BJP, Modi, Criticism and Refutational Communication

  • ‘India’s democracy was under assault”
  • ‘Govt talking big on economy, but nothing happening on ground
  • ‘Intolerant India’
  • “When it came to making speeches, Modi government got into the T-20 mode, when it was about announcing policies, it became a one-day match, and when it came to implementing promises, the government behaved as if a Test match has been abandoned,”
  • “Chhe Mahine Paar, U Turn Sarkar”

These  are some of the slogans that have surfaced at different points in time criticizing Modi government. Politics is a competitive game. It is same as when two or three dominant brands attack each other to gain supremacy. Consider, how Amaze directly or indirectly hits out at Desire and the battle between Coke and Pepsi gets direct and dirty. Marketing is also an attitude building, sustaining and changing game. Leadership implies that a brand enjoys positive consumer attitude and behavior. In the last general elections, BJP was voted into power which also implied that it enjoyed an attitudinal and behavior advantage over its rival Congress. The challenge for the leader brand is to defend and sustain its market by maintaining attitude. The challenger brand, on the other hand, can thrive by shifting and changing consumer attitude in its favor.  So consider the following:

·         “We are Number 2 but we try harder” (Avis Rent a car)

  • Volkswagen’s ‘Lemon’, ‘Think Small ‘ and ‘Lemon’ campaigns

This campaign by Avis allowed the company to gain significant market gains by the power of what in communication is called ‘refutational’ appeal or advertising. The communicator first raises a negative matter and then demolishes it. Volkswagen, after the Second World War launched Beetle car in the US with campaigns including the one in which it boldly claimed its car to be ‘Lemon’  followed by text refuting the claim that the car in the ad is plucked from the assembly line (lemon) by the engineers due to scratch on the glove compartment so that ‘you get plums’.  In a similar vein, Listerine which creates burning sensation in the mouth first admitted its burning sensation (negative belief, possible attack opportunity for the rival) followed by a refutation that this sensation is sign of its effectiveness. This strategy is also used by expensive brands. They first admit that their brand is expensive (therefore target of attack by lesser price brands) and then refute this claim by focusing on their long lasting quality. Why do firms adopt this strategy?

The idea behind refutational communication is to ‘inoculate’ the consumer/audience against competitor’s counter claims and destroy them. So what implications follow for the BJP government? The need is to study these attacks that the opposition is making or is likely to make in future and then use them to inoculate the audience and then refute them by showcasing what has already been done. It is better to erect perceptual defences before the enemy mounts attack.

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Brand Endorsement, Influence, Amrapali, Dhoni and Misrepresentation

The Amrapali Sapphire and Indian cricket team captain MS Dhoni’s role as its brand ambassador has brought to the fore the issue of brand endorser and consumer attitude manipulation. In India use of celebrities is very common.  All kinds of celebrities are used by brands. If there  Alok Nath  who endorses Link locks on the one hand there is SRK who promotes Fair and Handsome.  For instance, Aamir Khan stood for brands including Titan, Coke, Snapdeal and Tata Sky, Amitabh’s kitty included brands such as Cadbury, Pepsi, Parker, Reid and Taylor, Dabur Honey and Navratana Oil; Katrina Kaif’s portfolio includes Slice, Veet, Pentene, Panasonic and L’Oreal.  One of the current high profile campaigns is that of Tata Motors in which football icon Lionel Messy is employed as global brand ambassador.

Technically, celebrities are only one of the various types of people who could be present in ads like created characters which may be humanized like Amul girl/ ZooZoos Vodafone or real people representative of a particular group like Surf’s Lalitaji and Nirma’s Jaya and Shushma (commoner)   or outdoorsy in Woodland or fashion inclined in Mango or shape conscious in K Special or expert in Lux shampoo ad or doctor in Colgate.

On theoretical note celebrities and brand ambassadors are different in terms of their expected role and contribution to the brand. The celebrity contributes to a brand by simply appearing in its ads (physical presence). For instance, Thums up used different celebrities including Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan and same was done by Pepsi which included SRK, Saif, Amitabh, Ranbir , Virat Kohli and Dhoni. The brand ambassador on the other hand plays a much serious role by becoming animated face of the brand in all its communication. Brand ambassador tangibilizes the invisible values and culture. He or she is expected to make deeper transformation in the way brand is perceived and felt by the audience. The value congruence between what an endorser epitomizes and company / brand values are essential.  For instance, Tag Heuer’s core value ‘don’t crack under pressure’ went well with SRK. The current intent of Tata Motors to portray itself as makers of great cars is done by Lionel Messy.

