Use of Religion in Political Marketing
Religion has always been present in people’s lives and shapes how they live since the dawn of humanity. Over centuries, religion has been used for different purposes especially by those in power. In modern time, religion still a tool used to reach different goals. Today, the political use of religion is still one of the controversial matters in different countries over the world.
As part of their political marketing strategies and efforts to convince voters, political parties call for religion and include it as a persuasion tool. Several constitutions forbid the exploitation of religion for political goals, but it is still used even implicitly.
A new study carried by a group of researchers from Tunisia has investigated the use of religion as an advertising persuasion tool in political marketing. In the context of Tunisia, as it is the case in other Muslim countries, there still vivid confrontation between secularism and religiousness. Thus, the impact of religion might be deeper.
Marketing strategists and scientists understand well how religion impacts people’s behavior. The study stated “Religion has a strong influence on the behavior of the consumer as well as on his decisions… the degree of religiosity has an impact on the determination of consumer’s behavior.” For that, politicians try to take advantage to convince voters depending on their religiosity and dedication.
The study which is published in a Journal of Marketing Research & Case Studies has called marketing rules and relationship between advertiser (in this case politician or party) and consumer (in this case citizen and voter) to understand the use and impact of religion.
To understand that advertising relationship between voters and politicians, researchers based on marketing theories that measure advertising effectiveness “considered in three main approaches: (1) the economic approach, (2) the cognitive approach and (3) the emotional approach.”
Researchers come up with some lessons that “the religious content or not of an announcement has an impact on the advertising persuasion and hence on the poll intentions.”
In her Book Brands of Faith, Mara Einstein stated that “religion has become yet another product sold in the consumer marketplace.” In the context of American society and politics Mara said that “While the relationship between politics and religion has been historically awkward, today it borderlines on abusive.”
Because of that impact, a lot of countries have worked to forbid the use of religion in electoral campaigns, but it is still used as a background for political parties’ ideologies and rhetoric. Whenever it is possible, they address that religious side of people to gain support over their political rivalries.