I must concede that I loved the BJP campaign in the beginning. I thought ‘Mehngi Padegi Congress’ was a fine thought. However, what began beautifully as a campaign, suddenly soured with opportunistic symbols of blood and terror creeping into the campaign. That, I think, went down rather poorly with the people. That is the problem with politics, one never knows when to say ‘when’.
The defeat of BJP’s Vijay Kumar Malhotra also proves a kindergarten principle of advertising – no amount of good advertising can sell a bad product.
And in favour of Sheila Dixit – no amount of poor advertising can deter the purchase of a better brand.
So, what is brand Sheila Dixit all about? Precisely what all great brands are.
Great brands are consistent
She has been consistent. Three terms in a playground of internal and external see-saws is no mean feat. With internal daggers at her back, she has gone about her business of governance with conviction and charm.
Great brands are performers
Nothing can take away from the fact that barring the odd hiccup called the BRT, Sheila Dixit has architected arguably one of the finest cities in terms of infrastructure and development. I love Mumbai, but each time I land there, I am nothing but saddened at the tardy infrastructure in place. The cathedral of commerce is in ruins compared to spiffy Delhi.
Great brands mean different things to different people. Their elasticity is their strength
In a city of impossibly negotiable diversity, Sheila Dixit is equally at ease in a drawing room in Dwarka as she is in the anteroom at Amrita Shergill Marg. She can walk with kings, yet not lose the common touch. Great brands straddle bridges of disparity. They have richly different relationships with their vastly dissimilar consumers.
Great brands are enduring conversations with consumers
Sheila Dixit has always been a listening post. Great brands have ears. Not just lips.
Great brands are iconic
No one can deny the fact that Malhotra was a damp squib compared to the personality that Sheila Dixit exudes. She is also iconic in the sense that she frankly never gives a damn about what her party thinks of her. She has always wanted and has been judged by the consumers to whom she delivers. Not the manufacturers of manifestoes.
This morning, in one of the papers I read about the fact that people vote for parties and not brands. That is where Indian politicians need to bury their noses in some steaming latte.
The recent American elections have proven that finally the people are no longer stirred by a party’s rhetoric, but actually swayed by the charisma that its leaders exude. Politics is no longer commoditised. It has been branded. America voted Barrack Obama, not the Democrats.
Delhi voted Sheila Dixit, not just the Congress.
Would things have been remarkably different had the talented Mr Jaitley been the BJP’s candidate?
I suspect so.
(Swapan Seth is CEO, Equus Red Cell.)
Viewpoint: ‘It would be wonderful if a great idea wins an election’