The question arises why companies pay hefty fees to get these celebrities or presenters to be present in their brand communications. Their value stems from the contribution that they make. Imagine the consumer effects that an ad would have with or without a presenter. To put simply, a known presenter can contribute to a brand’s success by lending awareness at the base level (imagine awareness of Navratna oil shot through the roof due to presence of Amitabh Bachchan in its ads).  Much deeper impact is made when the attitude toward the endorser is transferred to the advertised brand. The presenters in ads can predispose or prompt audience to view, think and feel a brand in a particular way. They may create a bias by influencing the consumer attitude, especially by creating a subtle jump over critical thinking to feelings. Presence of a liked source in ads may have retarding effect on thinking. So ads that make use of liked and loved characters activate emotional side of brain and thereby hasten judgments.

Attention effect:  the customers these days are bombarded with messages causing them to experience information overload. One common strategy for them is to screen out a large number of incoming messages. In this regard, celebrities provide an easy route to brands to capture customer attention. It is based on the understanding that consumers pay attention to what they like or interested in.

Awareness effect: typically celebrities enjoy high recognition and recall because of their popularity in their domain of work.  An ad typically ties together to independent stimuli (brand and celebrity like Pavlov’s bone and bell) and with repetition ceases their independence. As a result the awareness is transferred to the brand. It is an easy way to make an initial cut into an otherwise resistant mind.

Amplification effect: consider an ad which simply announces ‘Amrapali Sapphire 2/3/4 BHK flats Sector -45 Noida’ and its effect on consumer and when the same information is provided along with the presence of MS Doni. The two stimuli would not separately get processed in different hemispheres independently in isolation. Rather both will amalgamate into message which may have multiplicative or exponential effect. Now the address is not simply is an address rather it is multiplied with everything MS Dhoni stands for.  The cricket captain brings his traits like achievement, sincerity, dedication, leadership, endurance, success and commitment gets them to multiply with simple matter of fact ‘address’. This may have predisposing effect on attitude of even high involvement customers (due to risk associated).  In similar way when an ad proclaims ‘pure honey’ in the presence of Amitabh Bachchan, a huge difference is accomplished between what is said and what is actually received by customers. Here combining one with one creates eleven not two.

The message amplification also is achieved when a brand uses real or lookalike experts. For instance Castrol ads use a mechanic lookalike to promote lube superiority. Colgate for long used man in doctor’s uniform to amplify the brand’s superiority.

Differentiation effect: commodities suffer from lack of differentiation due product similarity. For instance, salt and battery cells may be identical in their construction. In such cases, the presenter or celebrity used in brand’s communication may become the only differentiating attribute. For instance, in honey market, both Dabur and Patanjali claim their honey to be pure and natural. In such a situation, the differentiating attribute between two brands is Amitabh and Baba Ramdev.

Why do endorsers command high prices? What sits at the core of their price is their ability to influence awareness, attitude and behavior. Their power relies on a complex and subtle process by which inference is drawn by consumers themselves. Advertisers ensure that facts are not misrepresented by knowing or unknowingly. It is this behavior of drawing conclusions (we didn’t say that you concluded yourself) insulates brands from being legally charged. Consider, all the surrogate ads like Carlsberg (glasses) or Bacardi (music) technically do not promote liquor but liquor gets promoted, glamorized and desired. In this context, the communication industry cannot be regulated by law entirely. The only option is conscience. But conscience often gets defeated by wealth.

Aamir, Amitabh, Incredible India & Borrowing Success

  • ‘Amitabh Bachchan perfect choice for ‘Incredible India’ campaign: B-town (The Indian Express).
  • ‘Amitabh Bachchan is new ambassador of Incredible India campaign’ (India Today)
  • ‘Amitabh, Priyanka are new Incredible India brand ambassadors ‘(The Hindustan Times)

The above are some of the headlines that reported the change of brand ambassador for the ‘Incredible India’ campaign.  The Tourism Ministry has ended its contract with Aamir Khan who was the face and the voice of the campaign. Khan has had a long association with the campaign who was suddenly removed as spokesperson for ‘Incredible India’ for allegedly making intolerance remarks.

