Evaluating political party positioning over time: a proposed methodology

AuthorAlessandro Bigi,Michelle Bonera,Anjali Bal
Date01 May 2016
Published date01 May 2016
Academic Paper
Evaluating political party positioning
over time: a proposed methodology
Alessandro Bigi
*, Michelle Bonera
and Anjali Bal
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Division of Industrial MarketingINDEK, Stockholm, Sweden
University of Brescia, Economics and Management, Brescia, Italy
Babson College, Marketing, Massachusetts, USA
In this article, we propose a methodology in order to measure political positioning and constituent perception. Polit-
ical leaders should be able to effectively dene the distinctive characteristics of their political brand and to subse-
quently utilize the most appropriate mechanisms of communication to promote an accurate perception of political
image in the market. The specic aim of this research is to explore interrelations between a political partys positioning
in two different periods in order to discover possible discrepancies and changes over time. The ofcial blog of a po-
litical party, containing both ofcial communication and the peoples 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 constit-
uents. Illustrating the methodology, the blog of Beppe Grillo, founder of the Movimento 5 Stelle is analyzed. Copyright
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
The popularity of the blog has grown exponentially
since its origin in the late 1990s. Increasingly, con-
sumers and constituents are trusting blogs more
and more as a location for relevant and trustworthy
news and political information. As of 2014, an as-
tounding 77% of Internet users read blogs online
and amazingly 81% of consumers in the USA trust
the information presented from blogs (The Blog
Economy 2014). Social media websites such as
Twitter and Facebook include blogs and microblogs
as means of allowing users to express themselves
and engage with others. While the popularity of
blogs is undeniable, there remain numerous
questions as to what a blog tells us about its creator
as well as how others might interpret meaning as
positioned in the blog. The focus of this article is to
propose that blogs can be utilized not only to
gage popularity i n political arenas but also to
measure political positioning and to help politi-
cians and political parties better represent them-
selves. Kotler and Levy proposed the possible
utility of marketing for politics for the rst time
in 1969, arguing that marketing, hitherto conned
to businesses an d commercial organi zations,
keting concept, as a general manage ment philoso-
phy, has been noted as being useful and relevant
to both prot and nonprot organizations (Kotler
& Zaltman, 1971; Brownlie & Saren, 1991), as well
as to a variety of other industrial contexts (Kotler,
1972; Wensley, 1990).
Kelley (1956) is generally credited with the rst
usage of the term political marketing. In his view,
political marketing was virtually synonymous with
propaganda, as it was aimed essentially at persua-
sion. Gronroos (1990) dened political marketing
activity as seeking to establish, maintain and en-
hance long-term voter relationships at a prot for
society and political parties, so that the objectives
*Correspondence to: Alessandro Bigi, Royal Institute of Technol-
ogy (KTH), Division of Industrial MarketingINDEK,
Stockholm, Sweden
E-mail: abigi@marketingconcept.it
Journal of Public Affairs
Volume 16 Number 2 pp 128139 (2016)
Published online 14 May 2015 in Wiley Online Library
(www.wileyonlinelibrary.com) DOI: 10.1002/pa.1561
Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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