Purpose - The aim of this paper is to identify the best marketing
communications for policy messages that makes these messages acceptable
and fair to the public. Within the context of the Vehicle Miles Traveled
(VMT) tax, this paper examines how framing messages through the
alternative perspective of tribalism can increase individual support
towards the corresponding policy.
Design/methodology/approach - The paper uses a mixed methods approach.
Study 1 uses a qualitative content analysis process based on grounded
theory to identify the themes that surround 331 public comments on a
transportation policy. Study 2 follows with two 2x2 quantitative
factorial experiments to test specific hypotheses.
Findings - If messages are framed to address the collective losses of
the political tribe for collective good, then they generate more
favorable attitudes towards the policy, as opposed to the self-interest
Research limitations/implications - This paper focuses on two political
tribes: the collective good and self-interest. Additional research needs
to address the other socially symbolic political tribes to develop the
empirical research on the theory of tribalism.
Practical implications - The marketing of public policy based on
traditional segmentation is limiting. Policy messages can be more
salient if they are framed for the political consumption of the socially
Originality/value - A key contribution is that the paper is the first to
use a mixed methods approach, with two studies that examine the effects
of framing policy from a tribalism perspective.
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