Brands get celebrities or other type of endorsers to speak for them. It is a common strategy and change of spokesperson is also common. For instance, SRK currently speaks for Big Basket, D’ Decor, Dish TV, Nerolac and Mahagun. Ranbir Kapoor featured in ads of Panasonic, Pepsi, Tag Heuer and Ask Me. Even ‘common man’ is also used by brands to influence consumers. One of the most iconic endorsements of this type has been that of ‘Lalita ji’ of Surf and Airtel’s current television ads employs ‘common girl’ to promote its services. It is also not uncommon for brands to change their endorsers. This change could be promoted by a variety of reasons including brand intending to adopt new positioning or endorser may get involved in some controversy like Tiger Woods  ( cheating scandal) and  Azharuddin (match fixing).

There are several reasons for brands to employ spokespersons. One of the straight gains for a brand is to ride on the popularity/awareness/recognition/popularity of the endorser (if celebrity).  Imagine Amitabh standing next to hair oil brand Navratana (‘thanda thanda cool..’). Besides celebrities can elicit good feelings/likeability because of their performance in their performance area (Sania Mirza, Sania Nehwal, Pierce Bronson, Ranbir Singh). Sometimes, endorsers are used to appeal to reason by appealing to thinking and reasoning. Consider figures like doctors (Sansodyne, Paradontex), hair expert (Sunsilk) and Nutritionist (Bournvita).  Endorsers often serve as role models and subtly inspire people to emulate them (slender image of Katrina and muscled up body of Salman).

Who is correct choice for ‘Incredible India’: Amitabh or Aamir. Important to the selection of spokesperson is ‘brand-endorser’ fit. The question is what is sought to be achieved by ‘Incredible India’ the campaign and who is target audience.  Is the idea to promote India within India or outside?  What contribution endorser is expected to make (recall, good feeling, appeal to reason or inspiration).  The purpose of the campaign is to attract foreign tourist on the promise of something ‘incredible’ that India offers. The synonyms of ‘Incredible’ include magnificent, wonderful, marvelous, and sublime.

To promote India on the promise of ‘incredibleness’ the core of the campaign has to be what magnificent India has to offer like monuments (The Taj, Charminar), festivals (Diwali, Holi), spirituality (Rishikesh, Himalayas), religious places (temples &churches), jungles and mountains. In this scheme of things what role do celebrity endorsers play? What incredibleness actors like Amitabh or Aamir would bring to an international audience? They are known to Indians therefore would contribute to influencing them by way of recall, inspiration and likeability but what contribution would they make to move audience from  affluent nations which contribute to world  tourism?

Celebrity endorsement is not a perfect substitute of creative ingenuity and thinking. Many however believe that the success of a star/sportsperson can be borrowed to fuel your own success. But that is not the case. The important question is to ask is what the brand seeks to achieve in its customer’s life and how does an endorser figure in this equation.

 

Stethoscope, Life Cycle, Relevance and Totem

There is no reason why such a common, old and ubiquitous instrument like Stethoscope should become a newsmaker. It is old (invented in 1816), standardized, pervasive and familiar. There is nothing to be told about this device. It is devoid of newsworthiness. But sadly, it has found space in newspapers for the reported reasons that it is soon going to be dead rendered obsolete by new technologies. The new devices like portable ultrasound machines offer greater score better on functional performance.

Creative destruction as proposed by Schumpeter in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (1942) is central to modern capitalist economies which create new and good through ‘the perennial gale of creative destruction’.  The new and better products arrive that improve the order of the day. It is through this process of creative destruction societies become productive and richer.  There are two sides of this process. The creation benefits some people but at the same time it ruins others by dismantling the existing order.  This applies everywhere. Consider how e-rickshaw hailed as ecofriendly solution to las mile connectivity benefits some and destroys the source of livelihood of the lowest   at the bottom of pyramid.

Like stethoscope, products in all industries have to bear the brunt of creative destruction.  There are people who think products like desktops, watches, and printed books would soon become artifacts of museums like LPs, VCRs, dial phones and CDs. The concept of obsolesce sits at the heat of this creative destruction. The products like LPs and VCRs work and work fine but they are not wanted by customers for new products meet their wants better. So the question arises what makes a product or service relevant?  Why do products cease to be wanted?

A product or service is wanted for the problem it helps customer get rid of. For instance, a fairness cream like Fair & Lovely allows customers to get rid of dark complexion and LED lamps allow customers to save on electricity consumption.  Why then some products continue to attract customers in spite of their diminished or ceased utility which caused them to come into existence? This happens because of shift in what sits at their core as implied value proposition. The product that R&D creates is veryoften different from what customer actually buys.  Products are creatures of physics and inhabit in physical space but what customers buy are mental constructions of which physical angle may just be one of many dimensions. This is where brands and branding begins. Many brands succeed and thrive by an act of subversion. The implicit purpose and logic is removed and substituted by something imagined (free floating signifier).

