Before the shrill chatter of Elections 2019 fade out over the next week, as a communications and PR professional I can only, but make note of the plentitude of learnings the ‘Modi Sarkar’ has taught on what it really takes to build strong brands and run sustained, effective PR campaigns.
PR has been redefined-The Modi Way, ushering in a new era in Political PR and paving the way for larger than life, popular mass brands to be built, in a globally connected, digital world.
After witnessing the sweeping results by the BJP yesterday, it will not be wrong to say that a single man has in a short span of the last 5 years, gained the unequivocal and unanimous support of not only the world’s largest political party, but almost the whole of the world’s second largest democracy!
Here are my observations on five what I would call basics, but still great lessons for all organisations and brand marketers to learn, just in the manner and rigour with which it was followed and executed through.
Staying focused on your narrative will garner attention. Remaining rooted to the vision you stand for, your objectives and positive messaging, without being deterred by distractors is the biggest learning for organisations and brands. Modi seemed to know this throughout. The opposition utilized every opportunity to take pot-shots, targeting Modi. Never once did he let that come in the way of his focus on what he had to do to get his party candidates to win.
MAKE IT SIMPLE AND EASY TO RELATE TO
Where you are, what are you up to, what are you doing, what’s on your mind. Keep talking to your followers and remain transparent. PR is all about COMMUNICATION with the audience. Did Modi do this effectively? Undoubtedly. The “I am here in this city addressing a rally. See for yourself the huge turnout” “I am in a cave meditating” or even the humble festive greetings made the masses relate to him at a more humane level, enabling him build on the loyalty.
The 2019 election witnessed a marked shift from the 2014 one – from development to giving the country a unique and distinct identity with Modi as builder and protector of the narrative. And the trump card to this was the Nationalist plank. Interestingly, every member of the cadre cascaded the message to the grass-root level.
CAMPAIGNS & SLOGANS TO ATTRACT PUBLIC ATTENTION
The “chowkidar” campaign was a masterstroke to the builder and protector NARRATIVE; a reflection of what the masses want, a powerful symbol to safeguard India from the evils of casteism, communalism and corruption. Within minutes, an army of chowkidars emerged – a clear alignment to the chief chowkidar’s vision - “within each one of us lies the responsibility to build a safe India”. The powerful influence of Bollywood stars on India’s masses is well established. A first ever apolitical, ‘know the personal side of me’ interview by a leader in the country’s highest Prime Minister office, hosted by Akshay Kumar, among Bollywood’s leading heroes, known for his recent roles creating awareness of public interest and national issues- could there have been any better strategy to win people’s hearts right in the midst of the elections? Needless to mention slogans & packaged programmes like ‘Modi Hai to Mumkin Hai’ ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’, ‘Make In India’, etc. helped build larger interest and attention on even small initiatives.
As much the Modi Government was accused of owning media and controlling the messaging, the Modi Government probably communicated the most! A healthy mix of platforms catering to cast and diverse sections of India, peppered with the right message and consistency increased mass appeal for Modi. The decision on which medium to use for who, how, when and where is not easy to come up. Modi seemed extremely adept at it and did it with finesse.
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL!
It is said, “If all the right elements work in tandem, the effect can only be breathtaking”. The result is in front of us. The writing on the wall is loud and clear. The Modi wave has swept the nation off its feet sending many scurrying for cover. The Modi way, without doubt, makes for a case study on how to build a larger-than-life brand and have the masses echo the same.