As I write this first post I am aware that reams of newsprint and hours of footage have already been dedicated to the meteoric rise of the Aam Aadmi Party. With all due respect to the haloed first mover advantage, I shall regardless, endeavour to present a marketers take on how the story has unfolded.
So without much ado here are some tips (no postulation here,just pulling a bookmark out of some dusty marketing books) for gaining sweeping popularity from a brand perspective.
INSIGHT, INSIGHT, INSIGHT
Like Vidya Balan in The Dirty Picture said “Filmein sirf teen cheezon ki wajah se chalti hain. Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment” and just like countless marketers before me have said, successful brands are built on insights. Big deal!
Yes! It is a big deal! Rare are the examples in Indian political history wherein we have had political brands being built and launched. Hitherto, political brands (parties and personalities alike) have been a resultant of situations not necessarily designed or controlled in any measure. Brands by chance.
AAP is a brand that has been carefully built. Brand AAP has effectively utilised all available platforms media or otherwise. The new age Congress and the BJP are no less savvy with PR doctors at disposal round the clock to feed the hungry new electorate. Why then did they fail to capture the imagination of people? The difference was Insight.
“People believe that they have the power, albeit dormant, within themselves to change the course of history”. From Gandhi to Mandela, successful movements have tapped into and worked with this insight.
OK! but what is to say that it was a careful construction unlike others? A quick point on that before we move on. This marketer is of the view that the ways and methods that AAP deployed on the ground (read activation plan) run true with and indicate the insight
being put to work. Starting with the largely volunteer based cadre, to the need based cadre expansion during the 2 days leading upto the elections.
AIM DEAD-CENTER: STAYING TRUE TO THE CORE
The continuous conversations with the middle class was again a clever tactic; while their opponents kept discounting it as a middle heavy strategy it proved to be one of the reasons for their electoral success.
“The Great Indian Middle Class” much abused in many a marketing presentations as the drivers of the consumption economy, fit perfectly into the AAP scheme of things.
Here’s where the insight resonated best. With the understanding, access, proximity and numbers to spread the message up and down the social ladder they became the prime movers. The middle class were the perfect influencers. They spread the word amongst the peer-group through endless conversations in their social gatherings and the armchair critics suddenly turned into evangelists. The lower income group who through ages of degradation in electoral politics were always lured, were suddenly having a conversation with their “sahab” and “memsaabs” on mehangai and were seeing a glimmer of hope and a feeling somewhere that they too had a say. The big-wigs ofcourse were getting guilt tripped since “Who has the time to vote?” and “Nothings going to change..” were not cool anymore.
Moral of the story stay true to the core, there’s nothing better than bulls-eye. So much for the Core TG, Consumption TG, Business TG theorists.
SUCCESS-BELIEF VIRTUOUS CYCLE
There are 2 characteristics that the best Generals in history have displayed.
1) They invariably have a clear vision of what success will look like and have articulated it and
2) Regardless of the situation, they always project success to be within reach and a matter of when and not if.
Belief and success are companions. AAP throughout its campaign painted success as imminent. The others did so to, but did not bring the same strength of conviction. Some faltered in word, others in deed. What AAP did better was describe success better? True their manifesto was as populist in its construct, the benefit however that AAP portrayed for all to see was a virtuous one; the passing of the much debated and controversial Lokpal bill in a public session of the assembly. A benefit that re-emphasized the insight “I can make a change”.
Regardless of what transpires politically, brand AAP has had a good launch and should they continue building on their insights about the “Aam Aadmi”,they will move the brand into the much desired “loyalty” space with the common man saying Amen!