Narrowband Influencers and Global Icons: Universality and Media Compatibility in the Communication Patterns of Political Leaders Worldwide

Renana Peres*, Sunali Talwar, Liav Alter, Michal Elhanan, Yuval Friedmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This article analyzes how political leaders communicate with their target audiences and examines whether they adopt a country-specific communication persona, or react to the global media-intensive environment by offering more universal communication. Politicians communicate through presentational (e.g., social media) and representational (e.g., press) outlets, and the compatibility between these outlets represents the leader’s effectiveness in transmitting the desired messages to the audience. The authors of this study suggest a theoretical framework that classifies public figures’ communication along two dimensions: universality (particular–universal) and media compatibility (low–high). The authors used language processing tools to study the sentiment, topic mixture, and use of pronouns by 61 global world leaders in more than 300,000 messages from the leaders’ Twitter accounts and press articles. The results show a high level of universality across political leaders in sentiment, topic mixture, and pronoun usage. The media compatibility is high, with Twitter being slightly more positive. Most leaders fall within the categories of Cosmopolitan Antagonist (high universality, low media compatibility) and Global Icon (high universality, high media compatibility). Overall, the sentiment of their communications is positive. Popular topics include diplomacy, economy, corruption, and the Arab world. No significant relationship was found between the sentiment or communication topics and country characteristics.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)48-65
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of International Marketing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© American Marketing Association 2020.


  • LDA
  • communication of political leaders
  • content analysis
  • globalization
  • media compatibility
  • political marketing
  • politicians
  • presentational media
  • press
  • representational media
  • sentiment analysis
  • social media
  • topic analysis
  • universality


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