2/6/2014 0 Comments
This is part 2 of the 3 post series. Read part 1 here.
Passion. Commitment. Hard work
8 months. 25 states. 5187 events and 477 rallies and programmes. More than 36 Million attendees. More than 3,00,000 kilometres or 7 times the Earth’s equatorial circumference— that was the historic campaign Narendra Modi had finished. (Rahul Gandhi, the prime ministerial candidate of Congress covered 1,18,000 kilometres only)
It was a very painstaking campaign carried out at a punishing pace with Modi sometimes addressing as many as 5 rallies a day. For such a vast country with so varied geographies and demographics, campaigning successfully is in itself a challenge which Narendra Modi and his team had successfully taken and emerged victorious over. The young team behind the social media tactics and the experienced people who planned the whole campaign went through months of sleepless nights and took care that even the tiniest aspect of the campaign had been planned to perfection. Whether it is a political campaign or a business, such passion, commitment and hard work is required to succeed in today’s competitive environment.
The customer landscape is changing every day. Everyone is aware of what is happening even in the most remote locations on the other side of the world. Customers are seeking out companies whom they can trust and invest in both financially and emotionally. They need companies to be committed towards their values. This is ever more important with the increasing importance for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in almost every industry today. Customer does not want to invest in a business only to see later that the business is polluting the environment or causing disruption to the lives of the people in some country. Customer wants the business to be ethical, responsible and accountable.
Customers are seeking out companies they can trust and invest in both financially and emotionally.
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I have myself seen the problems that arise if businesses do not commit themselves towards their values. I have consulted for a renowned financial institution and was surprised to notice that even the organisation’s own employees are either not fully aware of the values of their organisation or do not believe that their organization is committed to their values. This has resulted in the employees not being fully connected to the company’s values. Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Coca Cola are just a few of several companies that have realised the importance of commitment whereas the issues being faced today by several financial consulting and banking companies would be lessons for other companies.
Both customers and employees want to be associated with companies that commit towards their ethics and values.
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Communications. Communications. Communications. And yes, Engagement
After a product that solves the problem or addresses the need of the customer, if there is one important thing in today’s world that companies have to embrace, that is communications. Communications do not merely imply news, updates or information shared with the customers. That is why I added Engagement in the heading above. Engagement implies being connected to customers. Having a dialogue with them. Understanding their needs, desires and expectations.
Do not talk about your product. Talk about what it would do for your customer.
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The main question companies need to be asking while thinking about social media to choose the right platform is where their audience are. If your customer base is active on your Facebook page or groups within your industry, then it does not make sense for you to be active on twitter (unless ofcourse you have active customer base on both).
Modi and BJP had used a lot of slogans to get into peoples’ minds. Most of them were simple. Some were unique. Minimum government, maximum governance became so well known that media was using it as headlines and captions. It clearly shows what Modi has plans for the Government and how to run it in a huge country like India. Abki baar, Modi Sarkar, meaning It Is Modi’s Government This Time, developed by the advertising agency Soho Square, was considered the most widely spread slogan of this campaign. It appeared on the buses and shops, banners and holdings, media and radio and everywhere it can. It went so deeper into the people that even the most remote villages and locations were chanting this slogan.
Not just these mass media engagement tactics, but Modi and BJP had even devised localized tactics. He developed a consistent tone and structure for his speeches — starting with addressing the people and telling them they are important and glorious, then addressing the local problems they were facing, then comparing them with Gujarat, then pointing out that Congress did no developmental activities and then promise that he will work for them and their development if given chance. He talked about the plight of farmers in some states whereas he addressed immigrant problems in the other, economic backward in one and infrastructure in another, depending on what the people want.
In the world where story telling became an important part of branding, companies need to be consistent in their communications with their customers. Let us talk about blogging, tweeting and other forms of content marketing here. Why do your customers come to your website or follow you on twitter or read your blog? For the insightful content that you share, the tips you give or the information that you provide. It is quite important, under those situations, that you retain your visitor with consistent content and its quality. If you miss a week or two, it is fine. But if your visitor does not find content on several occasions, or finds that the quality has deteriorated or you are talking about too many unrelated topics (this might or might not apply to personal branding, consultants or writers — like me but it sure applies to companies), it takes a single click to unfollow you and another click to follow your competitors. Oh you do not want that, especially with lots of choices customers have these days.
You have to provide consistent quality and value to your customers through your content.
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Brand lovers are your best advocates
What Narendra Modi has successfully achieved is a fan following. Youth and women mainly. It was estimated that women comprised of almost 55% on an average of the people attending his rallies or events. Youth was the backbone of the whole campaign of Narendra Modi. They volunteered on mouth-to-mouth marketing. They stood behind the technological marvel seen in Modi’s campaigns. They extensively shared and spread the word on social media. The branding of himself as someone who gives development the priority have resonated well with the youth and women. They became the advocates for Narendra Modi, BJP and their campaigns.
Many companies, from Apple to Ford, from Coca Cola to Zappos, have clearly proved the power of early adopters of their products who go on to become advocates of those companies. Amazon gives several offers to its customers like trying out different products for free as a return of a review and then keeping the products to themselves. These customers, who are either given offers or who are the early adopters of the company’s products, are the influencers who bring new customers to the companies through mouth-to-mouth marketing.
Turn your product’s early adopters into your brand advocates with excellent service and offers.
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If those advocates are socially looked-upto individuals, it adds weight to the company whom they support. This was seen in Modi’s campaigns too. Film celebrities openly declared their support to Modi. Even most of the news networks have subtly declared their support to Modi. All these had resonated with the people, especially the celebrities who are the influencers for their fans.
These influencers of any company take it as their responsibility to support the company. But companies should also take care to focus on these influencers and give them the best customer service and provide value to them to retain these customers. It has been proved time and again that retaining an existing customer is far more cost effective than attracting new customers.
Retaining customers is far more cost effective than attracting new customers.
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Read Part 1 here and Part 3 here.
Note: Some of the facts and figures in this article have been taken from media and public sources. You can find the complete list at the end of part 3 of this series.
This article has been written from the perspective of business management. If you have found it interesting and useful, please share it with your networks. Let us build better businesses.