The General Elections of 2014 have officially gone down as the biggest democratic exercise globally and the mandate has been an epic one for India. For the first time since 1984, a national party has the majority to form the government on its own and based on some indicatives, possibly the first time after 1972, a national leader selected by the people out of choice rather than the lack of it.
Yes, the BJP has emerged absolutely dominant across 5 states and enjoys over 80% votes in 5 others and the credit for this should go down to the grass root party workers. But for holding over 200 public addresses, inspiring and infusing enthusiasm in the party workers and building himself as a force to reckon with; it will be a complete three act dominated by Narendra Modi.
Leaving the debate whether brand Modi won the election or was it anything else to the political experts, I am only going to apply basic marketing principles to the success and place forth a simple perspective.
Give the people what they want: The very definition of marketing is focussed towards the needs of people. One factor India has been missing for a long time has been a strong and decisive central leadership. Possibly Indira Gandhi was the last known exponent of this trade and it reflected her resounding re-election in 1972; all thanks to her transformation from the ‘moom ki gudiya’ to the lady behind the victory in the Bangladesh liberation war.
Beyond elections have been just a series of counter actions and replacements to previous governments but never based on leadership. Morarji led coalition in 1977 an outcome of public dissent against the Indira governance. The re-election of Mrs Gandhi was due to the failure of the Janta Party. Rajiv Gandhi in 1984 got a massive sympathy wave, VP Singh in 1989, succeeded on the misdeeds of Rajiv, Chandrashekhar was a stop-gap and Narshimha Rao in 1991 got the benefits of another sympathy wave for Rajiv.
The 13 day Vajpayee government in 1996 failed an absolute mandate, Deve Gowda and I K Gujral were again stop gap arrangements. Vajpayee managed a coalition finally in 1999, but it failed to be decisive as it was always held at ransom by its allies. Manmohan Singh in 2004 was a last minute socially acceptable alternative and in 2009 there were little or no alternatives.
Narendra Modi in 2014 was a sign of definite leadership put forth before the Indian electorate. Who will be the PM had a definitive answer for months leading up to the elections and it was the biggest thing to have worked. Critics, party members and even media has come out saying that in a record turnout voting exercise; Modi was instrumental in installing confidence in the minds of a voter to give up on their inertia and apathy towards the government and exercise their vote.
A robust product: As a 3rd term CM of one of India’s most rapidly developing state, Modi had suitable credentials to back him as a leader with decision making abilities. Gujarat under Modi was becoming a model state. The biggest beneficiary of the Sardar Sarovar project, water had now reached desert regions of Kutch and combined with hydro and solar power projects on the Narmada canal, Gujarat was now a power surplus state.
From an economic perspective, the swift action for the shift of the Tata Nano project in Sanand with the record time approvals and land allocations was a demonstration of the commanding stature of Modi against other state governments. No one could make such a profound statement by getting the approval from Tata, the gold standard in Indian industry, for their dream project.
Modi has gradually developed as a mark of decisive, progressive and development led governance. This was a much higher product promise presented to the Indians in a long time.
Power of promotion: Like most others who have risen through the ranks of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Modi has the mass appealing oratory skills that we seek in a leader. He had been a crowd puller with his well-articulated language and confident words.
In addition, the BJP left no stone unturned to build a nationwide campaign across every form of media. Apart from the effective use of social media, television interviews, radio ads, ground activities, rallies and even use of holographic at places- it was a complete and through media campaign.
Going places: Addressing 185 rallies in 45 days leading up to the final phase of elections is no mean feat; it averages to 4 rallies everyday across various parts of the country. To add to it, Modi never stayed over at any place post his address and made sure he was back in Gandhinagar every night. What this super human effort achieved was connecting to the last mile of voters and a gratification of sorts to every single person that the man has taken the effort to meet me in my town.
Multi- appeal positioning: Modi was remarkable positioned to appeal to every Indian in some or the other way to counter the political shortcomings on his resume. A 3rd term CM with a reputation for global recognition towards good governance was the solution at hand for a country ridden by corruption and scams. For the corporate world, he was a morphine shot in the waiting to aid a crawling economy. His modest backgrounds echoed the sentiments of a commoner while his rise thought the RSS ranks was an encouragement to his party workers.
If religious fundamentalism was a stumbling block, the development model was a redeemer. If zero national experience was a flaw, his work under similar conditions in Gujarat was a strong point. If his age was a spot of concern as compared to other campaigners, his experience overruled the matters.
In an overall, there can be many more factors which we can draw; these were some prime in my opinion. The only hope I hold in my mind is for the faith rested by the voters on this one man leads him to make an incremental change to the lives of every Indian.