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Chanakyaneeti and Marketing in Politics

The first basic rule of Chanakyaneeti is to prepare a detailed manual for the subject matter.  Smart tactics always emerge from minute details stated in such manuals. A good Chanakyaneeti based manual should list down all the possible situations and should then list broad parameters on how to react in different situations. This manual should be dynamic in nature, incorporating the changes in Business, Economic, Social, Political and Technological Environment. How to prepare Chanakyaneeti based manual for Politics? This Blog post is the first in Chanakyaneeti in Politics series and states why it is important to create a detailed Political Marketing Manual before applying Chanakyaneeti in Politics.

Whenever there is increased competition (in any field), with supply more than demand, and with Consumers having options to make choice from many available alternatives, Marketing plays a major role in creating a winning edge. Politics in India was virtually a single party phenomenon in the initial two decades after Independence. Things started changing in 1970’s when Jansangh gave a decisive challenge to the ruling Congress Party. 1980’s and 1990’s saw the emergence of BJP as a major force on the national horizon, and also saw the preference for regional parties in many Indian states. Modern day Politics is even more complex with Aam Aadmi Party emerging as an epitome of new age Politics. I call Aam Aadmi Party the Start-up of Indian Politics.  In nutshell, with so many players emerging on the Political horizon, people have a wide choice with different parties and politicians offering different sets of promises and agendas. With media and technology becoming more accessible even to the remotest of places, one single event/ statement can change people’s perception about a Political Party/ Politicians in a matter of hours. All this makes Politics a fit case for Professional Marketers to handle Political Marketing Strategies with precision and perfection. Prashant Kishor is first such Marketing tactician who has made a sizeable impact on the way future elections will be fought. And considering the huge size of Indian democracy, I can safely say that many similar names will emerge in the next 10 years. Coming back to the first basic rule of Chanakyaneeti, the first task is to prepare a detailed Political Marketing Manual which serves as a ready reckoner for taking calculated Political decisions, and serves as the basic document for creating Chanakyaneeti based Strategies.

Is Politics only about Elections? And is campaigning the only way to win elections? The answer to both the questions is a big no. Marketing is a process and Sales is the most important aim of Marketing. Similarly, Politics is a process and performance in elections is the most important aim of Politics. In the marketing process, 4 P’s of Marketing, Product, Price, Place and Promotion play an important role in achieving Sales. Similarly, in Political Marketing process, all these 4 P’s play an important role in winning Elections. Election Campaigning is only a small component of the 4th P i.e. Promotion. Election Campaigning which is not coherent with the remaining 3 P’s of marketing is often the reason for less than desirable performance in elections. A good Political Marketing Manual states each and every aspect of all the 4 P’s of Political Marketing in detail, and aims to state various alternatives emerging out of such aspects. 4 P’s of Political Marketing are described below.

The first P in the Political Marketing process is Product.  This includes Political Party, Politicians, Party Ideology, Branding of the Party leaders, relevance of the Political issues in the current Environment, Differentiation, Positioning, capability of strategists of the Party or Politicians to effectively sketch the behavior of different cluster (segments) of Voters, skill to identify the correct segments, skill to correctly gauge the changing Political, Social, Demographic, and Economic environment. 

The second P i.e. Price in Political Marketing process has a relatively different meaning from the usual Marketing Process. Price is defined in marketing as the exchange value of a product or service, usually stated in monetary terms. In Politics, Price can be defined as the perceived value of the Political Party or Politicians in the minds of the Voters. For determining this perceived value in quantitative terms, I have devised a Political Branding Index, which measures the Brand Equity of Politicians and Political Parties through a methodology which takes into account key factors like Personality value of Politicians (based on sub-factors like believability, aura, effective communication, oratory skills, interpersonal skills, Intrapersonal skills and so on), their previous track record, Brand Potential, Brand awareness and so on. I’ll write more on Political Branding Index in my future posts. Better the score on Political Branding Index, more are the chances of Voters posing confidence on a Political Party or Politicians. It should be noted that like Share Prices in Stock Market, Political Branding Index is also dynamic in nature with each event, challenge and opportunity changing the score. Also, score on Political Branding Index for a particular party or politician may vary for different geographical locations. How to improve score on Political Branding Index? Wait for my future Blog Posts on www.chanakyaneeti.com.

The third P i.e. Place in Political Marketing process means the Political Marketing Channels. This P deals with how a Political Party or a Politician connects with Voters. Political Marketing Channels include many intermediaries since it is impossible to connect directly with each and every Voter. A good Political Marketing Strategy aims to create an effective marketing channel which serves as an instant connect between the Party/ its Leadership and the Voters. Who should be the Intermediaries, What kind of Intermediaries suit a Constituency, How to unite the various factions of Intermediaries, What can be the possible points of conflicts between the Intermediaries and how to avoid them in advance, At what stage should an Intermediary be shown the door, How to increase the Intermediary base, What is the Optimum level of Intermediaries in a Constituency? These are some of the questions a good Political Marketing Manual aims to answer. Increasing the Party membership as well as devising Innovative strategies to raise funds for the Party also comes under this P. Some marketers may differ on Party funding, and may put it under the second P i.e. Price, but my future Blog Posts will provide logical reasons behind putting Party funding under third P.

Promotion is the fourth P of Political Marketing Process. Various components of Promotion in Political Marketing are Rallies by Political Leaders, Advertising, Campaigning, Direct Contact with Voters, Press Conferences, Media Coverage, and so on. An important aspect of Political Promotion is to clearly specify the Promotion Objectives. Various objectives can be Brand Enhancement of Political Party, Personal Branding enhancement of Political Leaders, Increase in Party membership, Promotional campaign to raise funds for the Party, Votes during elections, Effectively communicating the Party Policies to Supporters/ Voters, Reminding the Voters about the Image/ Importance of Party/ Leadership, Countering Political Competitors and so on. A good Promotional Campaign takes into account the Demographic, Psychographic and Geographical Profile of the Voters, Media Habits (like how media would react to various events/issues and what are the media habits of the electorate) , coherence level within various segments in a constituency or a set of constituencies and so on. A good Promotional strategy also aims to provide optimal results within the given resources.

Summing up the above, Smart Political Chanakyaneeti Strategies should be based on a detailed and effective Political Marketing Manual. A Key point to be noted is that all the P’s of Political Marketing should be coherent with each other. For instance, a good election campaign can’t win votes if based on a badly chosen issue. Similarly, no matter how good the image of a Political Party or Politician is, choice of bad Intermediaries almost always ruins the show.

Chanakyaneeti and Marketing are both an integral part of Politics and are linked to each other. This is a comprehensive subject, and I’ll share many interesting insights (with case studies) through my future Blog Posts.

Author of this Post Kujnish Vashisht is a leading Strategic Marketing Consultant, Start-ups Consultant, and a Practitioner of Chanakyaneeti. He is an Author of three successful books on Marketing and Sales. He can be contacted at 91-9779883347, 91-9878904347, expedient33@gmail.com

Copyright: Kujnish Vashisht, www.chanakyaneeti.com

 

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