How to shrink BJP? Forgotten lessons in marketing: Balancing customer and competitor orientation

Newspapers and television channels have used several expressions to describe the debacle of BJP in national capital. The newcomer, AAP won 67 seats (seats in 2013) and BJP, the ruling party at the Centre shrunk to 3 from a near majority number of 32 seats in 2013 elections. And the grand old party Congress, failed to even open an account.  It is a quite shocking result for a party which scored victories on all the seven seats in last Lok Sabha elections in 2014. The Indian political landscape has been subtly undergoing a profound change. Although for the political strategists and stalwarts who are generally soaked in bias and operate from rooms covered with thinking consistent posters, artifacts, slogans and people mostly fail to recognize change. I will use the expression used by Ted Levitt to say that they ‘look into mirror instead of looking out of window’.  The constructed environment acts to reinforce and strengthen beliefs however misplaced they are. Looking out of the window is the way to develop strategy closer to ground.

The marketing orientation is one of the superior philosophies of running a business enterprise. It commands that business must cultivate mindset, structure, processes and strategies which aim to satisfying customer needs and wants better than competition. It subordinates the enterprise to the will of the market. It establishes the instrumentality of business as means of making the lives of target consumers better. Accordingly what is right or correct for a business is articulated from consumer’s point of view not from that of managers. Jaworski and Kohli distill it as organization wide dissemination of market intelligence about customer needs and wants and responding to it. The idea is to generate superior value for consumers as compared to competitors.

The failure of BJP in Delhi elections is manifestation of its failure in promising a product/value that was in sync with target customers and better than its rivals (AAP). But then, the same BJP won all seats in national elections last year. What explains this? The BJP’s success in national election was primarily due to deftly executed brand repositioning based on demographic shift (younger population or now generation). The brand BJP was emptied of its meaning as saffron party and it was given a new meaning. It fought elections on the plank of ‘growth, governance and inclusion’ (‘sab ka saath, sab ka vikas’). Its governance agenda usurped anti-corruption and Modi’s performance in Gujarat lent it credibility in perception notwithstanding its fact based criticism.

But than what happened in Delhi? This can be explained with two aspects of market orientation: customer orientation and competitor orientation.

Customer orientation: implies keeping an unwavering focus on evolving customer needs and wants and developing responses to meet them effectively. Delhi, although it is same physical place with same inhabitants but competitive reality in these two elections has not been the same.  In terms of consumer choice, the consideration set in national election was made of primarily two brands- BJP (with governance, inclusion and strong spokesperson) and Congress (riddled in corruption, lack of leadership). The frustration with Congress and carefully executed election strategy (inclusion and governance) of BJP lead people to vote for the latter. What happens when you try out a brand with enthusiasm and brand fails live up to your expectations? You look for a change. Remember the young voters which swung in favor of BJP in national elections shifted to AAP (Congress lost its status as alternative) because the discourse in media (easy to spread) shifted back to saffron (love jihad, conversions and reconversion, attack on church and jibe by some MPs).  It may have been satisfactory for inelastic hard core BJP supporters but it was certainly disappointment for new rational and discriminating younger class.

Further, BJP strategists failed in recognizing the shift of people or shall we say customer migration that happens when an existing brand is perceived to be near end (Congress).  There was huge opportunity for BJP to win Muslim voters. The beginning of a shift to BJP of this population was nipped in the bud by BJP itself when some of its leaders assumed center stage on media on triggered debates away from inclusion and development.  So when a car brand like Ford recalls its cars due to some flaw it is natural for its customer to look for alternative in Toyota or Hyundai. It is a huge mistake if one does not read this as an opportunity.

 Competitor orientation: it implies a mindset when a firm keeps its competitors (analysis of their strategies, strengths and weaknesses) in the center of its strategy development process and takes upon itself to beat them at all costs. It is aggressive and reactionary mode of operation. Often this comes at the cost of ignoring customers. Beating the competition is not the mission of any business. It assumes significance when competitors come in the way of reaching out to customers. Being obsessed with competitors is sure recipe for a disaster.

BJP’s strategy in Delhi was entirely driven by competitor orientation.  Its campaign focused on AAP leader in aggressive and personal manner. Consider the words like ‘upadravi’, ‘thief’, ‘monkey’, ‘toxic’, ‘liar’ and ‘anarchist’ in its campaign in outmaneuvering Kejriwal. Further, its radio campaign which tried to paint Kejriwal in poor light on the message like ‘bhagoda’ was irrelevant for the voter.

Customers and competitors are two important constituencies of the market. Both need to be given due attention and balanced. BJP‘s failure in Delhi is attributable to getting obsessed in beating the rival at all cost.

