Brand archetypes: The Green Party

McCann Enterprise takes its archetype model to the Green Party and asks, ‘Are they really revolting?’

Who are the Greens? The party with the fastest-growing membership outside of Scotland.

A deep concern for the environment and a commitment to the ideas of community, non-violence and universalism is classic Caregiver territory. Caregivers are empathetic, patient and focused on helping others. As such, the Greens are a caring badge people can wear in a harsh, alienating age. Caregiver brands are often charities, where doing good feels good too. This archetype makes the Greens very good at opposing the coldness of policies and systems with humanity.

Such utopianism and emotion is, of course, accused of being fantasist and woolly. What’s interesting is how ineffective such charges might be – perhaps because Labour doesn’t offer such idealistic certainty and emotional drive? Green leader Natalie Bennet seems happy to embrace the Caregiver’s dark side – the Martyr. Following her cringe worthy interview with Andrew Neil, she didn’t lock herself away and acquire a new set of arguments and a fresh command of detail – she repeated the experience, repeatedly. Any other party would have ousted their leader; the Greens are proud of her.

The rebellious side of the Greens

The rebellious side of the Greens

But there’s also a Rebel character to the Greens, which uses the language of revolting, challenging and overturning. Rebel brands are the close cousins of Heroic brands: both often use ‘fighting talk’, but while the Hero works within the prevailing order the Rebel seeks to overturn it. Rebels are proud to be outsiders and mavericks whereas Heroes ultimately seek validation. Greens are a Rebel when they challenge assumptions at the heart of capitalism, such as why GDP is a useful measure and whether growth is a useful aim.

This schizophrenia doesn’t appear to be harming the Greens’ progress so far, but it’s early days in terms of the wider public’s exposure to the party. The risk is that the Greens coast along acquiring protest votes without reflecting on their real identity – until another party adopts the mantle of a Caregiver (perhaps Labour?) or a Rebel (UKIP?), parking their metaphorical tanks on the Greens’ lawn. It’s difficult to be seen as both caring and maverick simultaneously for the long term. People motivate Caregivers while Rebels are motivated by abstract ideas like ‘changing the system’. Sooner or later, the Green Party must confront this tension at the heart of its identity.

Tomorrow, the Labour Party.