June 22, 2008

JAL- Joy of India

Recently KOHLER a bath fittings and bath wares brand got active in indian market. I beleive other similar brands present in Indian market like JAL, Jaguar, etc need to tighten their belts as the growing market for housing would be changing the industry completely. We can learn from what happpened in cement market in 90s when an aggressive player like Gujrat ambuja challeged the might of the biggies like ACC with devastating consequences for them. If cement can be successfully branded why not an engineering product like bath fittings?

Monte Carlo to Sportking-Ludhiana Hosiery Brands

Ludhiana in Punjab comes second to Tripur, Tamilnadu in hosiery industry. India being an emerging economy has the problem of scaling up of business organisations. Most Indian entrepreneurs prefer a 'minimal' risk route by manufacuring goods for other brands rather than going directly into the market with their own brand.

In fact most businessmen do not plan a budget for marketing more than salaries of sales staff and a few rupees for an odd advert in the print media or a tvc. Marketing is treated as an additional post production activity. How could one compete in market without a name and reputation?

We all have heard of Lifebuoy, Lux, Dettol, Dove, Pears etc. But how many have heard of VVF? My humble suggestion to our decades old established business houses would be to go in for branding and secure thier long term position.

Some years ago india did not had the 300 million middle class then it was okay to manufacture for european and US brands. But now when Indian consumers have demonstrated their natural preference for strong brands, it is time for us to have a relook at our branding abd positioning to keep the customer happy. It is not that ludhiana industry has not tried their branding but their experience does not seem to be very happy.

I remember OWM casablanca people tying up with pringle decade ago. You would surely recognise Montecarlo as a wollen brand. Some other business houses from ludhiana also roped in national level advertising agencies but the result has not been great. Why? Firstly Ludhiana businesses suffer from chronic deficit of talented marketing pros. Though the leaders are open to innovation. I remember having sold a 'cartoon contest' feature to leading most cycle manufacturer while working for a english daily. It was a completely new exercise.

Secondly most business leaders control thier businesses very tightly killing any possibilities for a talent to flourish. Let us have look at some of the brand issues from Ludhiana. Monte Carlo has been stretched to cover non wollen items, When montcarlo launched a new premium brand to compete with Pringle of casablanca, the packing carried the mention of from the house of montecarlo. A junior brand should not be used to endorse the premium segement.

'Sportking' does not have much market in the sports segment. If it is a fashion brand then why call it 'Sport' at all? Its selling good? Try position it properly and see the hidden treasures in terms of marketing dollars. 'Duke' has the potential to become the aspirational wear for Indian youth but then is soemone listening to strategise to put it before the world's youthful nation?

I beleive time has come for business leaders to understand the potential of branding. Since most punjabis travel worldwide we all have seen that WAL-Mart is not a fancy looking store but a greatly strategised retaling business. If we continue to depend on producing for others we may loose our chance to add greater value and may also loose the manufacturing race to China, Africa etc. Let us get up and put our name under the arc lights! Ludhiana listening..?

Nokia 6708 !! Panasonic X 300

NOKIA 6708 is a touchscreen phone. Does anyone wish to buy an used NOKIA 6708 or Panasonic X 300 ?

June 21, 2008

Is MBA all about research?

Is MBA all about research experience?

Management institutes in India and abroad generally prefer to recruit those as faculty who have a PhD degree. Such PhD professors may lack the work experience in corporate/industry and have never got an opportunity to experience & understand business management. Therefore they fail to properly make aware the students about the real management environment in the corporate resulting in severe mismatch in the skill portfolio of the students and the demands of the corporate world.

MBA course in India has become very popular due to economic growth & the privatization of the education sector. Lots of grads are joining the newly opened Business Management schools with a hope to make it big in the corporate world. Being a faculty member at three such institutes I have the opportunity to appreciate the prevalent circumstances.

There are some subjects like Marketing, Sales Management, Distribution, SCM, CRM, Strategic Management that definitely require some exposure to the real market place. It is not possible to disseminate these subjects without referring to some real life cases from the current business scenario. When I was studying for MBA at Punjab University, my marketing professor could not tell which were the leading advertising agencies in India only. Sic.

Professor holding PhD degrees and teaching Marketing Research to MBA students would be unaware of AC Nielsen! Please ask you teacher of research if s/he has ever heard of ac Nielsen. What kind of education are we talking about?

Agreed that a good business management course must follow a multi disciplinary approach and one requires a general smattering of Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Mathematics etc, but how could you a scenario when majority of the teachers have no knowledge and experience of the corporate world? Walk in any nearest business school in India and discover the truth for yourself. How could we support our economic growth if the human resources lack on quality?

