Candidate personal brands : a review of the literature and paths for future inquiry
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The 2016 presidential primaries went exactly, and not at all, as expected. On the Democratic side, frontrunner and partisan-insider, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to be the nominee. Many political scholars in 2015 would have predicted this result and yet few of them would have anticipated the successes of her Democratic Party challenger Senator Bernie Sanders. On the Republican side, businessman Donald Trump appears to be the nominee. Very few political scientists in 2015 would have predicted this result and yet scholarship on branding, personal brands, and political marketing offer explanations for how it could be a possibility. To advance what is known about the surfacing, pre-primary, and primary phase of political campaigns, this report offers a literature review of political brands and candidate personal brands. The goal is to offer a roadmap of prior scholarship and advance a few fruitful paths for future inquiry.
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