When Hawthorn won the AFL Premiership in 2008, it was deemed to have been ‘stolen’ from Geelong. The young, unsociable Hawks featured a very young Buddy Franklin who kicked 8 in the Qualifying Final against the Western Bulldogs and another legend in Jarryd Roughead kicked 4 in the Preliminary Final.

In the Grand Final, Franklin and Roughead kicked 4 between them and the remainder of the winning goals were kicked by 10 other players. The Hawks won by 26 points and it was a true team effort. I celebrated long and hard.

Behind the scenes, the master coach had a group of loyal deputies including 2017 Richmond Premiership Coach Damian Hardwick, current Brisbane coach Chris Fagan and the fitness guru Andrew Russell. One of the deputies made the decision to send Stuart Dew forward, and his two goals broke the back of Geelong. They did this because of Clarkson’s trust in them – they were empowered to do their role.

Fast forward to the 2019 Federal Election and the underdog triumphed again.

The story of Scott Morrison’s disciplined campaign was well publicised in the weekend media. It’s a story of a true team effort where experts in their fields of digital and social media, research, strategy, policy and logistics has the complete trust of their leader and who banded together to achieve the ultimate goal.

On election eve, Scott and Jenny Morrison had been campaigning in Queensland since 5.30am. While Bill Shorten tried to appeal to the everyday Australian by downing a beer in memory of Bob Hawke, the Morrison camp decided to spend one more day campaigning in the Tasmanian marginal seats of Braddon and Bass. “Morrison’s work ethic kept him going for every last vote,” said the Herald Sun. While Bill Shorten hobnobbed in the Birdcage on Melbourne Cup day, Morrison went to a regional racecourse on the Sunshine Coast.

From a messaging point of view, the Morrison message was simple: taxes, taxes, taxes.  Bill, Bill, Bill.  “Every day I go off message, we will lose,” Morrison said.

In the media sphere, the team created a Game of Thrones meme every Monday when the show was aired, that was designed to appeal to the millennials who would share with their friends. The Shorten tax ads flooded the Australian media, and when the TV blackout came into play on the Wednesday night, the Liberals started running digital ads on the digital screens on petrol bowsers.

Sunday Age journalist Latika Bourke calls it the Video Election. If campaign leaders didn’t have the expertise, they were not afraid to seek out the experts. They understood the power of video and at the “core of their strategy was video. “My Vision”, the Morrison version of the (NSW Premier) Berejiklian video, which ends with shots of him surrounded by his two girls and wife Jenny, has had 1.5 million views. Morrison and Shorten’s Facebook pages shared a similar number of videos throughout the campaign but Morrison’s attracted more than double the views.”

Understanding their customer was a game changer for the Liberal Party.  The campaign headquarters were moved from Canberra to Queensland and the decision was as deliberate as it was strategic. “There’s benefit being a capital city where there’s a bunch of marginal seats – you’re picking up the same newspapers, you’re listening to the same radio, you’re watching the same TV at night,” said Liberal federal director Michael Hirst.

What can the property industry take from this?

  1. The value of a strong leader who trusts and empowers the team to get the agreed job done.
  2. The Liberal Party had a strategy and the core leaders didn’t think they knew everything. Where required, they gathered the required expertise to deliver on that strategy.
  3. They understood their audience and appealed to them in a way that they could relate to.
  4. Stay on message. Just because enquiry was low one week doesn’t mean you have to confuse the market with a different message the next.

If I ever think about who I would want to sit next to on a plane, I would always think of Alistair Clarkson and George Clooney. I’m now adding Scott Morrison to my list.