Academic journal article IUP Journal of Brand Management

Political Branding: The New-Age Mantra for Political Leaders and Parties

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Brand Management

Political Branding: The New-Age Mantra for Political Leaders and Parties

Article excerpt


According to Kotier and Armstrong (1989), marketing is an activity which results in transaction between an organization and its surrounding. This definition is quite broad and includes all activities in which any type of exchange process is involved between two parties or a party and the environment in which it functions. However, this broad definition needs to be narrowed down in specific contexts.

For the sake of the current study (i.e., examining the relationship between politics and branding, and subsequently exploring the concept of political branding in particular), the two aspects of marketing (and branding) which we considered are: tactic which is oriented towards the needs of the targeted segment; and the second is promotion, which deals with how well the product is communicated to the consumer, so that he is convinced about the offering. It is in the context of the latter that branding comes into picture. However, the latter can be effective only when the former has been executed well, i.e., the tactic or scheme of things which deal with providing what the customers want and meeting their expectations.

We can therefore say that designing the right tactic is fundamental, and is at the base of a winning product (think Apple iPhone). This is so because such a product should resonate with the needs, wants and desires of the targeted customers, thereby living up to the expectations and in certain cases going even beyond the expectations or redefining lifestyles and creating new aspirations. This aspect of marketing keeps the entire organization on its toes, as not only does it need to keep on justifying its relevance with every passing day, but also it needs to adapt to the changing market conditions; and that too with positive financial earnings.

The second aspect, namely, promotion, achieves significance only when the right tactic has been formulated for meeting the target market's requirement. When it comes to promoting a particular product, the promotions department has a fair control over it. Further, they could also outsource certain aspects (such as printing and distributing, basically the non-core works). In some instances, the promotions department might also engage experts or specialists, who are better equipped and more experienced to handle specific aspects of promotion.

When it comes to political leaders and parties, the situations they face are more or less similar to those encountered by firms, i.e., they have to be alert to what would be acceptable or not acceptable to voters, who are akin to customers. This leads to the concept of consumer-citizen, where the voter is treated as someone who buys a commodity. The puritans are however not very convinced about comparing politics with the materialistic aspects as found with commodities. They are not convinced with the bringing together of branding and politics, and argue that the principles of marketing (and branding) are too consumer-oriented to be applied to politics.

At the same time, there are other thinkers who are of the view that political marketing has got aspects which bear resemblance with branding, and that political branding provides an attractive proposition to political leaders and parties to distinguish themselves from competitors, thus creating meaningful and identifiable differentiation in the process.

Political Marketing: The Precedent to Political Branding

It is but obvious to presume that just as branding is a subconcept related to marketing, likewise political branding is based on political marketing. Political marketing is not just limited to political broadcasts, advertisements, public appearances or political addresses. It is much more than that. It is the manifestation of marketing and its related concepts (like branding) in the arena of politics. This helps the political parties and leaders to think in a focused manner about the target market, namely, the consumer-citizen. …

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