What Marketers can learn from this General Elections - India
Here are some of my random observations and thoughts based on what I've seen and heard during run-up to the election campaigning and the election canvassing.
- Branding/Icon: India, culturally have been an idolatry country. Most of our activities are personality driven. This is evident in our advertising too, where use of celebrities (film stars and sportsperson) is rampant. The campaign of branding Narender Modi as their ambassador/Mascot was very effective
- India is still a mass media country: Considering that the effective cost per reach is lower through traditional channels - TV, Print, Radio has played an important role in communicating BJP's message across.
- Social Media/Digital - Small but significant. The numbers are not much, but the hyper-active mode at which the parties used digital media speaks volume of the potential. In the current form it was only BJP's performance that proved effective. Parties like AAP and few Congress candidates who used digital media were not successful. Verdict is still open
- Below par customer service & out you are: Political parties are basically service providers. If their post sale customer service is bad...then no matter how much they say about their past performance and the vision for future, people will not believe. As loyalty & affinity is becoming rarer and rarer, it becomes quite hard for parties to survive if they are not delivering on service.
- People need direction (herd mentality): One thing that BJP articulated was the hope and vision of betterment. They also projected a leader who will take you there. Once, the initial mass started following, the crowds began to swell... the more they came, more eager were others to be part of the surge. Example is how the rallies were being projected as one bigger than another,,,everywhere Modi went
- Experiential marketing- Holographic/Chai Pe Charcha.. One high and other low on technology. While the number of people it directly influenced is low, it gave a heavy buzz to the party(BJP). What it also gave was a huge amount of content for BJP to promote in traditional PR and in social PR
- Any PR is good PR: Other parties talking about BJP PM candidate, his past, and social media abuzz with various articles and links that spoke about the 'false' development report card, etc all was somehow sublimely conditioning the people that PM (Candidate) = Narender Modi... the more everyone used the above equation sarcastically, more people were getting conditioned
- Guerrilla marketing is fine for smaller markets: AAP should know by now, nipping at bigger parties heels and frontal attacks are vastly different. They were successful in Delhi and would have been successful in pockets - had they focussed on their resources in few places
- Content is the king; Yes! Why I say so... BJP had enough content to talk about and share - Be it anecdotes of its PM candidate, his success stories in Gujarat, etc. More importantly the non-performance of previous Govt. and the corruption issue it faces, their leadership (in terms of Gandhi family) gave more content to the BJP.
Endnote: It is a good combination of 3 P's: Product + Packaging + Promotion :)