The b-schools in India must encourage and invite professionals with industry experience to teach real stuff to the students. This would enhance the economic growth of India. If the b-schools give due preference to industry experience and not insist on PhD degree the quality of education would certainly improve inside the classroom. And the corporate sector would definitely get ‘ready to use’ human resources. In my opinion we need to put professional in charge of business education than mere theoretical teachers with PhD degrees and no real knowledge of the corporate.

June 18, 2008

Oh God! make their films work at box office

Recently a well known Indian film star and his family walked bare foot to visit a temple so that their career may look up after a string of flops. Surprisingly this person after working for decades have not found confidence in his abilities to get success in profession? If people in that old ripe age with tons of money at their command do not believe in their abilities then who else can? One has to look outside than inside of one's persona? What a dangerous thought to undermine the confidence of young India in their abilities.

This sends a loud signal to the new generation that abilities and honesty are not enough to succeed in life but one has to pull other strings too. No wonder India do not win medals in Olympics, writes great books, create engineers etc because we inculcate in our children that one can not build oneself up to a level where s/he can be the world best. Because it is unachievable without help from outside. Come on. I am finding it difficult to explain it to my son. Oh God!

In India the unorganized sector, be it religion or the corporate, has a greater following than that of organised one. When we look at toiletries, food, clothing, footwear, auto component, retail & services....the greater market share is generally in favor of the unorganized sector. We attribute it to the nature of market economy. India being a developing economy would take time to consolidate businesses in the organized sector and requires more time to benefit from the resultant synergies , enhance operational efficiencies and reduce unnecessary costs in the processes.

The effort to organize retailing has already hit major road blocks in major states. Why do the masses prefer to unorganized over the organized and branded offerings? We all understand that a brand from the organized business offers greater promise of quality. And the prices have less stability in commodities market than manufactured goods and brands. Let us not digress from the real point of faith and religion.

Most faiths have clear guidelines for the believers then why ever new 'saints' are emerging on the scene. These new saints have huge money following them. I went to study from two reputed universities for MBA, MJMC and have been working for over over 20 years, but i do not have finance to set up a professional education institute. On the contrary there are several great men who have set up huge infrastructures to offer astrology, religion, ayurveda, yoga etc without going for any training in research and education. Whats this?

India has been known as land of saints, gurus and religious people. We have mainstream national parties that swear by their own brand of religion. This creates schisms among different groups. These parties convince the masses that once their brand of religious thoughts are implemented in the country then India would become a super power. If you ask them to prove their point with reference to history they can not site any time when their brand of thinking helped the masses in India to achieve peace, happiness and glory. But they continue preaching their idea and acquire political power for themselves. Now how do we view the concept of religion in the new globalist world?

Are we Indians more religious than Japan, China, Malaysia, US, Europe? Is there a link between following religious tenets and becoming successful. Does it have any impact on businesses and living? Certainly it has, don't you agree? In India religious persons, places and concepts attract huge money. People go to visit persons, places of religion to donate money so that the almighty may help them in life and living. In this transaction, like other transactions in business, the motive is to get higher returns.

How would the religions cope with a the march of globalization? Won't the masses would start comparing various thoughts finally settling for a new world order in which everyone has a level playing field.

June 16, 2008

waste thoughts

Life's goal can not be filling up the tummy, putting on expensive clothes, driving best cars, living with best women. Then what is life meant for?if all our actions would come to naught? but does all our actions actually have no value? Why should we remember a napoleon, a shakespear, a newton, a pele, these guys would never be forgotten till the time their works are relevant to life on earth.so we must act in context to relevance to human life. since charity begins at home, shall the individual not strive to built oneself first, or shall the personal interest be given second importance to public good. oh God, pls tell us what is right?

Let the life lead us

Let the life lead us?I agree, yes! I agree.Life as 'understood' by us from the past around 5000 odd years of living on this planet does not offers many answers. I agree that we have found some explanations, but the main questions remain unanswered.Like the need for a 'God'? is He there? Is HE a HE? Do we need Him. some religions discount HIM.What is happiness? Is it an islandic feeling? I mean how can we celebrate the winning, when most who participated lost the contest? How can we enjoy a chocolate sitting in our car when a street urchin is looking at us on the traffic light? Happiness must be a meaningful experience. Ignorance, or the willing suspension of disbelief, shall not make us happy.What actually is a crime[crime & punishment;dostoevsky]? If Saddam kills thats crime, if Bush kills thats not? Who struck first cannot be the basis of definition of a crime.Let us find answers, let us be Happier, let us talk to each other. There are no good, or bad people here. The time has not come to decide whats good and whats bad, till that moment let us keep living!!

