It’s that time of the year when a palpable sense of magic hangs in the air. The man with the bushy white beard is doing his best to get around the four corners of the country to fulfil everyone’s wishes before morning. It’s been a relentless campaign from Jeremy Corbyn and Labour in their bid to dethrone the king of the Conservatives and end their nine-year stranglehold on government. It’s had to be.

The final day of campaigning saw Boris Johnson step into the early hours of a cold Leeds morning and onto the doorsteps of Guiseley as Wednesday morning’s milkman. Stakeholder engagement has never felt more important.

This election campaign has seen more marketing to the general public than anything before it, with the party leaders utilising their digital surroundings.

After all, keeping your stakeholders engaged using traditional methods can be expensive and challenging. Gone are the days of just posting leaflets through letterboxes. The growth of social media means technology is transforming the way organisations are reaching out to people.

In-person meetings are trickier given how geographically wide-spread their audience is. However, as the week draws in and his very own Christmas eve looms, the Prime Minister has reverted to some age-old tactics. It appears that sometimes you simply can’t beat posing with a fishmonger in Grimsby or wearing a hard hat with the lads on a construction site in Bedford.

That’s Boris playing dress-up as a fishmonger, builder and milkman all in the space of a week. Not even Beyonce is that good at outfit changes.

All in a bid to portray a ‘man of the people’ exterior to the voting public. But regardless of your political stance, though seemingly transparent and ruthless in its execution, it could be argued that he is doing what is required of successful stakeholder engagement, and is trying to keep his people happy.

Stakeholder engagement is a case of identifying your audience and then identifying with your audience, defining your purpose and then determining the most appropriate channels to reach them through. But essentially, engagement is built on trust and this has been the theme of this general election. Both Labour and the Conservatives have begged the question of the other — can we trust them?

It’s been a bitter election battle with daily accusations of lying and contortion from both parties. These are politicians that are hell-bent on getting into power, though some more than others it appears. Take the Tories’ twist of the truth, playing with the concept of “facts” during the ITV leaders’ debate last month, or the devious distortion of a video involving Labour politician Jess Phillips.

But by incorporating these methods in a bid to swing the vote and manage their brand like any serious organisation would, the Conservatives have arguably made themselves an easier target for the other parties to point the finger at and call out as this election draws to its close. Perhaps it has also branded them as untrustworthy to their own people and that is bad stakeholder engagement etiquette.

But there’s a sense that the constant “he said, she said” between the two front runners has grown tiresome and confusing for their audience. When their primary focus should be them, it feels as if they’re a little too pre-occupied with each other.

But after all, they do say Christmas is the perfect time of year to tell someone you love them…

Written by Henry King, Copywriter
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