Political marketing and the British Labour Party 1994-2010: Applying the product life-cycle model to a political party
This thesis explores the merits of applying a marketing model, the product life-cycle model, to a political party. The product life-cycle model details a product during its introduction, growth, maturity and decline cycles. For this thesis I apply this model to the British Labour Party between 1994 and 2010 under the leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The product life-cycle model, adapted to political science from the political marketing literature, shows that a political party does go through an introduction, growth, maturity and decline phase. To avoid moving into the decline phase, a political party must learn how to rejuvenate during the maturity cycle. This thesis concludes that the product life-cycle model does have merits when applied to political parties. In the case of the British Labour Party, it began with a strong market-orientation, but the longer it stayed in power this market-orientation shifted. The New Labour brand and its primary brand agent, Tony Blair, were both strong assets to the party. However, during the lifetime of the product these assets became liabilities. The longer that New Labour stayed in power, the more it shifted away from its relationship with the political market. The product life-cycle model should be tested in other political systems to further strengthen its explanatory power.