Today I’m sharing branding lessons inspired by the recent Australian election. Your brand is not only your logo or brand colours, it’s what you say, what you believe, and how you behave. Whatever your politics, I hope you’ll find lessons here to help you build a powerful brand.

Here are my top five insights based on what unfolded:

1. Speak to your customers

A grassroots campaign unseated the federal treasurer by knocking on 55,000 doors. If you listen to your customers’ concerns, they’re more likely to choose you. On the flip side, if you haven’t made that effort, people will feel disconnected from you.

2. Your brand is the promise you make

Branding begins with values and behaviour. It’s not only an outer shell. The independents in teal didn’t win seats because they had matching brand colours. They won because they addressed the concerns of people on the ground. As people with careers in journalism, medicine or sport, they were respected for their integrity and work ethic. People trusted them more than the career politicians.

3. Your brand has to ring true

If you say you care about something, but don’t take action, people won’t believe you. Former PM Scott Morrison said he cared about women’s safety, but didn’t he take meaningful action. Women lost trust in him over that. We live in an age where people demand authenticity. Don’t pretend to care. Make sure your actions align with what you believe.

4. Tell your authentic and unique story

Don’t waste your energy obsessing about the competition. Your audience would rather know what you believe than hear you undermine the competition. Make sure your story is inspiring and engaging. New Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told personal stories on the campaign trail, including how his mum raised him as a single parent on a disability pension, living in social housing. He spoke about how his personal history shapes his values.

5. Your brand is what they say it is.

Never take your customers for granted. If you aren’t obsessed with your customers’ happiness, they won’t be loyal to you. You can’t rely on past glories. Pay close attention to customer sentiment and how it changes. As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Your customers are your most precious asset. Speak to your customers to learn what impression you make on them. If you don’t want to speak to them, ask someone like me to do it for you. You can’t craft a powerful message until you know your customer in detail.

To sum it up, winning brands aren’t built on empty promises.

This is how your brand can ring true