Human branding in political marketing: applying contemporary branding thought to political parties and their leaders

Richard Speed, Patrick Butler, Neil Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Political marketing advances by engaging with new and advanced concepts from both of its parent disciplines. One of the most recent fields of brand research - the study of the human brand - is taken into the political marketing arena in this essay. Human branding is an emergent topic in mainstream marketing. The value as a brand of a person who is well-known and subject to explicit marketing communications efforts is being investigated in many fields. The concept has clear prima facie value in political marketing, where the role of a political leader as part of the political marketing offer has been recognized extensively. Politics is also a unique context given the relationship between leaders and parties, each of which has some unique brand associations. The process of exploring the application of human branding in politics also provides a context in which some of the interactions among party and leader, human brand, and organizational brand can be explored and further developed. Among the conclusions are that political party leaders require brand authenticity as an advocate of the party policy platform and brand authority to command the organization and deliver on the policies being advocated. Implications for party and campaign management are outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-151
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Political Marketing
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • human branding
  • brand associations
  • brand persona

Cite this