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Political Marketing: Understanding and Managing Stance and Brand Positioning
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Industrial marketing.
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the strategic stance of a political brand and the factors that affect its positioning. The question related to the positioning of a political brand is complex. Nowadays, political leaders should be able to define the characteristics of their political brand. To succeed in the political arena, they must understand, identify, and utilize the most appropriate mechanism of communication to create an accurate perception of their political image in the market that is strictly linked to the characteristics of their brand and to reach these targets. For these reasons, it is mandatory to have measurement methods and comparable results over time. It was decided to divide the overall research problem into four different research questions to explore and explain the mechanism of political brand creation and the interaction between political brands and the electorate and to do so through four different papers. In paper 1, the political environment has been observed and studied. Subsequently, a theory of consumer and product orientation has been identified and utilized to both understand and to strategize how politicians can better position and present themselves to the public and voters. Paper 2 proposes a methodology to measure political positioning and constituent perception. The specific aim of the research is to explore interrelations between a political party's positioning in two different periods to discover possible discrepancies and changes over time. Paper 3 investigates whether the negative impact of a political brand can influence a country's brand. The fourth paper tried to measure how the quality, readability, and frequencies of political messages could provide insight into the effectiveness of viral communication using a political blog. This thesis contributes to the understanding that influence in a political environment happens in a bidirectional manner, where politicians are influenced by voter sentiment and voters are influenced by politicians. The key strategic question then becomes not whether the stance is right but if it is appropriate for the environmental condition in which the party or brand finds itself. If it is, then the party or brand must both reinforce and maintain the mode of focus; if it is not appropriate, then strategists need to identify a more appropriate stance and engineer ways for the brand to move in that direction. Political marketing managers could find the results of this thesis useful for revealing the difference between a political party's positioning and its perceived positioning as well as monitoring it in different periods to discover possible discrepancies over time.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling undersöker den strategiska inställningen till ett politiskt märkesnamn och de faktorer som påverkar dess positionering. Frågan som har att göra med positioneringen av ett politiskt märkesnamn är komplex och politiska ledare borde kunna definiera sina märkesnamns utmärkande egenskaper och förstå, identifiera och använda de lämpligaste kommunikationsmekanismerna för att skapa en riktig uppfattning om den politiska profilen i en marknad som är strikt kopplad till kännetecknenför märkesnamn. För att uppnå dessa resultat är det obligatoriskt att ha mätmetoder och jämförbara resultat över tiden. För att utforska och förklara mekanismen i skapandet av politiska märkesnamn och den ömsesidiga påverkan mellan politiska märkesnamn och väljarkåren har det övergripande forskningsproblemet därför bestämts och delats upp i fyra olika forskningsfrågor. I första avdelningen observerades och undersöktes den politiska miljön och därefter användes en konsumtions och produktinriktning för att både förstå och skapa en strategi för hur politiker skulle kunna positionera och presentera sig själva för allmänheten och väljarkåren på ett bättre sätt. Andra avdelningen föreslår en metodik i syfte att mäta politisk positionering och väljarnas perception. Forskningens bestämda målsättning är att utforska det inbördes förhållandet mellan ett politiskt partis positionering under två olika perioder för att upptäcka möjliga avvikelser och förändringar över tiden. Tredje avdelningen undersöker om den negativa effekten i ett politiskt märkesnamn kan påverka ett lands märkesnamn. Den fjärde avdelningen försökte mäta hur kvalitén, läsbarheten och det ideliga upprepandet av politiska meddelanden skulle kunna ge kunskap om effektiviteten i viral kommunikation genom användning av politisk blogg. Denna avhandling bidrar till att ge kunskap om att påverkan i politikensker på ett sätt som går i båda riktningarna där politiker påverkas av väljarnas känslor och väljarna påverkas av politikerna. Den strategiska nyckelfrågan blir då inte om inställningen är rätt men om den passar för det miljöbetingade tillståndet i vilket partiet eller märkesnamnet befinner sig. Om inställningen är rätt måste både partiet eller märkesnamnet förstärka och behålla inriktningen på metoden; om den inte är rätt, måste strategen hitta en mer passande inställning och verka för att märkesnamnet går i den riktningen. Politiska marknadschefer skulle kunna tycka att slutsatserna i avhandlingen är användbara för att visa på skillnaden mellan ett politiskt partis positionering och positioneringen som den uppfattas, likaväl som att kontrollera inställningen under olika perioder för att upptäcka möjliga avvikelser över tiden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm, Sweden: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. , p. 253
Series
TRITA-IEO, ISSN 1100-7982 ; 2016:11
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Industrial Engineering and Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-197269ISBN: 978-91-7729-203-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-197269DiVA, id: diva2:1052115
Public defence
2017-01-16, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20161212

