Ed Milliband’s image has headlined the news in the last couple of days. He is the figurehead of the Labour Party, being it’s leader, so his image and brand are crucial in encouraging voters to support the party in next year’s general election.
So why does the media believe he has the wrong image? For four years Ed has been surrounded by ‘experts’ who advise on everything from what he wears, to the vocabulary he uses in his speeches, deportment and, um, his voice. He even had surgery on his nose to try to reverse the ‘nasal’ sound in his voice. His experts analyse feedback from audiences and tweak everything from his hairstyle to the language he uses in speeches and media appearances. Yet despite this level of detail, the Great British Public are not engaged with him.
Image or personal brand is not, as some image consultants tell you, all about what you wear, but a combination of things. You might be perfectly groomed with beautiful clothes, but your body language could be weak, the language you use might not engage your audience, your VOICE or vocal tone might distract your audience from your message.
My spy at Parliament has told me that Ed Milliband’s image ‘live’ (i.e. not via the TV) is very good. He’s charismatic and people really warm to him. My spy also said that David Cameron is charismatic in the flesh. One of the challenges for politicians is that they have to project their image on two platforms: the audience in the room and the audience via TVs. The communications technique for each is quite different; a speaker could be really engaging on a stage: with his body language and eye contact but the camera angles won’t necessarily pick this up. If the speaker ‘plays’ to the camera, he could exclude the live audience, and could actually look cheesy .
So what would I advise Ed Milliband to do, to improve his image? Where possible he should TRY to deliver his message EITHER to a live audience OR to media interviews; I would focus on ensuring his interview techniques (including ensuring his voice doesn’t become more nasal which it does when he relaxes) are very slick; I’d advise him to have some form of visual reminder to ensure he doesn’t forget one of his key points and finally, he should avoid eating Bacon Sandwiches in public.
What do you think about Ed Milliband’s Image? Does it work for you? What do you think could change? Is his image damaged by other members of his party? Let me know!