chapter  8
Niche marketing the Greens in Canada and Scotland
BySusan Harada, Helen M. Morris
Pages 14

In May 2010 the Green Party of England and Wales made history when party leader Caroline Lucas won the Brighton Pavilion seat in the UK-wide Westminster election. The victory demonstrated that a niche party could win wider support in a first-past-the-post electoral system. Green Party of Canada (GPC) strategists jumped on the Lucas bandwagon, emailing GPC e-newsletter subscribers, calling for donations so that their leader might emulate Lucas (interview with Cantin 2010). The Scottish Green Party (SGP) said the victory ‘changes everything’, providing an excellent platform for the 2011 Scottish parliamentary election (Scottish Green Party 2010a). The SGP and GPC reactions may suggest they were consolidating base support through standard political communications methods, or – viewed through a political marketing lens – may reveal an attempt by either party to rework their niche appeal, using the Lucas victory for political validation. The concept of political niche marketing builds on fundamental business model character-

istics. Although Toften and Hammervoll note a lack of a ‘widely accepted single conceptual definition of niche marketing’ (Toften and Hammervoll 2007: 1380), niche markets are mainly seen as being compact, with specialized appeal for a small defined group whose members are distinguished by common needs and/or interests (Keegan et al. 1992; Dalgic and Leeuw 1994; Kara and Kaynak 1997). A producer aiming to cultivate such a group positions the product(s) to satisfy the narrowly defined interest (Porter 1980; Bantel 1997; Hezar et al. 2006). According to Bantel, this allows for producers to deploy sparse resources strategically (Bantel 1997: 246). Overall, it follows that niche marketing can generally be described as ‘positioning into small, profitable homogeneous market segments which have been ignored or neglected by others’ (Dalgic and Leeuw 1994: 42). This chapter will explore a niche marketing approach by studying the Canadian and Scottish national Green parties.