What brands can learn and unlearn from AAP's consummate campaign

Aditi Mishra and Ankur Bhartiya of Lodestar UM talk about the key marketing lessons brands can learn from the recently held Delhi elections, which brought the Aam Aadmi Party to power

e4m by Aditi Mishra and Ankur Bhartiya
Published: Feb 17, 2015 8:40 AM  | 3 min read
What brands can learn and unlearn from AAP's consummate campaign

Put together by Lodestar UM, here are the top five marketing lessons that brands can learn from the recently concluded Delhi polls, which brought the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to power in the national Capital.

1. Build ground stories: The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) campaign centered around the ‘needs’ (of people). There was no ambiguous shrouding of key issues—some of the measures might be considered populist, but they came straight from the ground (such as lower tariff for water and electricity, security for women, etc).

Consumers, today, are more prone to ask – ‘what’s in it for me?’ It is critical for brands to address this point-driving precision focus versus a carpet-bombing approach. Marketers should offer beyond ‘grand all embracing’ messages, something that connects at an individual level.

2. Infuse young blood: AAP’s young brigade (such as Raghav Chaddha, Ankit Lal, Richa Pandey and many more) were against super experiential stalwarts. They focused on ‘disruptive innovation’ – such as voice tree, innovative fund-raising drives like art auction.

Consumers are constantly finding new ways of doing things. It is important for brands to keep reinventing and realigning themselves to these new realities to stay relevant. Marketers keep trying new ideas, just because it’s untried. Unproven doesn’t mean that it is not worth it.

3. Do not dilute your USP: Aam Aadmi Party stood against corruption – Day1, Day 49, Day 413. While the USP may seem an old concept, focus on what you deliver and consistently staying true to this can create a strong differentiated often unassailable position. Marketers believe simple consistent relevant messaging will get you there.

4. Own up: On Day1 of 2015 campaign, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal confessed his mistake and kept admitting it throughout the campaign. Ditto with not repeating the mistake of spreading too thin by deciding to ‘not contest any other state elections in 2015’.

Consumers, today, are no longer distant people on the other side of TV screen. They are people we meet and talk to every day. Owning up to them by sharing your realities and challenges can create a powerful engagement with opportunity for an ongoing dialogue and partnership. Timing the plan for this with little gap is a critical factor. Marketers, being human pays.

5. Best brand ambassadors are voluntary: The strength of the AAP campaign stemmed out of lakhs of volunteers bringing to table whatever they could, even by braving the cold, standing at traffic signals with a banner. Happy consumers who believe in the product are the best ambassadors for the brand. Marketers harnessing their power can create a strong parallel force to regulate marketing channels.

The authors are Aditi Mishra – Strategy and Knowledge Partner at Lodestar UM and Ankur Bhartiya – General Manager, Lodestar UM.

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