Political parties as brands: developing and testing a conceptual framework for understanding party equity
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Brands are synthesizers of meaning that affect the manner in which consumers respond to marketing efforts such as advertising. In the context of politics, political parties exert a similar role. In this dissertation, I examined the role of parties-as-brands and offered a model based on the concept of party equity -- i.e., the added value generated by an entity's (e.g., a political candidate or organization) association to a particular party. Hypotheses were offered addressing party equity outcomes in the context of party personality congruent and incongruent political campaign messages. The moderating role of participants' party loyalty and political knowledge was also examined. Results indicated that party personality congruence did not affect responses to candidates whose personality matched traits commonly associated with the Democratic Party but that Republican candidates had an advantage over Democratic and Independent candidates when their personality matched traits commonly associated with the Republican Party. In the language of party equity this meant that Democratic personality traits yielded no added value or equity for Democratic candidates but that Republican personality traits generated equity for Republican candidates.