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Jordan Bateman: Inside the naming of BC United

The party rebranding is only the start, says Jordan Bateman
The logo for BC United, the renamed BC Liberal party.

Back in the 1940s, the organization that launched Billy Graham’s preaching career coined a saying I’ve always loved: “Geared to the times, but anchored to the rock.”

As I participated in BC United’s rebranding committee over the past few months, I’ve thought of that line many times.

There is no doubt BC United remains firmly anchored to its core values of free enterprise, to unleashing the power of entrepreneurs, job creators, small businesses, and individuals to grow British Columbia’s economy. This is similar to both of its predecessors – the BC Liberal Party and Social Credit.

At their best, they offered a grand vision for B.C.’s future: that this is a land of opportunity. A place where we grow our economy, and use that resulting prosperity to offer world-class health care, amazing schools, safe streets, and compassionately care for those who need help. Essentially, government is there to help and support, not to rule heavy-handedly.

What the NDP is attempting simply isn’t working. You can measure and prove this; name the metric, and since 2017, it has gone downhill: health care outcomes, emergency room closures, violent crimes, housing affordability, cost of living, overdoses, homelessness, and more. All worse than six years ago. And it’s being noticed: more people are leaving B.C. for the rest of Canada than are coming here.

BC United is clearly anchored to the rock of free enterprise values. But its rebrand shows the group is also geared to the times. The joke has been made countless times that the name sounds more like a soccer franchise than a political party. I’m glad when someone tosses off that quip – it was precisely the goal!

Voters, especially ones under the age of 45, have moved beyond traditional labels. They don’t usually define themselves as liberals or conservatives or libertarians or socialists or some other old-sounding narrow political clique. They simply don’t resonate with political words that sound like they were made up generations ago.

BC United sees itself less a political party, and more as a team – a vital distinction. They are leaning into the sports metaphors, because those are easily understood by all generations and effectively represents the cultural shift away from the old, stuffy, outdated trappings of a political party to a modern, functioning team where anyone can find a place, and contribute meaningfully.

The colours – bright pink and teal with charcoal – are incredibly modern and fresh, and yes, geared to the times. They give designers enormous flexibility and options for social media posts, brochures, signage and other collateral. For a week during this rebrand process, I had the three colours on the office whiteboard in front of me, and they continually attracted the eye of visitors who had no idea what they were going to be used for – they just loved how they looked together.

A name and good-looking brand are just two initial steps towards winning the public’s vote. Work is already underway to recruit great candidates who will prove BC United’s commitment to inclusivity and top-notch leadership. More ambitious policies – like the Better is Possible addiction treatment plan released earlier this year – are needed to tackle big B.C. problems the NDP have exacerbated. These are all parts of reminding disillusioned British Columbians that they don’t need to settle for mediocrity, and that things don’t have to keep getting worse.

As BC United continues this shift into a new way of doing politics, challenges lay ahead. But with a clear link to the rock of its core values, and an eye to the changing times, its future is brighter today than it has been since 2017.

Jordan Bateman is the president of the Langley East BC United riding association and was a member of the BC United rebranding committee.