Tata NANO's mega-marketing plan for EU

The media and students of marketing strategy and business management are virtually dumbfounded by the the timing of the launch of TATA's NANO and TATA's acquistion of Jaguar & Land rover, aren't we? Do we find a link between the two events?

It is generally explained by & in the media that tatas wanted to balance its product portifolio therefore Mr Rattan Tata, that honorable genius-donnt we all admire him!,decided to go for both. WRONG!

In my opinion the acquisition of jaguar & Land rover has nothing to do with any balancing act whatsoever. But a strategic marketing move to market NANO in lucrative EU market. Am i right Mr Rattan Tata.

Acquisition of jag gives TATA motors the access to strong distribution network in EU with an incredible product synergy. A customer walking into jag or rover outlet to acquire a lifestyle product may not mind shelling out 5% extra to express his/her concern for environment by driving a small car for local driving.

NANO can safely get parking space in the wallet and garage that boasts of lifestyle autos. Come on tell me if i am wrong Mr Rattan Tata

Why Punjabi language media lags behind?

You must have been wondering why donn't you have a successful punjabi language channel or radio ? Marketing logic would suggest that it would make a good business sense to create a great paper, radio, tv or digital channel in punjab. Punjabi community has the buying power to attract advertising dollars.

Punjabis have the right kind of attitude towards spending & living that would be of great attraction to the investors. Then whats wrong, why donnt we have a successful media business in punjabi language? One unteneable logic generally propogated by the so called specialists is the proximity or likeness of punjabi with hindi language.....then why bhojpuri, marathi, gujrati is thriving within the hindi belt? Certainly most of those dialects do not have a market consumption profile completely suited for attracting advertising dollars. We hardly have two punjabi newpapers ajit and jagbani, others like desh sewak, punjabi tribune, spokesman, chardikala etc have hardly have significant base to talk about. All papers are morning dailies. It is generally said that punjabis have no reading culture..but what about listening and viewing culture?

Punjabi media suffers from lack of differentiation. Donnt you agree that punjabis have significantly diffrent culture and lifestyle? Why donnt the media reflect it? Punjabi media must recognise the punjabi ethos and touch the punjabi soul..the success may not be far.

A punjabi tv channel can get eye balls with classic love stories of heer-ranjha, sassi-punnu, serialisation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's story, bring the sofi poets alive on small screen, develop kamagatamaru to current escapes of punjabis to lands that offer better life etc. There is enough content to sustain a build and market a great punjabi channel. All we need is a determined investor who is in love with punjabi language and takes genuine pride in punjabi ethos.

Let us hope some educated punjabi business person may see the logic of serving the cause of punjabi culture and backs a media project to promote it. If Punjabis change thier habits and become more like gujratis who would buy new fancy cars on shoe string budgets? When punjabi culture gets diluted marketeers would have to search for a new early adaptors segment and the businesses would have longer break even period. Do you wish it to happen in next 5-10 years?

Punjab based political party Akali Dal definitely requires to promote punjabi language to maintain its grip over its supporters. Otherwise the party may face extinction in near future. Young leaders like Sukhbir Sing Badal would surely like to keep his flock together with promoting punjabi language so as to maintain their diffrentiation with BJP and Congress. And on the other hand Congress, or bjp in punjab could do well to capture the imagination of punjabis and portray themselves as promoters of punjabi culture and strengthen their political grip in the punjab region. Is someone listening!

June 15, 2008

Sawpan's malicious dreams

You would definitely feel hurt when intelligent people side with dark forces for the sake of short term gains. Evil geniuses. Hitler was not a dud, but a person who could move the masses with his eloquent speeches and evil logic. In a developing country like India some resonably good journos have joined caste and religion based parties because the mainstream party did not acknowledge their ralent. Some of these journalist are good enough to feed the propagandist rumour mill of the parties they represent.

People like swapan das gupta are tweaking the news to benefit the party they represent. But sometime he, and other like him go overboard to defend their political interests that they put the country at stake. News management has become a definte tool of political marketing. But national interest and decency must take precedence over narrow parochial objective. We must not put the unity of India at stake for personal gains.

