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.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This article was supported by the Israeli National Foundation and the KMart foundation.
© American Marketing Association 2020.
- communication of political leaders
- content analysis
- media compatibility
- political marketing
- presentational media
- representational media
- sentiment analysis
- social media
- topic analysis