Kejriwal, AAP, Intellectual disconnect, Emotional commitment, Brand resonance and Cognitive dissonance

In a recent interview, Arvind Kejriwal in response to a question said; ‘people have emotional tie with us but there may be intellectual disconnect’, Times of India, Feb 18, 2014, p. 4

Is there any connection between this simplistic observation and power brands? Brands become powerful when they exert influence over their consumers. Power refers to the capacity or ability of somebody to influence the behavior of others. The competitive forces act to reduce power of the players by ensuring abundance and parity through the process of free entry and dissemination of know how. High competition makes players price takers not makers.
Marketing strategy is often directed as reversing this powerlessness by brand building. Brands seek to acquire power by building positive discrimination by forging connections with consumers based on utility and imagery. Brands gain strength by developing identities that enjoy strong resonance which translate into high price, commitment and insulation from competition. The brand resonance pyramid model depicts routes to resonance going through two paths- performance and imagery. At the bottom sits the brand salience. Salience implies whether the brand is thought about by consumers at the right place and right time. Coke would want to be remembered any time and any place when one feels thirsty. How easily a brand is evoked which is principally is governed by awareness (recall and recognition). On top of salience is identity which answers the question what are you: in terms of brand performance and imagery.
Brand performance refers to the product aspect of brand which embodies functionality. How does a brand satisfy functional/economic needs? These stem from intrinsic product properties like a car’s reliability, durability, and efficiency. The other corresponding side to performance is imagery which refers to the extrinsic/ abstract/ intangible aspect of brand. Imagery is route to social and psychological satisfaction. Imagery includes user image in demographic and psychographic terms (BMW-achiever, Marlboro- masculine, independent, Pepsi-young, rebel), use situation or occasion (Tiffany- gift) and history (Rolex/Burberry-heritage).
Further up on the third layer is referred to as brand response- how consumers judge the brand. Brands can be judged with heads or/and hearts. Brand performance is a matter of head (rational and evaluative thinking)-quality, credibility and superiority (how does Samsung Galaxy compare with Apple in terms of operating ease, battery life, ease of operation- POP and POD). Brand imagery, on the other hand evokes feelings. These comprise emotional response of consumer-feeling of joy and cheer (Coke, Pepsi), warmth, security (LIC), excitement (Nescafe- come alive with Nescafe), social approval or appreciation (Fair n Lovely, Louis Vuitton), self respect (HDFC Life) and pride (Prius).
On the peak of the pyramid sits brand resonance– what kind of relationship doe the brand creates with its consumers. Consumers may exhibit deeper sense of engagement (willingness to spend time, money and energy into brand- this was seen in AAP’s case) or at a little lesser level consumers may be emotionally attached (mothers love J&J products or Apple user love their brand). Brand resonance at the minimum level shows in repeat buying (minus attachment) by consumers who can shift to other brands easily.
What does Arvind Kejriwal’s statement hold in terms of AAP brand? Intellectual disagreement corresponds with performance dimension and emotional commitment is about the feeling aspect of brand. Consider a customer’s response to Rolex. He identifies with its prestige and achievement symbolism but does not like its high price. This is a situation when the mind is in fight with heart or left brain wages a war against right brain. Who is likely to prevail? Leon Festinger developed the theory of cognitive dissonance. It arises when two cognitions held by a person do not fit well, that is one is in friction with other. For instance, a person may have voted for AAP (+liking) but feels against (-) Kejriwal’s dharrna or resignation. This produces tension and one looks for ways to get out this state.
But what is likely to happen when emotions clash with reason? Strong brands often take emotional route to gaining strength. They take a jump over consumer’s reason or cognition to develop emotional connections. ‘Emotions matter because if we did not have them nothing else would matter’ (Elster). Emotions are tied to values or something that matters to somebody. Strong brands manage to create inelastic demand by restricting the role of thinking mind. This is the reason why some brands manage to charge premium and their consumers go out of their way to buy them. Zajonc suggests that emotion is a separate processing system and also the primary influence in development of preference. It often precedes cognition.
Kejriwal’s statement is profound. People who feel strongly about AAP are unlikely to be affected by what happened in AAP government’s time. The heart is likely to prevail upon head. The intellectual differences would fade away but emotional connection is likely to stay.