In order to please N Modi, swapan has written in today's Times of India that Modi is right in asking for dissociating gujrat from the union governement. Is it not challenging and weakening the structure of our system. swapan says that since gujratis are smarter than the rest of india they should be allowed to use money generated as taxes from the state. They must have priviledges.

In his own words...."Contrary to what simple-minded nationalists may feel, this was not a coded signal for secession. Why, the Singapore leader was asking, should Gujarat compromise its comparative advantage as a centre of entrepreneurship and prosperity for the sake of that India which doggedly refuses to enter the 21st century? Should the brightest student in a class be forced to dumb down to accommodate the dullard?" Times of india june 15 2008.

sawapan must not forget that same argument was given in punjab 20 years ago in favour of Khalistan movement. If we can not serve each others' interests what right we have to call ourselves as fellow country. swapan and modi forget that gujrat makes some money because indian armed forces are defending the borders. Can modi have investment climate without security? How many of our gujratis brothers are serving the armed forces? Please do not divide the country for personal gains.

June 14, 2008

White lies, half truths...& pure Marketing

Do you believe in marketing? How often you have come across people making blantantly fake claims about their offers? When you would have asked them why they were doing so..you must have got back a reply like...come on i was doing a little marketing!!! Can a half truths or white lies pass off for in the name of marketing?

Well how can we imagine to get into a reasonably long term relationship that has been based on lies, be in in personal life or professional. The buck shall find a time and place to stop.

When i come across adverts promising 70 & 30 % off in mainline english media in print, tv and digital my marketing sense bleeds. How can we succeed by doing business with not so smart customers? lots of such marketing communications are being passed off in a rapidly developing country like india. Since large sections of our society are going through a SEC profile transformations the products with low proces are flying from the shelves. With low level of current product penetration the businesses are not bothering about delighting & retaining customers. They are smug and sure in their belief that new streams of customers are being added to SEC a,b, & C therefore they would plently of fish to catch in the sea.

When a business is targetting new customers upgrading from lower SEC strata they forget to give due weights to the purchasing power and ease of purchase. A repeat customer brings more money to shop and shops fast. It would be logical to get facts right and use marketing to delight the customer.

I wish traditional business in Punjab, Haryana, and HP should have a second look at their marketing strategy.

Globalisation of Consumers

Globalisation of customers citizens

The age of romance and beauty continues. So is the quest to find the meaning of life. But no longer we hear of a young charming prince from a distant land setting out on his effervescent horse to conquer and unite the world. We have our dapper graying ‘powerful’ kings, some democratic some not, busy launching marauding armies from their air-conditioned bunkers shortly after a nutritious dinner meal.

The world has accepted the political boundaries drawn in the wake of Second World War as sacrosanct. Higher fences are a symbol of safety and happiness. Admiration and awe is now moved from those decorated military heroes to tactical weapons and their awesome destructive force. Bombs know no forgiveness as associated with erstwhile romantic war heroes. Wars are still waged, still in the name of peace. We have devised new ways to acquire the wealth from weaker people and nations. We call it globalization.

The industrially developed nations are touting globalization as a panacea for the reduction of poverty on the earth. In the process these corporation contribute to the economic development of their parent countries though market expansion and out sourcing hazardous production processes. The enlightened scholars from the western world advise the developing countries to allow big business corporations from the west to sell to the poor citizens living in the developing countries.

These great corporations from the industrially developed world promise to ‘delight’ the customers in the LDC countries. But the same customer do not get a welcome if s/he wishes to live in the countries represented by these global corporations. How do these companies plan to achieve ‘customer delight’ without building mutual trust?

How can a company call itself a true marketing corporation if that does not stand for equal opportunities? If the people from less developed world do not have equal chance of living wherever they wish what moral right does a corporation have to interact with same people living in their local countries. Globalization can be achieved only if all citizen customers have equal opportunity to live wherever they want as per the international laws and ethics.

The developed world discourages less developed people to join them as that may disturb the local culture. The same people vehemently promote their cultural products all over the world. Why should people in India, China, Russia and Brazil develop a liking for Scottish whiskey or French wines or German engineering products? These are distinctly culture-based products.

How do we explain the rise of Australian wine industry or the rise of Canadian corporations? Why can’t you enjoy a drink of Coca Cola in Middle East? What has happened to the sales of Swiss watch industry in the wake of continuing conflict in Gaza? If a nation fails to welcome all citizen consumers to its shores it would face problems in making money from global citizens.

