After the general elections 2014, only one brand was being discussed all over India. It is the NaMo brand which reflected the slogan and hope on which BJP under the Prime Minister designate Narenda Modi has designed the executed the general election campaign. It has all the making of a block buster romantic movie where everything starts with hatred and fight between hero and heroine slowly transforming to a strong bondage of love. The making of NaMo brand can draw many similarities – how the politicial and social image of Narendra Modi was transformed from a Hindu radical to a popular leader and capable administrator for all masses.
The Planning Phase
The preparations behind the scene for creating this brand started almost 2 to 3 years back as per the political experts in 2011. A team which included experienced politicians, strategists, media experts, social media champions all got involved in discussing how to create and popularize this brand. They identified the target segment as emergent India – mainly covering the young and vibrant population. They knew that it is a personal brand and through this branding they have to literally change the focus from the Muslim riots in Gujarat to the recent developmental work that has been carried out in the state for the last 10 years. The focus was clear, it was quite evident from the speech Mr Modi made after his win emphasizing on this point that for the first time an election in India was led by people who were born after Indian Independence. The emergent India and new India focus were quite clear.
The NaMo Brand Promise
The NaMo brand wanted to emotionally get connected to the hopes and aspirations of emergent India. The message of development and transformation of India to a number 1 global power was tagged to this brand. They created a parallel brand ‘Gujarat Growth Model’ to not only build NaMo brands vision but also to add credibility and trust as it has already delivered its promise in 1 state. They also didnt fail to get the ‘One India’ image also connected to this brand. It was a deliberate attempt to convey that this is not just for Hindus, this brand stands for the whole of India cutting across states, castes and creed. Strong leadership and stable governance are the other two attributes which got added to the brand message later through the campaign for the construction of Sardar Vallabhai Patel statue, one of the biggest in Asia.
Integrated Brand Communication
The vision and attributes were set. Now this brand has to find its appeal across the masses, they identified channels and media vehicles to communicate the brand value to the masses. The team identified that conventional way of communicating a political vision and brand through speeches and rallys will not help as it has to reach wider and deeper especially the young population. This is where for the first time in India, a political brand started its way out through the social media connecting to the young professionals, students etc sowing the seeds of what good governance means for them and how it is going to transform India and make it a better place for them to live and work.
NaMo brand was there in social media even before the elections were declared, but it got rejuvenated when Modi was announced as the Prime Minister designate by BJP. Now it was time to take the brand to the common men too. Narendra Modi himself did 400 rallys across India covering almost all the states to convey this vision. They even coined a simpler form of communicating this in Hindi dialect ‘Ache Din Aayenge’, to convey this better to the rural India. Now in parallel there were more initiatives like Namostore which sold Modi branded apparels thus generating revenue too. A political brand was leveraged as a commercial brand too which again helped in two ways – getting its reach across masses quickly and also to prove the commercial value of this brand to the corporates and business world. A smartphone NaMo is another innovative vehicle which was tried!
The whole election strategy of BJP was around this NaMo brand and this focused approach helped them to get the brand messages clearly and strongly to the minds of the people. The absence of any other strong branding from any other political party also helped its popularity to go beyond the imagination of even the BJP party and the team who were behind creating this brand.
The impact of NaMo brand was clear. There was a TseuNamo effect which was another interesting term coined to reflect the huge victory BJP and its allies had winning close to 340 seats out of 543, even giving BJP majority on its own to form the government. The decimation of a party like Congress which still has an emotional connect to the older population of India was achieved due to this huge brand wave BJP created through very clear planning and focused execution.
What were the lessons from this branding exercise, something good to explore for any marketer. There are more to what have been discussed here. Now it is on to the NaMo team to deliver this brand promise!
[message_box title=”Disclaimer” color=”red”]The case is prepared based on secondary data and the purpose of this case study is to just bring out the key marketing strategies and techniques deployed by different firms from our perspective.[/message_box]