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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.

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Project last modified 13/08/2021