Is actual Globalisation achievable without building a civil global ethos based on universal principles of justice and fairness? We can not go against the mother nature, have we ever come across a moment in our long past when entire planet has had the same conditions, economic, political, natural, or social? When was the last time you heard that the earth has had rains all over the place, or everyone went to bed the same time? If nature on earth cannot offer same weather conditions in all places, how can we achieve true globalisation of opportunities? The new order looks farcical in the light of definition of marketing too.

We do not have same color of our skin. Nations do not have same ‘power’. What is the purpose of aiming for Level playing field amongst unequal? Have our civilization given up and have accepted the hegemony of the strong over the week? If might shall always be right, then why talk of creating an equitable, just and human society on the earth.

Guru Gobind Singh ji has remarked that true virtuous beauty is enshrined in the act of valor when sparrows muster up the courage to challenge the hawks. But in our postmodern society such romantic acts are portrayed as old fashioned. Pursuit of pleasures takes precedence over the pursuit of happiness.

Globalisation would give an equal opportunity to powerful developed countries in the west to compete in the market place in the developing world. The direct consequence of it would be that due to lack of resources the companies in the LDC would be at mercy of the onslaught of the foreign companies.

Political Marketing in india

Winner’s curse in Political Advertising

A sound communications strategy could backfire without astute media planning. Vajpaye led NDA government had lost elections due to bad media planning. In fact there was nothing wrong with the communication strategy of India Shining campaign. Probably the segmentation was also done meticulously. The party managers had faltered on establishing a correct level of advertising spend believing that if they spend more on communication the result would be in their favour. How could one assume that when most research indicate otherwise.

India shining campaign has been considered a flop show as the party lost elections. A closer study would reveal that there was real merit in the communication strategy adopted as election theme. Most experts also agreed that the campaign was generally good and effective before the election results were out. The devil did lie in the media planning. From political marketing viewpoint no one tried to look at the desired level of media reach for an incumbent party. The overkill in media cost them elections.

The Samajwadi party in Uttar Pradesh used the most powerful brand endorser in India combined with messages that had top grade production values, but that was not enough to keep the party in power. Did the political advertising campaign worked in this case?

There are major differences between the American and European way of conducting advertising campaigns. In USA you have candidate centered, repetitive, and short advertising messages as against the European way that features party centric, longer duration, and single shot advertisements.

If the Labour party in UK could use professional help and successfully re-brand itself as New Labour and go on to win successive elections. Why can’t political parties in India learn from their experience and seek professional help in place of some inhouse experts who could be susceptible to the phenomenon of tunnel vision.

If congress party in Punjab assembly elections 2007 had succeeded in reminding the loyal voters of Shromani Akal Dal in towns about their ‘differences’ with hardcore Hindutva forces then the election results outcome would have been different. If the media experts in congress party had targeted advertisements on the basic differences within the loyal cadres and voters of SAD and BJP it may have continued to rule Punjab.

The hardcore Akali and RSS/BJP do not seem to have resolved their ideological differences over major issues like Punjabi language, river waters, Chandigarh, and attitude towards religions etc. Therefore Congress party in Punjab had a cut out task of reminding the core voters in both camps about their past.

It was that core Akali voters who for the first time polled votes in favour of BJP that made the difference to the unprecedented BJP victory in the state. The credit went to the young leadership of SAD for engineering a shift in the voting behavior of traditional Akali voter by very successfully mobilising and convincing them to cast the votes in favour of Akali BJP combine.

SAD & BJP are parties with a strong core. These kinds of parties can win an election on the basis of a strong wave only. It is very important for these parties to appeal to the floating voters to vote in their favour. In the last Punjab elections there were other strong reasons for the victory of SAD BJP alliance.

Use of marketing instruments, concepts and techniques is on the rise in India with every new election. Most political parties realizing the importance of political communications have created in house teams, often named as media cell, to establish, maintain and improve the image of their party and advise the party on professional political communications. These media divisions within parties generally consist of current and former journalists and a smattering of political communications experts. Well-planned political marketing helps to influence the election outcome by convincing the electorate about real effective issues.

Elections and political management remains under tight control of the in-party specialists who claim to understand the political scenario better than the marketing expert who generally gets involved in elections during election time only. The politicians and parties in India have yet to get onto the perpetual political marketing mode as undertaken in democracies in western world and the ASEAN countries. The war room mentality remains the favorite style for leveraging the political marketing process in developed world.

Punjab elections in 2007 featured high decibel advertising campaigns, public election broadcasts, road shows, exit polls, news management and a more organized campaign management to get the voters out to vote. The reverberations continue to be felt in the form of daily dose of news coverage about the arrest & trial of high profile previous chief minister and his associates.

