Political Branding –The new age Indian democracy!

Branding, as a phenomenon, has come to characterize various facets of our life, and politics is no exception. It has reshaped the political equations and has made its presence felt during elections.

Brands in Politics

When we think of brands, we normally think of products as diverse as toothpaste, cars, airlines, or banks.

Political parties get launched as a result of social and political developments when certain sections of society feel that they have to approach certain social and political questions

Around which they gather support or they seek to defend in the face of opposition. However, with national elections looming large next year, there is yet another category of brands that will soon occupy center-stage. There are several political parties in India today. They will woo their target consumers, the voters of India, with huge marketing spend. They will create reams of advertising and wall paintings. Their leaders will travel from town to town in what will perhaps be the largest direct marketing campaigns ever mounted in the country.

Despite everything, the game is changing very fast. Much like brands, political brands also have to adapt to a new age, where so much has transformed dramatically over the past few years. Only a decade ago, the telecom revolution was not yet upon us. Thus, political parties have histories, traditions, and philosophies, which when combined with party names and symbols, create and strengthen their position and image in their voter audiences.

What are the new-age themes that political brands must bear in mind if they have to win votes?

  • Brand ambassador-

Political brands need big and powerful brand ambassadors who can reach out to the masses. These ambassadors have to be smart, telegenic, gifted with the skills of oratory. This is even more important in today's age of instant television, where the reach of brand ambassadors has multiplied thousand-fold, and sound bytes rule the hour. In fact, as the focuses of separation between political parties narrow, many more people are likely to decide on their brand selection based on their perceptions of the brand ambassador. That is why no political brand can afford to be without a strong ambassador today.

  • Leveraging technology-

Political brands that don't learn to effectively use new-age innovation can consider themselves dead, especially in urban India. Indian political brands need to build their base of social media fans; they also have to explore innovative methods of using the mobile telephone as a medium, given how ubiquitous the cell-phone is in our country. And they should begin fast, well before the run-up to the elections begins.

  • Youthful brand offering-

A brand that holds its youth offers to cutting-edge shoppers for whom remaining energetic is an optimistic state. On the other hand, brands that age often fall by the wayside. Brands stay youthful by contributing to modern products, modern plans, appealing bundling, and peppy communication. A good example of this is one of the world's finest brands, Coca-Cola, which has remained perennially youthful for several decades. It is a lesson that most of our political brands are yet to fully internalize.

They will need young and energetic leaders, fresh new ideas for the nation in at least one or two relevant areas, and communication that speaks in a youthful voice.

  • Brand slogan-

Just like a company has its brand slogan, Political parties should also inherit a brand slogan. Political brands also need equally evocative taglines or slogans, becoming rallying cries for their marketing campaigns and their supporters. Unfortunately, none of our national political parties appear to have such powerful brand taglines today.

  • The authenticity of brands-

There is a growing body of research that shows that modern consumers are increasingly drawn to brands with an authentic story, with a sincere commitment to deliver what they promise. Such authenticity helps build enormous trust in an environment where markets are crowded.

Practical implications

  • The framework developed can be used by political parties and leaders to develop their political brands. The study's framework can be used in a systematic and sequential format to verify the strength of their political branding exercise.

Political parties have to adopt new ways and strategies for their campaign. It is beneficial for both - the audience as well as the political party.