A product or service evolves into a psycho-social entity after its launch.  It may originate in a factory as ‘manufactured’ or ‘assembled’ (assembly of parts/components/ ingredients) but after its launch it becomes a part of social system as consequently its meaning gets extended beyond intended functions.  A product or brand has the following options to create relevance:

Functional: involves being relevant due to a product’s use or function for which it is designed. All Out drives mosquitoes away and Ujala gives clothes a cleaner hue.

Psychological: brands assume significance for psychological reasons. People feel better in the company of their brands and enjoy emotionally satisfying states.  J&J transforms new mothers into ‘the best mothers’; Axe does not allow people to ‘fade away’ in significance; Kellogg’s K Special give route instant admiration.

Social: brands assume significance by aiding people into playing social roles by becoming devices of social signification. They can subtly inform who you are and how you should be treated.  Visible products like cars (Mercedes or Jaguar) bestows owners a position of power and expects to be treated with respect and honor. Brands work by creating belonging and disassociation at the same time.

Stethoscope as product may lose out to its new challengers in terms of embedded functions like reading breathing sound, heart function and bowel sound but it may still continue to be relevant for psycho-social reasons. Socially it is a powerful communication device of medical profession. As long as doctors enjoy reputation of healers and life givers, stethoscope would continue to find takers for its signification role.  People continue to wear watches, especially Swiss made not for their virtue of telling better and accurate time but for their expressiveness (although mobile phones are used more for checking time).  Psychologically, stethoscope can give a sense of being in control and confident. By putting it around the neck, a doctor can forge a celestial link with heritage and spirit of medical profession.  It can potentially find role in a transformational ritual by which competent doctors are transformed into good doctors. If cultures and societies have totems why can’t stethoscope be?

Brand Positioning in Noodles Market

In a very pioneering move Nestle created instant noodles category in mid 1980s when they launched Maggi brand. Being the first mover the brand become category representative. To many people instant noodle is Maggi. It has become generic to the product category. Positioning is an important aspect of marketing strategy. Market segmentation is first step in strategy development. It is impossible for one marketing package to make sense to everybody. By dividing customer on the basis of their similarities, it becomes easier for a firm to decide where to direct its marketing efforts. This allows better allocation of finite marketing resources by maximizing efficiency and effectiveness.

Nestle also had a lot of options. The noodles market can be divided into different groups depending upon the choice of segmentation variable. For instance, there is domestic and professional segment for noodles. The market could be divided on the basis of age of consumer, r consumption quantity, geographic location and culinary treatment. Market segmentation is a matter of perception. There are people who look at the market the way everyone sees, whereas a limited few are able to uncover new customer groups who have not been uncovered by generally followed basis of segmentation. Nestle chose to target the children segment. Children frequently demand something to eat. Back then the market of snacks was not evolved. Therefore whenever mothers were pestered they were forced to provide home cooked snacks or light food like parantha, pulav, pakora, sandwich and vada

The next question was to decide upon its value proposition and positioning. How should the brand Maggi be placed in consumer’s mind? Essential to positioning was that Maggi must be perceived distinctively and of relevance to target market. Maggi was positioned as ‘fast to cook and good to eat’ 2 minutes noodles. It offered distinctive advantage to mothers in terms of ‘fast to cook’ proposition. The Maggi noodles unique formulation reduced the long grind involved in making traditional quick food. All that Maggi needed was two minutes boiling time and adding of a tasty masala called ‘taste maker’. For kids, the brand offered ‘good to eat’ proposition.

Maggi opened an entire new market for instant noodles. The next brand to arrive in the market was Top Ramen from Nissin. The challenge for the brand was how to position itself so that it could create a distinctive position. It tried to take at dig at Maggi by directly calling itself ‘ Smoodles’ or smooth noodles. It urged customers ‘Don’t be a noodle. Be a Smoodle’. The brand adopted product attribute based positioning and highlighted its smoothness.

Sensing the opportunity, HUL jumped the fray and entered the market with their Knorr brand. Knorr, originally a soups brand in HLL’s portfolio was extended to noodle category. Knorr Soupy Noodles also targeted the in home children market. It boasted of a unique product in instant category and aimed at combining the fund of noodles with the health and goodness of soups. The brand positioned itself as noodles with soup for children to satisfy the in between meals hunger pangs. The brand’s communication focuses on a situation where a child demands something to eat before dinner at about 7 o’ clock.

