Australia’s Political Game of Thrones: waging a Social War for the 7 Kingdoms

The usurper Rudd has claimed the Iron Throne – again,  in what has been a spectacular week in Australian Politics.

As the ABC’s Richard Glover so aptly tweeted:


If you’ve been sleeping off some fine arbour wine for the past week, here’s what happened:

The White Walkers (the Liberal Party) were marching on the wall unchallenged, while the Ruler of the Iron Throne and 7 Kingdoms having received some rather poor PR advice from the hand of the King (or Queen if you like), set about trying to knit her way out of public opinion peril.

The Wildlings (the Labor Party) were in a mad panic. Their self-styled leader beyond the wall- Mance Rayder (Gillard), had once been a sworn brother (or sister if you like) of the Night’s Watch but had broken her vows to Rule the Iron Throne and it’s 7 Kingdoms – 3 years and 3 days beforehand to be exact. A few of the Wildlings managed to scurry over the wall before Stannis Baratheon (Rudd) arrived and demolished Mance’s disorganized and weary following. Stannis prevailed and it was thought that Mance was burned alive by the Red God’s Fire Priestess Melisandre (the faceless men – in blue ties) but he had escaped to the back bench before embarking on a yet unwritten chapter in this compelling saga.

Like Stannis Baratheon, Rudd has a little magic on his side. He’s been praying to the Gods of Google and worshiping at the Temples of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for some time (the old Gods, and the new). In fact, even when the Iron Throne was taken from him – he was still the rightful heir according to public opinion in the 7 Kingdoms.

With a Klout of 88 – the usurper has long been miles ahead of the White Walkers, and many of the Wildlings, in the social stakes.

In early January 2013, I predicted in ‘Social Media and the 2013 Federal Election: And the Social Winner is …’ that the successful marketing of the next Prime Minister of Australia would be based on a solid social media strategy. Interestingly, the then ruler of the Iron Throne had a klout of 88 – Julia Gillard’s Klout is now 92. The usurpers Klout was then 86.

While Gillard’s media team has made a concerted effort to raise her profile in the digital and social stakes, their strategy has not built her a brand.

Poorly chosen PR opportunities, an on-script persona and White Walkers that couldn’t get past the fact that a Women was Ruler of the 7 Kingdoms – all distracted from what should have been a celebration of a progressive Australia. No amount of savvy social media can undo a misaligned and and off target public relations campaign; if anything, it simply added fuel to the Red God’s fires.

Conversely, the slow and steady momentum of Stannis/Kevin Rudd – who was one of the first Australian Politicians to leverage the engagement aspect of social media and successfully convert it into brand loyalty – has remained consistent and measured. What you see on Twitter and Instagram is real. You can’t fake the pride and happiness of a new grandfather looking upon his granddaughter Josephine. You can’t fake the body language conveyed via Instagram moments where Kevin meets and greets people in his electorate. And you can’t fake the authenticity of social engagement in having Kevin fire off a few replies to people who have Tweeted him.

The White Walkers launched a pre-election campaign in Melbourne on the weekend with a presidential style spectacular. Former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard was Tony Abbott’s opening act and crowd warmer; and Tony delivered an articulate speech with distinct showmanship: BUT what was missing was a concerted social campaign that kept that momentum going.

With a Klout of only 73 the Leader of the White Walkers has his own clan of social superstars to watch out for: Malcolm Turnbull – who with a razor sharp Twitter wit and a Klout of 72 has the brand power and authenticity to gazump Tony’s passive approach to social media engagement with little effort. Another potential challenger: Joe Hockey – the would be Keeper of the Realm’s purse – is already boasting a Klout of 82. Tony’s lack of a concerted social strategy is harming his brand. His digital footprint is smaller than that of his underlings. His social streams aren’t diversified, his social engagement is low and scripted – he lacks social showmanship and authenticity.

Who will be the elected Ruler of the 7 Kingdoms by the end of 2013?

Do the social math. With over half the Australian population on Facebook and Twitter; if you could Like or Tweet your vote …….. the usurper has already won.