, it can actually help raise your company awareness by being a little bit different to the crowd. Do you really want to look just like everyone else in the club, or would you rather have an image that sets you apart from others and gets you noticed?

It is up for debate whether Corbyn intentionally crafted his brand image to be able to connect and engage with an audience that has become tired of the same old generic PR machine manufactured politician. However, contrived or not, it seems to be working very well.

Understanding our differences

What makes us different, sets us apart. When we look at Corbyn and Cameron we can see that they both stand for very different political ideals. In the marketing world, we are often told to mimic our most successful competitors because what works for them may also work for us, right? But what really happens is that the marketplace becomes too similar.

Corbyn himself was heard to quote, ‘I think one of the problems in the election was there was not enough difference between the parties’ – Jeremy Corbyn on why Labour didn’t win. In recent years it has to be said that both the Labour and Conservative parties has developed blurred lines where they both meet. But by having a completely different strategy, Corbyn has been able to rise to from the ranks of obscurity to take the leadership title.

We can apply this logic to our business-related activities too. If you are in a business sector with a lot of competition, what makes people choose your product or service over another that at first glance is just the same? Quite often it boils down to how you package your product or service. If your brand stands for something that your customers can relate to, then they will be more likely to buy from you rather than from one of your competitors.

This is exactly what Corbyn has done – he has found a niche audience that are looking for something different. He got people to vote for him that wanted to see change in politics.

Separating yourself from your competitors rather than imitating them can help you to align with a whole new audience that will connect with you. Attracting a different audience that share your views is a whole lot easier than competing for the same customers who already buy from your opposition.

I bet you never thought you would be picking up business tips from Jeremy Corbyn – but don’t forget that politics is also a business. Each party are vying for the ultimate prize of winning our vote and running our country – they do this through engaging a large enough audience to win them that power. It is just the same as a small business winning customers to help their company thrive.

Our London based virtual office service and help improve your image and set you apart from the competition!