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Understanding how industries cultivate virtuous auras

Social responsibility initiatives are receiving increasing attention and have become a vital component of marketing and branding strategies. The growing pressures to engage with social problems not only affects individual corporations, but entire industries as well.

Policy makers, social commentators, and the general public increasingly question whether industries exacerbate societal problems or offer solutions.

We analyse the microfinance industry as a case study in the development and maintenance of what we call a 'virtuous industry aura.' This refers to an elusive ‘halo’ of unique and authentic virtues that characterise a particular industry.

Our analysis revealed specific tactics the industry stakeholders (e.g. managers, experts, celebrities, politicians, commentators) used to build and maintain the industry’s aura.

We identify specific 'framing tactics' (rhetoric and persuasion in public media) that can help managers navigate the emergence of an industry’s aura, as well as the conditions in which the aura of a more mature industry becomes contested.

This research can help organisations become better attuned to the processes of developing industry aura and understand how to help cultivate the desired aura.


Bajde, Domen, Jessica Chelekis, and Arjen van Dalen. (2021). "The Megamarketing Of Microfinance: Developing And Maintaining An Industry Aura Of Virtue." International Journal of Research in Marketing, in press.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Jessica Chelekis
Dr Jessica Chelekis - Dr Jessica Chelekis is the MBA Director and senior lecturer in Sustainability and Global Value Chains. She is also a member of the Marketing and Corporate Brand Management Research Group. Jessica is an expert in marketing and consumer research, with a focus on how socio-cultural forces shape consumption patterns and values in modern societies.She is particularly interested in critical consumption studies – how and why consumers use ethical and political beliefs to guide their consumption choices. Past research projects include an ethnographic study of direct sales and household economies in the lower Brazilian Amazon, an analysis of culture and regional scales in consumer research, and how industries can develop virtuous auras. Jessica is currently conducting a qualitative study on sleep routines, sleep-related consumption, and consumer selfhood in the UK.

Related Research Group(s)

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Marketing and Corporate Brand Management - Our research-active faculty are engaged in cutting-edge applied scholarship across a broad spectrum of marketing areas.

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Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 13/08/2021