Guest Article: Shruti Bajpai: Branding lessons from politics

By Shruti Bajpai , New Delhi | In Marketing | June 04, 2014
A few marketing lessons that are to be learnt from the Indian General Election results.

The Indian General Election results have unleashed a frenzy of articles on the power of branding from the marketing fraternity. There are marketing lessons to be learnt, strategies to be re-written, all drawing from the success story of the saffron sweep. After all, one can't dispute the power of wisdom that rides on hindsight!

Some branding recommendations that brand managers could consider:

Shruti Bajpai

1) Exponentially increase digital and social media spends. If digital media was the game-changer for the BJP it simply has to be the all-potent element in your marketing strategy. Pay little heed to factors such as brand relevance, market landscape or the efficacy of the medium. Tweet, post, chat, upload, go viral, share all you can.

2) Use rhyming lingo for brand taglines. 'Ab Ki Baar Modi Sarkar' worked wonders for BJP, there is no reason for it to not work for your brand. Think local, think regional, the simpler the words, the greater the impact. You can even go Hinglish or Tamlish and merrily plagiarize half of the BJP tagline to create your own slogan. A telco brand can launch unlimited talk time under "Ab ki bar, talk time ki bahaar" "Naya soap bar, freshness ki bauchar" can go well for new soap launches.

3) Use your brand logo as a fashion accessory. The BJP party symbol, lotus, in all its glory, became the most visible element of team BJP's sartorial sensibility. Marketers will do well to proudly sport their brand logos in their daily office wear. Get creative and start a fashion line pairing brand launches with a new line of matching office wear accessories.

4) Compose a corporate anthem. Spend a large chunk of your digital media budget to make sure the anthem is "viral worthy". Get your unsuspecting employees to sing it every morning once they come to work. The anthem can serve the dual purpose of building corporate goodwill as well as enhancing employee motivation.

5) Use hologram technology. Start a series of ground level brand activation events. Let 3D avatars of brand ambassadors lose on unsuspecting consumers at different touch points and hotspots, malls, cafes, airports. This much hyped new technology can also prove beneficial for holding impromptu branch discussions and distributor meets.

6) Start Chai Par Charchas. Transform your routine brand sampling activities into "chai par charcha" exercises. Whether you are an instant noodle brand (2-minute charcha) or a soft drinks brand (cola charcha), your charchas are sure to create an impact. You could also start your own version of spontaneous charchas in office cafeterias. Free tea and lots of charcha go a long way to build employee engagement.

7) Chose your battle ground. Operate in an environment where the competitors are either too weak, or have been consistently losing market share. Even better if they don't have credible leadership or are just about in the launch stage and are blissfully clueless. Your brand can herald the start of "achchey din" while your competitors fade into self destruction.

Shruti Bajpai is an international media consultant and the former country head of HBO South Asia.

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