GSK the makers of Horlicks entered the instant noodles market with their Foodles brand. GSK continuing with health and nutrition platform created Foodles. The brand’s launch was based on research inputs that instant noodles were not considered healthy and serving them induced guilt in mothers. The key ingredient in instant noodles, maida or refined flour, was not as healthy as whole wheat. While the positions of convenience and taste were already occupied, Foodles sought to play the game on nutrition positioning. Foodles tried to break into the monopoly of Maggi with Foodles positioned as nutritious instant noodles. The company used its Horlicks brand as mother brand to support its noodles brand..

Homegrown cigarette giant studied the instant noodles market and discovered some ways to cut into Maggi’s dominance. Its studies found chinks in Maggi’s armour. Maggi came in rectangular shape. It needed to be broken into two pieces for placing it in the pot for boiling. Pots used in kitchens always come in round shape like frying pan and cookers. This broke noodles and rendered them small in length. Second, kids often do not eat the noodles immediately. Noodles are also taken to schools in tiffin. Maggi noodles if not eaten immediately tend to turn lumpy and soggy with time. They stick together which was not really a fun to eat. Maggi’s masala contributes major share to its sale.  ITC leveraged its skills and created two tasty variants to give customers a choice.  ITC extended its Sunfeast brand into instant noodles category by launching Yippee. Yippee was positioned as noodles for the curious kids as long noodles which can be played around with while eating. The brand communication very cleverly but subtly aimed to promote its unique points of differentiation as longer non sticky tasty noodles which are ‘play’ to eat.

A market is an evolving organic system. There are many other brands which wrestled for share in the instant noodle market. One of the innovative concepts was launched by Nissin Cup Noodles. The brand point of difference was its out of home access to noodles when kids are on a picnic or an adventure trek and need an escape from the cooking process however small.The other brands which operate at small scale are Ching’s Secret, Smith & Jones and Wai Wai noodles. Future Group competes with its Tasty Treat brand which is sold in its retail chains like Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar.  These brands are pushed through the retail and compete on price positioning.

The story of noodles shows positioning is not about product because instant noodle is an instant noodle. How it is converted into a consumer relevant and competitively different concept is the question.

Vision, Sight, Motivation, Big Hairy Audacious Goals and Arvind Kejriwal

Last evening in an interview Arnab Goswami tried to probe the reason why Arvind Kejriwal (AAP) seeks to achieve. And Arvind responded by saying that he/we are there to change the politics of this country. It is not just that Arvind Kejriwal but most of the other prominent AAP members generally repeat the same sentiment whenever they are asked about their reason for coming into existence. What do we get out this statement and what do we infer about their organization.

Most of the great firms are uniquely differentiated in terms of visionary leader and vision. Consider great firms like IBM, HP, Kellogg’s, J&J, Southwest, FedEx and Marriot.   In their book, Built to Last, Collin and Porras attempted to find out what makes the exceptional companies different form their counter parts.  According to them the visionary companies use BHAG’s (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) to motivate their people. Commitment to BHAG is critical; it is where rubber meets the road. The goals are perceived to be audacious by outsiders but not insiders who take up the challenge to achieve these. Like Kejriwal, leaders have self-belief that they can do what they have taken upon themselves to achieving. Consider Boeing’s decision to develop the 707 (they were not leader then) it was a BHAG and required huge commitment. GE ‘s vision statement read, ‘Be number 1 or number 2 in every market we serve and revolutionize this company to have speed and agility of a small enterprise’. It was a compelling idea clearly stated which propelled people into action.

The moon mission of the US achieved what it could primarily because of the motivational power of BHAG articulated by Kennedy,  “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal,
before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and
returning him safely to the earth.” Arvind’s statement about his reason for coming into politics is like a BHAG, clear compelling idea which has huge motivational force. Most organizations come into existence for some reason. But reasons differ in their motivational effects. Some simply get the people to work, some get the people to work better some get people to perform passionately with a sense of ownership and commitment. It is here one need to ponder over whether reason/vision strikes a chord with body, mind or soul. It is the soul connection that can only make a person to achieve extraordinary feat in ordinary situation. It is not the fear of reprimand that should guide behavior rather a sense of higher order achievement. It all depends on what mission a leader gives to its people to be a part of?

