The Rise & Shine of Brand Modi

16 May,2014


Even as the final results were coming in, it was clear that one of the many factors why Narendra Modi and the NDA emerged victorious in the General Elections 2014 was the advertising and public relations campaign. Shobhana Nair spoke to Harish Bijoor, well-known brand expert and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc to discuss the rise and rise of Brand Modi


Harish Bijoor

On what has worked for Brand Modi in the last year?

Hard work. Very hard work. Add to it the fact that Brand Modi started off the block much before elections were announced. Brand Modi established itself first when it saw Narendra Modi as a hat-trick CM of Gujarat. This image was further boosted with development as a cue. And then came the announcement of Modi as a PM candidate of the BJP. This was decisive and focussed branding. And then kicked in the campaign.


The solus attention on Modi has helped the BJP immensely in this victory. If you remove Modi from the BJP, you will find a huge crevice in terms of the resultant imagery. To that extent, this is a pure Modi win. In many ways, this paves the way for an epochal shift in the way campaigns will be run in this country. The individual will become more important than the party. Parties that hide behind the cloak of group-think will need to think individual personas, American style, in the future.


Do you think it was smart marketing that gave Mr Modi the comprehensive victory?

Absolutely. Narendra Modi is the ultimate political marketer. He had able support, and he was decisive in the way he managed his campaign. His campaign was a 360-degree campaign that had everyone else watching with awe. The best of product marketing gyaan was brought into this campaign. And it worked. Modi is a product. And this product promised what the people wanted. And in him people saw a strong  and decisive leader, someone who was an anti-thesis of sorts to the persona India was used to in the past decade with Manmohan Singh at the helm of affairs.


Would you say the BJP’s ad agencies produce great advertising, or at least advertising that worked?

They did. I love the “Abki Baar Modi Sarkaar line”, as did I love the jingles that captured the need of the people in bundling hope: “Acchhe din aane waale hain…” And media organizations loved the amount of money that was spent in airing all of this for sure.


And do you think the Congress loss was caused by bad advertising?

Not really. In the beginning, it is all about strategy. I do believe the gaps lie in the strategy rather than in the advertising executions. I do believe enough of emphasis on voter insight was not given. The campaign was top-down and ignored the bottom-up possibilities.


How does Brand Modi not suffer from the same fate as various Opposition/non-Congress governments have in the past?

Brand Modi is beyond it all for now. His assessment will start happening one year from now. And that will be the biggest challenge to tackle. Every single promise needs to be fulfilled. With care, tracking and passion.


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