Rebranding is a common step for companies. Whether consumers have lost interest or reputations have been tarnished, or new competitors have disrupted the market, it is essential to adapt and, sometimes, rebuild. The same goes for Brazilian political parties – which often operate as for-profit corporations, using the system to cash in and give money to their leaders. Mistrusted by voters, many parties will be present on the ballots next week under a different name to the one they used in previous elections.
As Brazil experiences its worst crisis of representation since returning to democracy in 1985, parties have decided to “rejuvenate” their brand and “connect with voters.” Of course, that’s their official discourse. However, name changes are based on pragmatic calculations: they are an attempt to erase the (often scandal-ridden) past and benefit from voters’ short memory to free themselves from a bad reputation.
In a universe of 33 political parties, most of them with some representation in Congress or state legislatures, picking a new, catchy name could prove to be a competitive advantage. And, as only 16 percent of Brazilians trust parties, the first step of the rebranding is to slash the word “party” altogether. Many parties now bear names that look more like a call to action.