Voting is a job, a chore, a time consuming act. But to be a participant in transforming existing rotten political system into something just, equitable, corruption free is really a mission everyone would like to be a part of. It is like putting a man on the moon or to serve ‘rab de bande’ (people) by polishing shoes of devotees in a gurudwara. Consider how a menial job of cleaning shoes assumes higher order relevance and gives soul satisfaction in a place of worship. I am reminded of an anecdotal story of three mansions at the cathedral:

Three men were cutting granite from a large rock. The first one looked unhappy and restless and when he was asked what was he doing. He replied coldly that I was cutting the rock. The second one appeared to be little more engrossed in his job and was cutting the rock with more diligently. When inquired as to what he was doing, he responded by saying that I am cutting the stone out of the rock to make bricks for the wall. The third one who seemed to be engaged and appeared to be in love with what he was doing. Upon asking what he was doing, he replied that I am building a cathedral.  The moral of the story is that the job done by these men was the same but the attitude, emotion and passion differed depending upon what mission were these men perceived to be a part of.  

Cutting a stone or rock is less inspiring and lowest in the motivational force compared to constructing a wall but being part of a higher order mission of constructing a cathedral score on top. It is the job of the leader to give reason for doing a thing. When Arvind Kejriwal says that he or his party is here to change the politics or democracy of this country, he is giving an ordinary citizen to become part of an extraordinary mission.

The results of Delhi’s elections demonstrate the power of vision and mission

BJP, Congress, AAP and their Brand Propositions in Delhi

Every brand makes proposition. But proposition making process is not simple as it may appear. For many strategists a proposition is equal to sloganeering and some take it as an opportunity to release their creative juices. Some marketing minds assume more is better/effective and hence end up linking their brands with many (too many) and conflicting propositions. Strategists also fail to appreciate the difference between their jobs as creator/designer which is essentially is high cognitive state and consumers’ state is usually passive or inactive. Brand propositions can touch chords which may range from lower to higher end.

Crucial to designing a proposition is that that it must end up motivating prospects/customers into desired behaviors. Proposition must clearly signify what a brand offers in terms of attribute, benefits and values. Most successful brands singularly stand for something which has high resonance value and it also stands the brand apart from others in the fray. People often equate brand proposition with unique selling proposition. Propositions differ in their extent of connection development. Consider the following:

  • AAP’s proposition is anticorruption or honest government (Swaraj)
  • Congress: development, basically infrastructure or material development
  • BJP: unclear message- vegetable prices, electricity prices, ‘sewak’, development.

 

Let us test the effectiveness of these propositions.

Clarity- clearly AAP and Congress score over BJP for it is not clear what their core proposition is to their voters. This has resulted from inconsistency of messages and their lack of convergence on to broad theme.

Level: how do these propositions stack up in their hierarchical ordering-lower level/tactical to higher order value? The value embedded in AAP’s proposition appeals to soul or high order existence. It allows you to be a part of a great national transformation. It taps into the need to achieve high order consciousness. Congress’s proposition appeals to material wellbeing. BJP’s discourse on price of vegetable and electricity does not go beyond daily mundane existence. Consider the brilliance of AAP’s proposition, it promises clean governance and once that happens the infrastructure and price rise will automatically get in line.

Connection: brands become powerful when they develop emotional connections with their audience. Explore how powerful is the promise of honest governance and what impact do white caps have when they announce, ‘mujhe swaraj chaheye’.  Symbolically they invite everyone who has been victim of corruption (probably everyone) to join the second battle for the country. You are reminded of Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Azad, Shastri, and others who sacrificed not aggrandized. AAP seems to be giving ordinary people an extraordinary opportunity to contribute to nation building. It has positioned itself as a movement against the establishment. It is Pepsi in Delhi’s political scene, antiestablishment, rebel, and challenger.  

Congress’s development platform invites negative emotions for flyovers, cluster buses and roads are not the perfect substitute for high inflation in commodities of everyday consumption. The happy faces in ads do not resonate with sad faces of real people who are bitten by inflation. They invite strong counter arguments. In Delhi BJP’s campaign lacks focus and appeal and hence a diffused and suffers from ambiguity. Consequently it fails to hook up an emotional connection with people who are either fall into the category of ‘indifferent’ or ‘swingers’. It is these people who are likely to be the kingmakers this time.

Political strategists often fail to target their campaigns at people who matter- swingers and indifferent- instead create campaigns for those who are already their loyalists. It must be understood that campaigns are designed by loyalists but not for loyalists.