Association of Marketing Theory and Practice Proceedings 2020

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Conference Track

Marketing Management/ Strategy/ Branding


This qualitative research seeks to shed light on the manner in which marketing and corporate political activity (CPA) interface through senior-level managers acting as key informants. Relying on transcendental phenomenology (n = 41) and grounded theory (n = 402) methods, respectively, Study One uncovers a set of activities difficult to distinguish as either marketing or politics, i.e., legitimacy branding, with Study Two invalidated legitimacy branding as a traditional political strategy. Legitimacy branding’s key characteristics –1) branded reputations, 2) nonmarket targets, 3) for proactive control – position it as marketing-based CPA. While such strategy is generally consistent with previous findings, they follow a silo pattern spread across marketing, business, and sociological literature. These findings, instead, offer holistic evidence of branding strategies designed to control public policy. Legitimacy branding firm strategies to control nonmarkets extend place marketing conversations directly to the management of nonmarkets and marketing subsystems conversations to specific firm identity concepts.