Political Marketing and Management Online Conference 2021

Tuesday 31 August – Friday 3 September 2021 (NZST, UTC +12) via Zoom
Organised by Associate Professor Jennifer Lees-Marshment and Dr Edward Elder, University of Auckland


The Political Marketing and Management Online Conference 2021 was a free four-day conference that took place online over Zoom across multiple time zones.

The focus of the conference was on participant engagement and interaction rather than traditional presentations given that opportunities to connect have been so constrained during the COVID-19 pandemic. As feedback on the event noted:

“It was a unique opportunity to share views and ideas with colleagues around the world.

“Connecting with fellow academics really helped stimulate my enthusiasm for research again”

“I enjoyed the diverse cross-section of scholars and presenters from various geographic regions.”

“the speakers were very experienced on the subject and broadened the scope of the conversation”

“I especially enjoyed the breakout room discussions, particularly the “random” assignments. We were able to talk to and meet people whom we might not regularly approach at a F2F conference.”

“Everybody was normal and open to communication, and I appreciate opportunity to connect with professors which books I am using for my PhD thesis.”

The conference included sessions dedicated to:

  • Agenda Setting – where leaders in the field and attendees discussed potential areas of future research;
  • Round the World – where country experts and attendees discussed political marketing and management in a specific country; and
  • Informal Coffee & PhD Chats – for general networking, as well as experience and advice sharing.

Below are links to videos of speakers, images, notes from themes discussed and google jam boards produced during breakout room sessions.


Conference Sessions

Agenda Setting

Round the World

Overall themes discussed included:

  • Rise of unusual new covert attack tools
  • Voters voting against products/parties; dis-affinity is stronger than affinity for parties; rise in negative partisanship
  • Decline of the product, rise of the leader brand personality
  • Also rise in identity based political branding, and potential clash between different target markets
  • Hard for opposition to get traction when focus is on leader during a crisis/leader gets all the airtime
  • Strategy has to be more adaptive
  • How to manage staff and volunteers in parliament and government is a big area ripe for research
  • Need clear definitions and terms for political management to grow as a field
  • Covid changes the game of marketing in campaigns
  • Strange forms of attack from US to Ghana – false candidates, people paid to say they are running, when they have no intention but it fragments the vote; and attacks made outside parties on social media which cannot be easily responded to


Conference Report


Conference Programme

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