With the growing buzz around the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the campaign noise of various political parties and politicians of all hues moves towards crescendo.
Amidst the din, BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been growing his fan base across the country through a series of public rallies as well as via social media.
The media has been regularly reporting on the growing clout of ‘Brand Modi’ and ‘NaMo’. So, how has Modi been able to gain popularity and the support of the people from all walks of life?
First of all, Modi is no marketing genius, but his marketing strategies have been well thought out and meticulously executive. As early as 2007, he and his team realised the growing importance of social media and have been active on this platform.
In 2007, Modi descended into the social media space with his foray into YouTube. Facebook and Twitter soon followed in 2009. By 2010, he had his own website as well. As on December 30, 2013, NaMo had close to 3,041,867 followers on Twitter and his social authority is 81 (on a scale of 1-100), while on Facebook he has 75,558,432 likes and 960,982 people are talking about him (Source: FollowerWonk).
NaMo’s PR machinery has been leaving no stone unturned to create a space for Brand Modi. Sometime back in Patna, BJP party workers started NaMo tea stalls and later hit upon the idea of NaMo sweetshops at Saharsa district during the Navratra Mela, which extensively promoted Modi as the country’s next prime minister. Free jalebis were distributed to all the devotees who came to seek Goddess Durga’s blessings during the last three days of the Navratras.
An online merchandising portal called 'The NaMo Store' was launched a few weeks ago. A first of its kind in the country, this store sells a range of personalised NaMo products - T-Shirts, Kurtis, Stationery, Pen-drives and Books etc. Initially as a part of the free-distribution plan for his election campaign, these products were sold on the market instead - this gave them a sense of how many supporters does Modi have in the country as only his loyalist would spend money on products that were branded 'NaMo'.
Brand Modi has been very clearly positioned in the minds of the consumers – the citizens of our country in this case. If we were to decode his brand positioning and targeting, it is evident that he has made a simple brand proposition – every time someone thinks of Modi, he is reminded of the colour Saffron (synonymous with his affiliated party) and his Khadi Kurtas and chaste Hindi or Gujarati) discourses. It also stands for ‘walking the talk’ and examples of ‘Shining Gujarat’ come to the fore.
But like every brand, Brand Modi also has its fair share of early adopters and early rejecters. It is interesting to see how he intends to convert his rejecters into adopters and maintain his high brand recognition. While Brand Modi has progressed into the Growth stage from the Introduction stage, he still has a wide geography and crowd to cover before he enters the better stages of his brand’s lifecycle.