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Guest Column: Lessons brands can learn from 'AAP'

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Guest Column: Lessons brands can learn from 'AAP'

The emergence of a new brand ‘AAP’ in the Indian political landscape has brought forth some interesting lessons which brands should know. AAP has seamlessly worked from brand strategy to effective communication.

The key differentiating factor for AAP lies in its inception, the anti-corruption movement that paved way for its existence. While brand AAP clearly differentiated itself, coming at parity with other parties on socio-economic development agendas was also essential. In due time, AAP was able to meet these points of parity and establish a corruption free brand positioning in the minds of Indians.

The business environment is evolving; focus has shifted to placing customers at the top and on capitalising new media such as social media. AAP provides a good example of social media success – its updates on Facebook have attracted some 19k likes and Twitter hashtags have trended across India for long periods.

Arvind Kejriwal is its brand ambassador, who has immense popularity among the masses. Is it a one-man party? Well we believe, No. If you go and read about their team, they have an awesome set of people working for them. Apple was also revolutionised by Steve Jobs but there are thousands of people working at the backstage to make things happen!

What makes AAP a successful brand? What can brands learn from AAP?

Competitor has strength? Negate it by making it your point of parity
Make your competitors differentiating factors your points of parity. Just like AAP built a plan around socio-economic policy and campaigned for its cause, the basic every party needs to do.

Choose a compelling point of difference that the customer values
Analyse gaps, look for consumer motivations and frame your point of differentiation. The biggest issue around politics today is corruption and AAP surely captured it.

Now is the era of ad-free branding! Don’t get limited by advertising budgets
Even with lesser advertising budget, the impact can be huge. You just need to integrate strategy with creativity and develop an innovative communication plan. In the current age of social media, at least the youth is just a click away!

Customer is the new God
Brands now revolve around consumers. With the current market clutter, the power has shifted from brands to the customers. Both the identity and promise of AAP revolve around the common man.

Customer engagement is now a two-way process
Consumer engagement is the key to success. AAP was able to get a never before seen strength of motivated volunteers who campaigned its cause and became brand advocates.

To be…rather than to seem to be!
Build your brand inside-out. AAP was the first party to publish an audited report of donations and expenses. It ensured its candidates had a clear background. And it clearly mentions that the party’s motivations are not big government flats, extensive security, etc. Its foundation is built on transparency which resonates with its corruption free image outside.

Small brands don’t scare you?
Never underestimate a new entrant, a mistake BJP and Congress made this time. We agree, the success of brand AAP will depend on its ability to execute its promises, nonetheless it has come a long way so far!

The author is Associate Consultant, Troika Consulting

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Prior to joining Madison PR in 2012 Chaudhary was Group President Corporate Communications at Reliance Industries Limited.