Now that our Delhi CM is walking easy early mornings, we can all enjoy chai-pe-charcha and stories of his triumph. BJP seems to be still in shock and news of no change in ease of doing business at ground level has been picked up nicely against PM Modi. We plucked threads of Kejriwal’s success shared by his trusted colleague Ashutosh and discovered interesting aspects of the way Indian brands have been managed in the past.
Will brands be managed little differently than before after AK’s victory? We don’t know for sure but Indian entrepreneurs are expected to learn from AK strategic and tactical ways more than global leaders.
Everyone loves Cadbury in India and generations have grown up with its sumptuous chocolates but something creepy happened in 2003 when people found worms in chocolates. A major hue & cry in market caused worries in Indian office of this British company. The marketing icons of Cadbury cracked a brilliant idea of communicating through Indian demigod Amitabh that its chocolates were world class in quality processes, production and packaging. The company effectively defended but never apologized.
Select automobile companies frequently recall a batch of production for faulty performance or quality product issues. We have seen more Japanese companies like Honda, Toyota than perhaps American companies recalling a batch for correction.
No one apologizes in Indian marketing. Consumer complaints must be dealt effectively with advice of legal or advertising or PR partners. Why maafi?
Arvind Kejriwal apparently regrouped after his massive defeat in Varanasi and all Lok Sabha constituencies and re-started the process of meeting people of Delhi. He visited every MLAs constituency twice before December 2014 to confess his mistake of resignation. He did not ‘outsource market research or a PR agency to communicate his confessions. His personal effort and communication convinced voters of his genuine intent. He himself toiled in marketplace.
Marketing managers and their brand managers love calling ‘brand partners’ for long discussions on how to ‘turn around’ unfavorable situations. The usual instinct is to use the power of money and media to ‘manage market failures’. No direct consumer dialogues?
Everyone is wiser in hindsight. Now people are saying that AK waited for BJP to announce Kiran Bedi’s candidature. We don’t know if he waited but he surely welcomed her elder sister in electoral politics. The more Bedi didi campaigned, the stronger Arvind bhai emerged. Before Bedi, AAP party had taken Modi head on. They waited and waited for CM nomination from him.
We remembered HCL versus IBM competitive advertising of 1980s. HCL was courageous in taking on MNC brands those days. The company used to wait and watch to calibrate its moves. Perhaps life is too fast and marketplace has no time for patience these days. Flipkart is reportedly ready for another US$ 1.7 billion funding after US$ 1.9 billion fund raising last year. Snapdeal is not waiting. Amazon did not wait last year to announce US $ 2 billion funding to its Indian arm. The e-commerce envious critiques may argue about profitability versus valuation, but currently no one is waiting for others to make mistake. Let all make fortunes and mistakes together.
Perhaps e-bay is waiting and watching as they coined a term called ‘responsible e-commerce’ implying current tsunami of funding as ‘irresponsible e-commerce’.
Kejriwal did not forget 49 days and his ‘unfulfilled agenda’. It is not possible for a brand to deliver all at its peak delivery level in a given period. There are gaps and at times serious gaps in delivering up to the customer expectations. In business, ‘customized solutions’ is usually an over-claim. No one ‘fully customizes’ ever and perhaps very few companies are honest to refund the client for the ‘unfulfilled promises’. Money, once in the bank, is usually never returned for those consumer disappointments.
Telcos, Banks, Insurance, Oil & Gas companies, Consulting service providers could revisit their contract periods and recapitulate the ‘unfulfilled promises’ of their respective brands.
PM Modi stepped down from grace to call Kejriwal a ‘naxalite’. Post Bedi didi’s influence on BJP advertising, direct attack in the form of Kejriwal’s caricature and mocking his dharna , muffler and every possible aspect of his life was attacked. But he remained calm and did not retort. He conserved his ‘energy and focus’ to talk about his mistakes and unfilled promises. Competitive marketing usually brings warring brands on TV wherein challenger brands love provoking market leaders unlike in Modi vs. Kejriwal battle. Leaders usually don’t mock challengers. On this front, Modi could learn from marketing especially after Delhi defeat
Somehow political parties in power cannot control their desire to crush opponents on every count. BJP was firing all its national canons against AAP.
PM Modi was prominent on every outdoor opportunity in Delhi last month. In BJP’s contrast, AAP was surely poorer in visibility. BJP’s was massive multimedia campaign and reminded of Congress party’s spend level audacity.
There is TV News channels accused of completely pushing BJP agenda while AAP had its foot-soldiers on ground as Kejriwal’s media. We may call it ‘effective ground campaigns’ in media marketing terms, but no one usually takes the ground route against aerial. BTL never substitutes ATL in marketing minds. Perhaps it cannot nationally do that but it can surely be a great trick in regional or territory level campaigns.
Over to Harvard Professors for Competitive Strategies piece!