The making of Brand Aam Aadmi Party

09 Dec,2013

 

By A Correspondent

 

Lloyd Mathias

Marketing, brand and digital specialists from the national capital region attribute the success of Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party to a well-orchestrated media campaign. “For a party to come in from nowhere and secure around 30 percent voteshare in around one year is phenomenal,” said Lloyd Mathias, senior marketer and Director, GreenBean Ventures. “While the party employed digital media very effectively, a traditional symbol like the ‘Gandhi topi’ which stands for an old world value like social change worked very well for it,” Mr Mathias added.

 

Mr Kejriwal’s tryst with the social media started with the Anna Hazare movement. But, according to Rajesh Lalwani, Founder and Principal, Blogworks, while the party may have started out with social networks like Twitter and Facebook, the sentiment could be seen on the ground. “Clearly, Arvind Kejriwal would not have been able to achieve it without social media, but he truly energised the vote,” he said.

 

Rajesh Lalwani

According to Mr Lalwani, Aam Aadmi Party’s usage of the social media is what it should be – volunteer-driven as against paid-for and commissioned. “There were people visiting a rally, taking a picture and posting it.” Mr Mathias corroborates the view and believes on the digital media front, Mr Kejriwal & Co have been streets ahead.

 

From the brand and positioning point of view, Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner, Bang in the Middle, believes he saw the making of a classic brand in the party’s campaign,. “It gave what the audience demanded. Public angst was the platform on which AAP was conceived, built, fostered and now given a public thumbs up. The single-most characteristic that worked for them was honesty, along with humility and hope. If the people wanted democratic retribution and teach conniving politicians a lesson, this was the answer. Even the symbol of the party worked for it. The broom symbolised the cleansing that people ached for.”

 

What next for Mr Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party? Mr Mathias doesn’t dismiss this as a “flash in the pan”. “The whole of accepting donations online and sending a receipt instantly showcased their transparency and integrity”.

 

Says Mr Suthan: “I personally feel that the results are stunning. This has been like a dream debut. Congress, I suspect, knew what was coming. They were pretty lacklustre and the muted public reception was definitely underlining Delhi’s anti-incumbency echo. BJP certainly powered their way up, and I think they would be surprised too at the seats they gained in Delhi and the other states.”

 

Both Messrs Suthan and Mathias believe that it was the anger from the people that Mr Kejriwal and his team were able to address through the communication. Adds Mr Suthan: “My gut tells me that there is a national plank of angst. And it’s been something that’s been gaining momentum. The Delhi showing of AAP is proof of that, and will galvanise the rest of the country into looking at AAP as a viable alternative. Their current stance is neatly poised for pan-India acceptance.”

 

As for Mr Mathias, it was foolish for people and political parties to not take the Kejriwal phenomenon seriously.

 

 

Jaldi 5 with Prathap Suthan: The broom symbolized the cleansing that people ached for:

Q&A with Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner, Bang in the Middle, to comment on the rise and rise of the Aam Aadmi Party and and its brand promise from an advertising person’s point of view

 

01. From your point of view, what would you think was most noteworthy about the Aam Aadmi Party campaign?

This has the making of a classic brand. Or it has the necessary ingredients for a brand. Solid differentiation. Many distinct characteristics. But most importantly, it gave what the audience demanded. Perfect wedge, if a need gap study was done. People hated the corruption. They were sick of losing pride. They despised the blatant scams. Plus the Nirbhaya case. Public angst was the platform on which AAP was conceived, built, fostered and now given a public thumbs up. If I get to the core of the part and its campaign, the single most characteristic that worked for them was honesty, along with humility and hope. If the people wanted democratic retribution and teach conniving politicians a lesson, this was the answer. Even the symbol of the party, worked for it. The broom symbolized the cleansing that people ached for.

 

02. Do you think the brand promise of AAP puts in a lot of responsibility on the party to live up to it?

Of course. The party is obviously new to the business of politics. But I am sure they knew that, and they would do their best not to fritter the opportunity and the backing they have got from the people. Besides, people would by default give them a wide berth. I also think the people in charge know that, and they are also advised by learned pedigreed people from across strata. I don’t think they would suffer from any shortage of advice or experience. That may not be an obvious weakness.

 

03. In your view, will this brand promise of AAP be able to make a nationwide impact?

My gut tells me that there is a national plank of angst. And it’s been something that’s been gaining momentum. The Delhi showing of AAP is proof of that, and will galvanize the rest of the country into looking at AAP as a viable alternative. Their current stance is neatly poised for pan India acceptance. And the fact that volunteers came in from every corner of the country is indicative of the national mood for an alternative school of thought.

 

04. Or do you think AAP will need fresh positioning?

Sure enough, there is a lot of handwork for them if they have spin this out of Delhi and take it across. Finding the right people, committed, faultless people etc isn’t easy. But I suppose people would take their Delhi show as something that can be duplicated across the country.

 

05. In terms of pre-election communication, any comments on how AAP fared vis-à-vis BJP and Congress?

Sure the pre election hyperbole was about forming the Govt. While the hung scenario might get pushed into a re-election, that might actually work in their favor. I personally feel that the results are stunning. I don’t really think they expected these kind of numbers. This has been like a dream debut. Congress, I suspect, knew what was coming. They were pretty lacklustre and the muted public reception was definitely underlining Delhi’s anti-incumbency echo. BJP certainly powered their way up, and I think they would be surprised too at the seats they gained in Delhi and the other states.

 

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