The role of media and the media advisors have never had attracted such attention in election campaigns in particular and managing a political party in general. Can we conclude that astute media handling, and overall use of marketing tools have become a necessary feature for the success of a political party? The application of marketing techniques and strategies to the political marketplace is a paradigm shift that will continue to change politics, as we know it today.

Media in Punjab, India too, has long been associated with social and political movements. It has been considered as an instrument with the potential to usher in a socio-political change in society. Till recently, major media in India could have been identified with distinct religious, political, social and economic interest groups having a definite agenda to promote without regard to the overall health of our democratic nation. In the current democratic set up media openly seems to side with political parties and other vested interest groups to sway the public opinion in a particular direction. Therefore news management has become a full time activity for the political players. Success in politics is measured by the ability of a party to move the public opinion in a direction it wants it to move.

Since vast majority of Indians are religious and God fearing therefore it has become a general practice amongst politicians of every hue to be seen to be seeking blessings from religious leaders more during the time of elections so as to impress upon their followers to vote in favour of their party and candidate. But for the first time in Punjab, a Baba from the neighboring state of Haryana took out series of advertisements impressing upon his followers to vote in favour of a Congress party.

This cocktail of religion and politics seem to work all over India and has produced enormous aftershocks long after the polls have gone. A professional approach in handling such communications could reduce the unsavoury aftershocks in the country. The intensity of the competition could be gauged from the fact that socio-religious leaders are prompted to appeal to their followers to influence voting.

It is not the media companies alone who take recourse to the pre poll surveys to assess the mood of the voters and pump up their TRP. The political parties also resort to use of market research to fine-tune their campaign strategy. Since these surveys make catchy headlines therefore their impact on the voters and the party workers is powerful. A positive survey finding motivates the party worker to get out work to get all the votes polled on the Election Day.

A pre poll survey predicting a negative outcome could demotivate the party rank & file and also convince the floating undecided voter to form a negative opinion about the projected looser party. These surveys provide new debating points to the media and do seem to colour their own news analysis also.

The Parties employed below the line media to reach out to the rural voter. Music videos and election songs have become a major tool of communicating a political message to the rural audience. Terrestrial television in the form of state owned Doordarshan has an extensive reach in the rural areas and therefore used for the purpose of public election broadcast to disseminate the message to the people who otherwise depend upon vernacular print media.

The cap on election expenditure also restricts the political parties from involving professional advertising organizations to execute a political campaign on their behalf. Because the political party would not want to disclose their actual advertising spend to the election commission.

Persuasion remains the main objective of the political players. The parties stop short of finding out what the electorate wants from them; instead they claim to know what people must expect from them. The parties have generally ignored the need for marketing research to list the issues facing the public.

There has been an extensive use of negative advertising during the election campaigning. Some of the advertisements do have advocacy tone also. But nothing that could be called a creative advertising campaign capable of producing measurable effects. The media cells in parties continue to believe that voters would buy everything that they have to tell them. When would these media experts accept that we live in times when creating credibility of the messages is a challenge.

There has been plethora of research suggesting that incumbent party does not gain from higher share of voice. Though it gains remarkably from share of mind and share of heart. This would require limited use advertising and leveraging the other promotion vehicles. But most incumbent parties do not seem to take lessons and keep on wasting resources on government advertising.

It is believed by many that there are no upper limits to the quantity of communication to strengthen the appeal of a political party. More the merrier, but that’s certainly not true. Several studies in political marketing have established beyond doubt that there is a non-linear relationship between the spending and net marginal benefit to the advertiser. Particularly for the incumbent party it has been generally accepted that low level of spending, than the challenger, may be better for producing a positive effect for an incumbent party.

Most political pundits seem to have concluded that advertising and other marketing devices have almost negligible effective role to play in Indian elections. But several parties have tried to deploy sophisticated political marketing tools to convince the voter to elect them to power. But the results may not have been turned out in their favour.

While most political parties use sophisticated technology to get across their message to the voters, they still rely on party old timers, journalists and bureaucrats to work out a communications strategy. Professional advise in election management is still not a very popular way. Therefore, most of the times, the quantity and quality of communication is way off the mark. Some political parties in India have recently begun consulting outside professional marketing experts to understand the mood of the electorate, plan communications/advertising, & manage news media in order to mobilize public opinion in its favour. Definitely they see wisdom in using marketing for victory in the elections though political pundits may not agree with the effectiveness of the political marketing process.

Gurinder Singh Ahluwalia
Marketing Consultant

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