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Building a political brand: Ideology or voter-driven strategy

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There has recently been a growing interest and literature in the application of brand management principles to political parties. The idea of applying branding to political parties is, however, challenging as political parties have long viewed themselves as ideologically driven. With the ascent of consumerism, which was encouraged by Thatcher's neo-liberal ideology, political parties have become more marketing oriented. Given that brands are part of everyday consumer behaviour, it may be that political parties operate and voters make electoral choices similar to the way in which consumers choose commercial brands. This paper demonstrates that the role of ideology has declined in recent years, and political parties in Britain are increasingly attempting to be consumer driven. The paper, however, argues that there is a tension for political brands in that there is a need for them to be voter driven, while at the same time being responsible for the long term. Hence, they have an objective also to ‘drive the market’ in a way that will sustain the future prosperity of Britain.The Journal of Brand Management (2006) 13, 418–428; doi:10.1057/
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2006

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