Political Branding: Subterfuge or the New Mode of Governance?





political branding, political brand(s), voters-consumers, political marketing


Objective: This paper aims to determine whether scholars writing on the subject of political branding and political brands consider political branding to be an artifice or an evolved strategic outlook useful – and necessary – in our current political context.

Research Design & Methods: This is a theoretical paper. The critical review of the literature on political branding research, encompassing articles published between 2016 and 2023, was conducted; seven full-text publications from the EBSCO database were critically analysed.

Findings: My conclusion suggests that the vast majority of scholars writing on the subject of political branding view political branding as a strategic device – both a framework and communication vehicle – useful and necessary in our contemporary political context.

Implications/Recommendations: This paper makes a managerial contribution to the political branding body of knowledge. The analysis of the writings of numerous scholars within the area of political branding indicates that the development of strong and appealing political brands helps political parties and political leaders in effective communication with voters-consumers. Political branding emerges as a necessary tool that should be used by political strategists to ensure that the relationships between politicians/political parties and voters-consumers are deepened and relevant, and the visions and messages communicated by the political actors are cohesive, clearly articulated, concentrated, and well-understood by the voters-consumers.

Contribution/Value Added: This paper is original in showcasing the dominant and overarching approaches and ideas among scholars writing on the subject of political branding.

Article classification: theoretical/review paper

JEL classification: M00, M3, and M38


Download data is not yet available.


Adolphsen, M. (2009). Branding in Election Campaigns: Just a Buzzword or a New Quality of Political Communication? MSc Dissertation. LSE Media@LSE Department of Media and Communications.

Bowman, A. (2023, September 19). How strong political branding can help you win your next election. Brand Identity. Crowdspring. Available at: https://www.crowdspring.com/blog/political-brandingmarketing/ [accessed: 18.10.2022].

Bradford Long, J. (2009). The role and growth of celebritization in presidential campaign coverage. Honors Theses. 1432. Available at: https://digitalworks.union.edu/theses/1432 [accessed: 18.10.2022].

Brooks, J. (2017). Identity Politics: A Lesson for Brands. LRW Resources. Available at: https://lrwonline.com/perspective/identity-politics-lesson-brands/ [accessed: 18.10.2022].

Curry, A. (2015). The Problem with Political Brands. Market Leader, Quarter 1.

Downer, L. (2016). It’s the equity stupid! Protecting the value of the partisan brand. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, 28(1), 22–39. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10495142.2016.1131485

Driessens, O. (2013). The celebritization of society and culture: Understanding the structural dynamics of celebrity culture. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 16(6), 641–657.

Durántez-Stolle, P., & Martínez-Sanz, R. (2019). Politainment in the transmedia construction of the image of politicians. Communication & Society, 32(2), 111–126.

Farhan, A., Omar, N. A., Jannat, T., & Nazri, M. A. (2020). The impact of political brand relationship quality and brand engagement on voters’ citizenship behavior: Evidence from Indonesia. The South East Asian Journal of Management, 14(1), Article 7.

Gageby, G. (2020, November 25). The celebritization of politics is deeply corrosive. Trinity News. Available at: https://trinitynews.ie/2020/11/the-celebritization-of-politics-is-deeply-corrosive/ [accessed: 18.10.2022].

Haw, A. L. (2020). ‘Manufactured hysteria’: Audience perceptions of sensationalism and moral panic in Australian news representations of asylum seekers. Media International Australia, 174(1), 125–139. DOI: 10.1 1 77/1329878XI9876093

Kaneva, N., & Klemmer, A. (2016). The rise of brandidates? A cultural perspective on political candidate brands in postmodern consumer democracies. Journal of Customer Behaviour, 15(3), 299–313.

Kumar, A., & Dhamija, S. (2017). Indian Political Scenario and Scope of Branding. Aweshkar Research Journal, 22(1), 22–30.

Manning, P. (2010). The semiotics of brand. Annual Review of Anthropology, 39, 33–49. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.anthro.012809.104939

Marland, A. (2013). What is a political brand?: Justin Trudeau and the theory of political branding. Paper presented at the 2013 annual meeting of the Canadian Communication Association and the Canadian Political Science Association, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Thursday, June 6. Available at: https://www.cpsa-acsp.ca/papers-2013/Marland.pdf [accessed: 18.10.2022].

Martín Jiménez, V., Berdón Prieto, P., & Reguero Sanz, I. (2022). The precursors of infotainment? Debate and talk shows on Televisión Española (1980–1989). Communication & Society, 35(1), 119–135.

Milewicz, M., & Milewicz, Ch. (2014). The branding of candidates and parties: The U.S. news media and the legitimization of a new political term. Journal of Political Marketing, 13(4), 233–263. https://doi.org/10.1080/15377857.2014.958364

Panigyrakis, G. G., & Altinay, L. (2017). Political branding in turbulent times. The Service Industries Journal, 37(9–10), 681–683. https://doi.org/10.1080/02642069.2017.1351098

Pich, Ch., Dean, D., & Punjaisri, K. (2016). Political brand identity: An examination of the complexities of Conservative brand and internal market engagement during the 2010 UK General Election campaign. Journal of Marketing Communication, 22(1), 100–117. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13527266.2013.864321

Prodnik, J. A. (2016). The instrumentalization of politics and politicians-as-commodities: A qualitative analysis of Slovenian parties’ understanding of political communication. Annales: Series Historia et Sociologia, 26(1). DOI 10.19233/ASHS.2016.13

Quintas-Froufe, N., González-Neira, A., & Conde-Vázquez, E. (2020). Spanish Audience Interest in Televised Politics: From electoral debates to politainment. Communication & Society, 33(3), 85–100.

Scammell, M. (2014). Consumer Democracy: The Marketing of Politics. Cambridge University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139046107.002

Schneiker, A. (2019). Telling the story of the superhero and the anti-politician as president: Donald Trump’s branding on Twitter. Political Studies Review, 17(3), 210–223.

Smith, G., & French, A. (2009). The political brand: A consumer perspective. Marketing Theory, 9(2), 209–226. DOI: 10.1177/1470593109103068

Smith, G., & Speed, R. (2011). Cultural branding and political marketing: An exploratory analysis. Journal of Marketing Management, 27(13–14), 1304–1321. https://doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2011.628449

Smith, L. (2020, October 28). What is the best political branding of all time? Experts weigh in. Fast Company. Available at: https://www.fastcompany.com/90568946/what-is-the-best-political-logo-ofall-time-experts-weigh-in [accessed: 18.10.2022].

Tasente, T. (2020). The 4 phases of evolution of political communication systems: From the golden age of the parties to the golden age of the users. Technium Social Sciences Journal, 2, 76–83.

Torres-Spelliscy, C. (2019). Political Brands. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Torres-Spelliscy, C. (2022). The Political Branding of the Big Lie. University of Illinois Law Review, 2022, 1711–1760. Available at: https://illinoislawreview.org/print/vol-2022-no-5/the-political-branding-ofthe-big-lie/ [accessed: 18.10.2022].

Vanacore, R. (2021, November 12). Sensationalism in Media. Reporter. Available at: https://reporter.rit.edu/news/sensationalism-media [accessed: 18.10.2022].

Voleti, K. (2020). Political Branding: Political Marketing & Branding Strategies. Political Marketer. Available at: https://politicalmarketer.com/political-marketing-branding-strategies/ [accessed: 18.10.2022].




How to Cite

Bialas, B. R. (2024). Political Branding: Subterfuge or the New Mode of Governance?. Journal of Public Governance, 64(2). https://doi.org/10.15678/PG.2023.64.2.1