April 5, 2012

Political Marketing lessons from SP’s UP victory in 2012 Elections

There have been several political & journalistic explanations flying around in media of the stunning victory of Samajwadi Party in UP 2012 but nothing much has been said from a purely marketing point of view.  How Akhilesh got it right & Rahul could not? Majority opinion blames Congress party’s lack of feet-on –street. Well then by this logic the BJP should have fared better as it always has the advantage in this department. On the contrary it could only perform equal to the Congress party in UP.  

Let me attempt to explain the SP’s victory in UP elections 2012 in the light of marketing theory & practice. Firstly let us examine the benefits of listening more to core voters during election mode. Most journos, political pundits & politicians are lamenting the lack of INC cadres on the ground in UP to get the citizens vote in favor of party despite high recall levels & awareness generated through media & personal campaigning. In my opinion & from marketing perspective it is incorrect to blame lack of troop numbers in such situations. No size of team could push a ‘bad’ product or service that customers do not want.  As I have mentioned above that BJP has always had the benefit of using RSS cadres but it has not been able to get past the pole first.  INC did not got enough votes due to lack of Feet-on-Street in UP but because it could not target differentiated offers to various segments in such huge market.

Secondly most politicians do not have any idea how much publicity they should garner. It has been proven time & again in India and globally that political players must follow classic marketing concepts when using marketing tools. Excessive publicity could harm the advertiser seriously. I have pointing it out this since NDA’s ‘India Shining’ days and recently during Punjab 2012 elections too. SAD-BJP alliance had almost hurt its prospects in the run up to elections with overdose of publicity during pre-campaign phase. Had PPCCI prompted SAD alliance in Punjab to advertise with greater frequency the results would have been different?

Every marketer knows full well that when a new entrant or rank follower try to expand the category by accentuated activity to dislodge the leader then the number two in the market benefits more than the aspirant in the short run. INC led by Rahul Gandhi failed to portray itself as an alternative to the market leader BSP therefore all its efforts went on to benefit SP. Now if INC maintains the same momentum in UP then it could have great results from UP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Rahul Gandhi must continue his campaign in UP without any interval to get to numero uno place in UP 2014.

Couple of marketing lessons from UP 2012 elections are that size of cadres did not fatally restrict Rahul Gandhi from controlling UP  and secondly marketing thrives on ‘newness’ of the campaign and Congress failed to differentiate their product from the competition. 

April 1, 2012

Enlightened Self Interest: Fair or Foul

Technology & knowledge for a long period in human civilization remained an exclusive preserve of the elite. The elite forbade common man to get anywhere close to getting access to knowledge so as to maintain their stranglehold of few vicious people on the entire population with the sole aim of exploiting the people & keeping them poor & sad. There are numerous incidents in Indian mythology & history that points to existence of such abhorrent practices.

Despite being an Indian myself I am appalled by the ‘divide & rule policy’ propounded by a court teacher by the name of Manu in his work Manu-smriti that in my opinion is the main reason for most of the unfortunate happenings in our past. How could you take away self pride of millions of natives in the pretext of high or low caste and then except them to defend themselves against foreign invasion? Such divisions in society resulted in vast majority of Indians losing all self respect and pride in their talents & skills. Thus it led to establishment of hideous social structure based on master & slave relationship. The philosophy got further institutionalized with marching social rituals of folding hands, touching feet of authority & burning the dead.

No wonder that whenever India was attacked by foreign invaders, we lost every time. Why? How so many people brought up on two famous war epics of Mahabharta & Ramayana, could lose on the battlefield?  I wonder how we forget our Chandragupta & Eklavaya and remember Chanakya & Daroncharya? Who is more important achiever or the teacher?  We need to find answers so that our future could be better than our past.

India needs double digit growth for a couple of decades to be able to get noticed & counted among respectable countries in the world. India was never ‘shining’ despite projection by some politicians for sake of getting back into power. Even they agreed privately about the real state of economy. In order to achieve continuous double digit growth, most if not all Indians must agree on basics of progress. Firstly we must guard against those leaders who do not speak truth generally. I mean we could live with those who speak more often than lies. We must reject politician who keep their own enlightened self interest before the national interest of India. Of late we have seen politicians & people alike who would not mind hurting India for their own sake. Enlightened self interest must be aligned with social objectives of our India.  

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