Jan Lokpal, Resignation, Middleclass, Enchantment or Disenchantment

Arvind Kejriwal ‘s resignation over his not being able to table the anti-corruption Jan Lokpal Bill in the state legislature has sparked speculation about erosion of his support base. Both the BJP and the Congress legislatures were very visible on media in their vociferous attempts to block AAP’s efforts to get the Bill approved. All the three parties played out their strategies guided by their intentions to create right effect on electorate.  The Congress and the BJP defended their actions on the grounds of constitutional violation of the Bill’s direct introduction but expressed support to the idea of establishing  anti-corruption ombudsman. AAP accused both the national parties of collusion to thwart their attempts to get the Bill approved.

 

After 49 days of AAP’s rule in the capital and Kejriwal’s resignation, two extreme kinds of opinions seem to be circulating. Some believe that AAP’s support base would increase and they are likely to perform better in Delhi and it will establish firmly in forthcoming Lok Sabha elections by leveraging the anti-corruption sentiment.  However there are also people who believe that the Kejriwal’s 49 days of power has damaged his support base, especially the middle class voters (thinking voters) for his dharna, populist moves and now resignation.

How would these unfolding of event affect voter behavior? These events are unlikely to have any significant effect on hard core supporters of both the national parties (brand loyal). It is because their perception of reality is filtered through commitment to the ideas and ideals of the parties of their choice.  Hence the core constituencies of the Congress and the BJP will see CM’s resignation going in their favor, a bias created by perceptual mechanism (perceptual defense, distortion and filtration). They would end up picking that portion of reality which supports and reinforces their initial attitude/ liking for their political brand.  That is the reason why, the argument is raised so vociferously against AAP for violating constitutional procedure. The point of constitutional invalidity is likely to resonate well with loyalist of both the Congress and the BJP for its congruence with their initial attitude (you see what you want to see).

AAP has carved out its voters from support base of both the national parties.  How is the CM’s resignation likely to influence them? Heider’s  Balance theory can provide some insights here.  He distinguished between two types of relations between separate entities (e.g. attribute-high calories, brand-Pepsi and consumer): unit and sentiment relations.  Separate entities become a cognitive unit when they are perceived as belonging together like Abhishek and Amitabh or Suffola and heart and now AAP and anticorruption. Sentiment connection or relation indicates feeling or valuation that someone gives to an entity (positive or negative feelings towards Amitabh and Abhishek).  

A balance state for a person is when relations among the entities fit harmoniously fit together.  For instance, if I like (+) Amitabh and I don’t like (-) Abhishek and both are perceived as a unit (+), this is an imbalanced state.  Imbalanced states are stressful and cause friction. Therefore it will push me for moving towards balanced state by some mental (further thinking) and physical effort.  Thus Kejriwal’s resignation over Jan Lokpal Bill is unlikely to create erosion for people who see anti-corruption and Kejriwal or AAP as one unit (+) for they will have positive sentiment towards the both Kejriwal (+) and Jan Lokpal (+).  But if these event have altered the unity between Kejriwal and anti-corruption (-), he may be seen as wanting to become PM or escapist or populist or regressive (new unity between Kejriwal and escapist/populist etc, it would subtly produce tensions and people would move towards achieving a balanced state by revising their attitude towards AAP. This is likely to result in erosion of AAP’s voter base.

The strategy therefor for Kejriwal is to not this unity not get diluted. This is the reason why he has resigned as Delhi’s CM. Secondly do not let the issue of corruption move out of the center of the national debate in coming elections.

What should BJP camp do in this situation? Mounting attacks on Kejriwal is likely to make his brand stronger for he has preempted and appropriated the issue of anti-corruption singularly. The issue of corruption can only be decentered by not attacking AAP (it will create negative sentiment against the attacker).Rather place a bigger issue next to anti-corruption in voters’ perception which will create dwarfing effect.  BJP is right in focusing on growth and governance but it must avoid attacks on AAP for it path to majority in Parliament goes though AAP’s voter base.

AAP, Symbols, Subconscious Meaning and Somatic Markers

What best explains overwhelming response to AAP. How people respond is caused by many factors. Although providing the explanation to one’s behavior is generally the job of the conscious and the reason but it is not all. A lot of thing remain outside the realm of reason but have influence behavior profoundly. Long back Descartes made a proclamation, ‘I think, therefore I am’. Science for long pursued the path of reason to explain behaviors by concentrating on cognitive side brain and ignoring the emotions.

But neurologist Atonio Damasio challenged the old ideas about the connection between reason and emotion. He claimed that emotions are integral to rational thinking and normal to social behavior. They are the source of a person’s true being. The dichotomization between body and mind, and reason and emotion proposed by Descartes was an error. Emotions and body guide the human rationality and thinking. In many cases our reactions are almost automatic- these can be called gut level reactions. These gut level reactions are called ‘somatic markers’ by Damasio and these cause us to behave almost automatically in an instant. So quite contrary to our notion that thinking drives our preference, it is emotions and feelings that assume the charge. The somatic markers add bias and fasten our decision making in complex situations.