Available from: 2016-12-12 Created: 2016-11-30 Last updated: 2016-12-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. How customer and product orientations shape political brands
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How customer and product orientations shape political brands
2016 (English)In: Journal of Product & Brand Management, ISSN 1061-0421, Vol. 25, no 4, p. 365-372Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to present a theory of consumer and product orientation in the realm of political branding to illustrate how politicians can choose to position and present themselves to voters. It is evident that some politicians play an active role in shaping the beliefs and actions of their constituents, while others are more influenced by voter sentiment. The effectiveness of the political strategy is highly influenced by the market realities of the voting body in question. Design/methodology/approach - A dichotomy is presented to shed light on how consumer and product orientation might influence the way in which politicians choose to address the public. Specifically, four modified strategic orientation archetypes are presented and analyzed with particular focus on political brands and strategy. Findings - Product and consumer orientations have been shown to also be applicable to the strategic positioning of political brands. While it can be argued that no strategy is superior over another, careful consideration of the political environment in question and subsequent execution of an appropriate stance can be used to better manage the relationship between the electorate and politicians. Research limitations/implications - This study provides academics in this area with a comprehensive examination of strategic orientation literature in political contexts, and lays out a strong groundwork for future studies. In this burgeoning area of research, there are several opportunities for marketing and political strategy academics to dive deeper into the intricacies that drive politicians to adopt specific strategic orientations, and how these strategies evolve over time and in differing political environments. Practical implications - This analysis suggests that there are opportunities for political strategists to explore the relationship between the identified strategic orientations and political brands, and for political marketing scholars to investigate the modes of focus presented. Originality/value - This analysis provides better understanding of how politicians can influence voters and voters can influence political brands, and how the strategic orientation archetypes can be used to influence decisions about political strategy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2016
Keywords
Market orientation, Marketing strategy, Customer orientation, Political branding, Political positioning, Political strategy, Product orientation, Strategic orientation framework
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-193496 (URN)10.1108/JPBM-07-2015-0935 (DOI)000382559600006 ()2-s2.0-84979647951 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20161011

Available from: 2016-10-11 Created: 2016-10-03 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
2. When satire is serious: how political cartoons impact a country’s brand
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When satire is serious: how political cartoons impact a country’s brand
2011 (English)In: Journal of Public Affairs, ISSN 1472-3891, E-ISSN 1479-1854, Vol. 11, no 3, p. 148-155Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article examines the case of Italy's Mr. Berlusconi's indiscretions and the effect his scandals have played in the decline of the Italian national brand. National brands are the perceived added value that international consumers place on that country and its products and services. An analysis of recent political cartoons will provide insight into international attitudes regarding Mr. Berlusconi's political and social actions. From this investigation, the authors conclude that a country's political leader's negative image and reputation can have a large negative impact on national brand equity abroad. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2011
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-197267 (URN)10.1002/pa.403 (DOI)2-s2.0-79960451899 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20161205

Available from: 2016-11-30 Created: 2016-11-30 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
3. Evaluating political party positioning over time: A proposed methodology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluating political party positioning over time: A proposed methodology
2015 (English)In: Journal of Public Affairs, ISSN 1472-3891, E-ISSN 1479-1854Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, we propose a methodology in order to measure political positioning and constituent perception. Political leaders should be able to effectively define the distinctive characteristics of their political brand and to subsequently utilize the most appropriate mechanisms of communication to promote an accurate perception of political image in the market. The specific aim of this research is to explore interrelations between a political party's positioning in two different periods in order to discover possible discrepancies and changes over time. The official blog of a political party, containing both official communication and the people's feedback, represents a perfect place in which to observe the concepts and the values on which both the political brand identity and image are founded. Leximancer, a content analysis tool, was utilized to analyze communications between a political party leader and his or her constituents. Illustrating the methodology, the blog of Beppe Grillo, founder of the Movimento 5 Stelle is analyzed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2015
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-175648 (URN)10.1002/pa.1561 (DOI)000375857900004 ()2-s2.0-84929439340 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20151026

Available from: 2015-10-26 Created: 2015-10-19 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
4. Viral political communication and readability: An analysis of an Italian political blog
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Viral political communication and readability: An analysis of an Italian political blog
2013 (English)In: Journal of Public Affairs, ISSN 1472-3891, E-ISSN 1479-1854, Vol. 13, no 2, p. 209-217Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Internet is widely used by political parties to report events and to send messages to the voting population. Politicians used digital media (websites, blogs, bulletin boards/lists, and chat/instant messaging) in recent elections, together with traditional media (television, newspapers, rallies, etc.). Political blogs represent not only an additional communication channel but also an instrument for spreading editorial content and messages, virally infecting more traditional media channels. A key task for any political party or politician is to make the blog understandable and easy to read as a first step to ignite and spread the right viral effect. To reach this goal, writers must consider both their content and their target audience. This article measures the readability of the text of a political blog to provide insight on the effectiveness of viral communication using blogs. The Beppegrillo.it blog was analyzed from January 2005 to May 2012 and is a unique example of a political blog using a single official media. This blog switched in the period of the study from being a personal blog to a political blog. The posts were divided into two different phases: the former were intended to discuss political topics and were written by a not-yet-political contributor; the latter were posts written by an active politician. Content analysis using simple word and sentence counts for every year of posts was undertaken, along with a readability analysis using the Microsoft Word Spelling and Grammar function, and both the Gunning Fog Index and the Gulpease Index. The two different phases were compared to determine if any change occurred in readability, complexity of the text, and volume of communication. In this way, we can explore the differences in the communication techniques used in the political field unofficially and then officially. Finally, our findings indicate that levels of readability of communications, particularly among broad-based audiences, may be deteriorating significantly when the blog becomes a political one and the communication becomes more institutional.

National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-134493 (URN)10.1002/pa.1476 (DOI)2-s2.0-84880511263 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20131125

Available from: 2013-11-25 Created: 2013-11-25 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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Permanent link

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Citation style
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Output format
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