April 26, 2017

Performance versus Promise: Political Marketing in India

If you intend to find out which political party or leader are responsible for win loss in Delhi MCD elections then you could be disappointed to read this piece. But if you are interested in discovering the marketing insights underlying the recent political marketing events in India then you would have enough food for thought. Let’s hit the ground running, first things first. Why did RSS/BJP lost Bihar Punjab etc but won in UP & Delhi MC elections?

Anti incumbency isn’t always a burden in India or other places on earth due to voter fatigue and low trust in the political players. Many states in India have CMs who are returned back into power for multiple times.  Recently SAD-RSS alliance government lost Punjab despite a huge publicity campaign to showcase its achievements. How could Narendra-Amit duo lose Bihar but manage a thumping win in UP while contesting against the incumbent parties represented by similar caste combinations? There is no ambiguity in understanding why Narendra Modi don’t seems to be affected by the anti incumbency pains despite lack luster performance and deteriorating internal and external environment of India? Narendra seem to glide on promises than performance.

Political marketing in India have not yet to come of age. Most political parties continue to follow the trend than seek professional help despite recognizing the enormous critical influence of the communications strategy on the elections outcome. How could a market leader hire services of an agency which was employed by the challenger to dislodge it from the prime position? Ironically it is congress party which is credited with bringing in marketing professionals into the political communications.  Indians may have markedly different consumption habits but they don’t behave much differently than their counterparts worldwide. Indians living a difficult life in the developing economic conditions consume hopeful promises more eagerly than political claims of how much a politician contributed to their lives.

How could one miss the delphic scene at the residence of Delhi CM? Any shutterbug would find it amusing to note the absence of luxury vehicles at the residence of the CM of India’s richest state.  Well if you have missed it try going to Arvind Kejriwal residence and then following it up with a visit to the official accommodation of the PM of India. Did you notice how many luxury vehicles were parked at both the places? Delhi being richest state in India is home to the high-end luxury autos and moreover such products are meant to flaunt social class of the owner than acquired for the utility.  Point is why the rich guys who badly need the support of state machinery could maintain distance from a CM?

The privately held media in India have come under attack from various sides including the government at the centre which bestowed the titles of ‘bazaroo’ & ‘presstitues’ on some sections despite the fact that it lacks professional ethics of being the watchdog of the citizens against the excesses of governments. Media continues to blatantly hide the failures of the central government.  The recent attacks on Delhi AAP government by the media expose the helplessness of it due to dependency on huge advertising budget of the centre.  Had AAP focused more on poor performance of BJP in MCD rather than comparing it with its own work the results of elections would have been different. Indian citizens don’t vote on positive performance therefore it could be counterproductive to attempting to win elections on performance of the incumbent player. ABV failed to win in 2004 with help of  India-Shining campaign and TRS also was voted out despite transforming Andhra Pradesh into a premier destination. 

QED: It pays to promise moon than deliver LED lights to illuminate the night in India

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