Cognitive/ rational/ economic school proposes that humans make decisions rationally uninfluenced by emotions by performing cost/benefit analysis. This model assumes that a person is capable in terms of time, knowledge, mathematics to arrive at optimal decision. But his is hardly possible. It is here, emotions assume driver’s role and help us in negotiating complex and uncertain situation. Imagine making choices between parties/candidates in political arena-these are complex and conflicting choices.    It may not be possible to make decisions based on only reason or cognition. It is here somatic markers come to our rescue and help in decision making.  The somatic markers are associations between reinforcing stimuli that induce an affective/emotional state and cause bias.

In response to a stimuli the body/ physiological (muscle tone, heart rate, facial expression, endocrine release) changes are conveyed to brain where they are converted into emotions. For instance, sight of a lion would create pounding of heart and that would create feeling of fear. With time, the emotions and corresponding bodily changes become linked with particular situation. Thus when a person is thrown into a situation of decision making in future, these connections between physiological signals or somatic markers and corresponding emotions gets activated which causes people to approach or avoid certain behaviors. So when in a certain situation somatic markers are associated with positive emotions, a positive bias is added. Consider what somatic markers are associated with when one happens to see a politician (prototypical politician is dressed in white kurta-payjama, surrounded by musclemen either hired or in khaki, car with red beacon, arrogant demeanor, rings on the fingers etc)- given the track record of political class in India the physiological response and corresponding emotions are anger, frustration, dislike and hate.

Now consider how the members of AAP by dissociating with the politician by profession (not statesmen) have managed to avoid negative emotions. The people from AAP are very ordinary, minus all the symbols that the political class in India has come to be associated with.   The outcome of this is that they activate emotions that subconsciously trigger people to approach not avoid AAP and its leaders.

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

Arvind Kejriwal, Aam Aadmi Party, Guerilla, Repositioning the Competition- Congress & BJP

It is not uncommon in marketing to come across cases in marketing that resemble with Delhi’s politics. Most markets are dominated by two or three dominant players who together enjoy shares close to three quarter of total market. In their book ‘The Rule of Three’, Sheth and Sisodia explain the dominance of this phenomenon across industries. Consider PC operating system- Microsoft, iOS, Linux; browser- Google, Microsoft, Mozilla;  beer-Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Coors/Stroh) and  batteries-Duracell, Energizer, Rayovac. The political market in Delhi has been dominated by two brands- the Congress and the BJP. These parties are have long standing history, experience, presence, resources and above all known leaders with dedicated following. These forces at play favor the insiders and put any new entrant to severe disadvantage.

 

How does one play out in this situation of predicament? The literature on war and their application in marketing spell out strategic options. Pepsi battles with Coke, Energizer wrestles with Duracell and BJP combats with Congress. It is not unusual to see two dominant companies or brands engaged dual in which the leader’s strategies are motivated by a design to retain and maintain its position. The aggressor on the other hand deploys its mind and materials to steal share form the leader. Broadly the leader’s strategy falls under the rubric of defense- protection of share against potential attack from challenger (flank defense, preemptive defense and counter defense). For its Coke or HUL lever try to cover all their flanks (segments- consider bathing bars of Lever), preempt possible assault (Surf Excel and Lifebuoy hand wash preempted launch of Airel and Dettol hand wash), counter defense (counter offensive by Fair & Lovely for Men against Fair and Handsome , Clear antidandruff shampoo against Head & Shoulders).  

 

The second player enjoys status of a challenger or aggressor (BJP) and its strategy is that of an attacker-to hit the leader and steal market (voter). Broadly the strategic options available to an attacker include head on attack (bloody strategy requires preparedness to sacrifice and withstand loss). This is not recommended especially if warfare is psychological. It is extremely difficult to convince a Congress committed voter to shift loyalty. The second option is to launch attack on position that is weakly defended (flank- force concentration against vulnerable points). In this case it could be some minority, religious or occupation groups. The leader can be overwhelmed into losing control by ‘encirclement’ offense. This requires attack by deploying all kinds of ammunition to all sides- grand offensive. Titan at the time of its launch overwhelmed then leader HMT by launching huge variety, advertising, distribution, price points, and service guarantee. The pockets of voters like the Sikhs or urban slum dwellers offer scope for encirclement. Another option is to ‘bypass’ the leader in a unattended or latent market. The so called ‘indifferent’ voters or people who do not figure in the current agenda of the leader become possible targets. The young first time voter was one such segment but challenger BJP has not been able to target with ‘specific’ manoeuvers.

