Saturday, 17 May 2014

Elections 2014: Jo dikhta hai wo bikta hai.

I was a little amused to hear it from my marketing professor in an introductory marketing lecture but now it seems as if that's one maxim which can succinctly describe what marketing is all about. Although it may be fatuous that a person like me, who cannot even market his own blog, wishes to write about an arcane marketing strategy, but now I've realized how aptly that one line, that one adage could be used to explain everything in clear terms. Ostensibly, this one line may draw far-fetched conclusions on the basis of one's individual notions about the elements, but largely all of them point towards the same message which serves as the crux of this interesting science and discipline. 

I have scrounged for applications of this phenomenon, willing to find out a real life scenario where I could see the forces in action. I found a few commonalities between different marketing paradigms and the use thereof ,but I couldn't countenance or ascribe all of them to this. However, my tryst finally gave me the much needed cumshaw. These elections with all their intensity and jamboree, finally gave me a natural experiment to test the theory on. As it turns out, every element of every player's marketing strategy had this as a founding principle. 

Talking about the radicals, both Modi and Kejriwal had put things to proffer. These elections were largely fought upon the looming doldrums and the demagoguery and one who could have promised to be a viable alternative, was to triumph! The concept of soliciting for a unique value proposition was in play all right, but it was the communication and the grandeur which was more important. Amidst Gandhian chaos, making an attempt of veneering their Machiavellian internal affairs through billboards heralding their socialist programs, Modi took siege of national television and made sure you were subjected to enough advertisements before you were to cast a vote. Kejriwal too made sure they spread enough din and cacophony through their congregations and social media exposes that veneered tacit canvassing. The battle was heating up now

As it turned out, that one true alternative, one which was capable enough to form a government, and one which had some distinct quality or feature, was to be voted for. This is where that unique proposition was to be vested as well as enunciated. While Congress was not sure what to say courtesy of them being bereft of anything to say but boast about their minority comity and supposedly socialist agenda, Modi had a lot to say. Each rally, each advertisement, was all about saying something, about promising something. One might argue what's so different with promises. Well, this time his promises were wrapped in a glittery package, allowing people to actually live them through the word and determination of a man, who palpably has done something before to assert his credibility. Hence BJP's campaign was all about promoting and ballyhooing all that was there to the developmental regime Modi had put in place. They made quite a show of it. 

Talking about AAP, their agenda was not being an alternative to the power at apogee but to make inroads into the vote banks of conventional parties to make them quiver with trepidation. They knew they're small enough to have any formidable position but their turgid and pompous style and their claims suggested otherwise. They seemed to fight these elections just to prove their might. That's not what people sought in an alternative or a part of it. Inter alia, Kejriwal being presumptuous and insular about the larger picture, was to seek some rapprochement for his dereliction in Delhi. Despite justifying that, he didn't have an agenda and not even a propaganda to offer. Suddenly, this alternative didn't really offer the most promising of things. Yes, the epithet of corruption removal was still with them despite they themselves not really talking about it a lot, but maybe people couldn't really take that alone in what they considered their dream visage for the future. Ergo, despite being vocal about what you'll bring, that in itself was what not a lot of people were seeking at least in that epoch. 

Now talking about the third front collectively. It seemed as the only difference they'll bring after getting into power was the feat of getting into power itself. It was absolutely turbid what they'll do post forming a government, Second deficiency lied in all of them being reticent on their very existence. No one openly alluded the possibility of some third front assuming power. When your very existence is in doubt, you can't even expect people to look forward to you. There was a lot of brouhaha over the power of regional players and how they can influence the national picture. Some of them were even dreaming of big truces for their cooperation but they got all too mired in it. Neither did they have a unique proposition or distinction, nor they did anything to promote their collective existence. 

Suddenly, the election results seem as if they can be attributed completely to the presence of a distinguishing factor. Yes, Modi could be termed overtly aggressive, parochial, self-centric and what not. But maybe that precisely was enough for him to make the cut as that distinguished contender who can bring some praxis and can partake some action. Furthermore, all the communication concurred with his larger than life grandiose and his traits. All of them aptly and effectively highlighted one man's vision and his ability to transform all under his reign. Each and every element of it was carefully carved to make development and the man who is the doyen of it, appear obtrusive and with fidelity. Suddenly, Modi became the buzzword and a part of the parlance. Things were qualified as either Modi or NOT Modi, nothing except that. The prevalence created through the strategy of making 'Modi' omnipresent, be it in praise or be it in critique, be it in rallies or be it in burning effigies and be it on lavish advertisements or be it on withered walls, Modi was everywhere. While everyone turned belligerent or rash on him, even they furthered his agenda, the aim of being everywhere. Sooner or later, it did work in his favor. Elections were either fought for him or against him and he alone came to have the suzerainty. Jo Dikha, Wahi Bika. Glad these elections came in the middle of my marketing course, teaching me a lot that is there to this art.