 

What options do AAP has in its kitty. It lacks ware withal that of a challenger. It is new, resource deficient; lacks experience and above all its leaders are new. One is reminded of a war between unequal in Vietnam. There is no way Vietnam could have countered the US’s sophisticated, big and able force. The challenger or aggressor options just did not exist for Vietnam. So what did it do? A close striking resemble exists between the AAP and Vietnam. If you go head on you will get decimated in no time by launching an attack on strengths (Congress’s) – entitlement, secularism, heritage. The big flanks are guarded (minorities, marginalized groups) and small ones will not give any benefit. So what do you do?

 

The US was humbled in Vietnam by not matching strengths against strengths or strengths against weakness. The strategy subtly altered the way a battle is fought. A battle is usually fought with arms on a given space but in Vietnam, Vietnamese changed coordinates to a place where the US forces’ strengths became weakness and then they played out what is called guerilla warfare. The AAP has managed to change the discourse on which the forthcoming elections are likely to be fought- corruption (both dominant parties on this space get humbled for their corruption stories), experience (redefined by AAP as experience in misgovernance/ corruption), resources (muscle power to mind power- social media, visible caps,  flash mobs and direct connect). And the most important tool in the arsenal of a guerilla is ‘surprise’- attack and vanish strategy. AAP party launches selective and localized attacks to their fullest advantage- electricity bills, demonstrations in favor of victims of any kind, women security, protest against rapists, targeting auto drivers.  

 

The discourse introduced by AAP and putting it in the center of electoral agenda- corruption and misgovernance- has dragged two of the dominant players into a court where their firearms and strengths prima facie appear diminished. The competition stands repositioned in favor of AAP in marketing terms.   

 

Politics, Involvement, Brand Kejriwal and IAC

One of the reasons why undeserving candidates get elected to Parliament is the attitude of indifference towards politics. In branding terms, this kind of reality is triggered when meaningful difference between brands ceases to exist. Hence it does not make any sense to waste cognitive resource on evaluation and selection (brand parity). Pulling out of decision process by supplanting the ‘thinking’ with ‘routine’ is a logical approach. Branding is all about achieving resonance through relevant differentiation. But most of the political brands appear to be devoid of meaningful differentiation and a large portion of citizens have ‘pulled out’ from the election process.  The consequent reality is low voting rate. This particularly is beneficial for the political class if parties scratch each other’s back.

Kejriwal and IAC’s contribution to political marketing is in the form of ‘disruption’ of the equilibrium. They have brought the issue of corruption at the centre of the political discourse. Corruption in politics has been taken for granted and hence had become a low involvement issue (all brands similar wrt to corruption). But by their aggressive and innovative approach they have managed to highlight corruption as one of the most important aspects in political brand selection process. Almost identical strategy was once used by Godrej in refrigerator market. Godrej sought and successfully managed to differentiate their brand on the platform of PUF (which was a common insulation used in fridge). The brand appropriated an attribute in consumer’s mind to achieve discrimination. The campaign’s focus was to pull customers back in to decision process and make them evaluate brand with a modified criteria.

People can be categorized on the basis of their involvement with politics. Majority is indifferent and has situational involvement (when the need arises or elections take place). The other group enjoys enduring involvement (as shown by high level of interest in product/ election).  People differ in their approach to handling problem depending upon their level of involvement. Involved people deliberate and process information extensively but people with lower level of involvement resort to short cut heuristics (in our case looks of candidate, name, and ease of recall). This is how bad candidates get elected because they escape scrutiny because of low involvement.

The campaign of IAC has triggered the interest (arousal) of this silent majority into politics by shifting people from ‘habit to decision making’. Now people are beginning to look at their affiliation with political brand with the new angle of corruption- which had become dormant.  The selection based on ‘peripheral’ aspects is getting replaced with critical evaluation (central route to persuasion).  This shift is good for Indian democracy.  When Indian electorate begins to discriminate political brand on the core aspects then only good people would make it to the Parliament.  People are encouraged to think hard about their selection of political brands.

In a situation of equilibrium based on product parity, the best strategy for an entrant is to ‘disrupt’ consumer cognitive frame. IAC has done precisely that. People are taking a look at politics, politicians and political brands in new manner.  By this shift from ‘habit to decision making’ IAC has managed to ‘cut through the clutter’ and carve out a position for itself.

Good or bad, that’s debatable.  Now political parties whether like it or do not like IAC, they just can’t afford to ignore it.