9/6/2014 0 Comments
This is the part 3 of the 3-part series. Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here.
Competition. Planning. Strategy
In any field, be it politics or business, competition plays a vital role in company’s strategic decisions. No company can say that they decide their strategy solely based on their own performance metrics. They simply HAVE to take competition into consideration.
Companies take competitors into consideration to make strategic decisions.
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Modi’s campaign was planned more than a year ago. Data — large amounts of data — was collected and analysed. There was a team for analytics, another team for planning, another for social media branding, and everyone was involved. He orated in events like Google Big Tent and showcased his popularity in events like India Today Conclave where he talked about Gujarat Development Model in detail.
When it seemed like the Congress party was gaining grounds in Uttar Pradesh, Modi’s team had taken steps. Uttar Pradesh is so strategically important in Indian elections that it is often assumed that the party that gets highest number of Parliamentary seats in this state would form the Government at national level. With the data they had, Modi’s team had come up with a plan on short notice that made Modi so formidable in the state. The National Digital Operations Centre in the party’s Delhi HQ updated the schedule on Facebook and Tweeted about Modi’s new schedule. The App India272+ was updated too. Within no time, the total 2.5 Million active volunteers working for Modi’s campaign across the country were updated with the new developments. By the time Modi gave his speech in Uttar Pradesh, mainly a constituency named Amethi from where the prime minister candidate of Congress, Rahul Gandhi, was contesting, an 8 minute video showing the backwardness of Amethi was circulating on YouTube and being Tweeted extensively. The tweets, the video and the updates added a 360 experience to this campaign. Such was the planning that went behind it. Nevertheless, in spite of such vigorous planning and execution, Congress had won, once again, from that constituency.
This example only goes to tell us that, even with extensive analytics and big data, planning and efficient execution of tactics and strategy, companies may face challenges from the competition. Then, it becomes even more important that companies try to restrict these challenges as much as possible and try to turn them into victories.
When Congress commented on Modi asking him to go and sell tea like he did before he came into politics, he even turned that to his advantage. BJP launched a unique program Chai pe charcha, meaning Discussion over Tea which was carried out on 4000 locations. ‘’I used to sell tea on trains, I know how hard it is to make a living’’, said he clearly indicating that he has utmost respect towards even the overlooked jobs. This has stirred a lot of response in people that tea sellers started quoting Modi and his pictures appeared on tea flasks and pots all across the country.
Authenticity is most probably the most important trait any company can have that would retain loyal customers. Modi has shown the traits throughout his campaign, though in many instances, that can be doubted. Modi clearly has his past of religious affiliation working against him but he tried to change the perceptions of the voters with his new strategy of focusing on development. Whereas Congress was still using communalism and secularism as its main weapons, Modi moved on to development. While Congress played religious and geographical politics, Modi used the country’s development as his goal. Congress helped Modi a lot in winning by not being proactive and engaging with the people in its campaign.
Modi has tried to be authentic in his talks about development. He has tried to be authentic in his commitment towards the voters. Whether all that was real and whether that has affected his victory is based on everyone’s own perception.
We are already aware that, in today’s world, companies need to be proactive. They need to address customers’ concerns before someone somewhere tweet about the bad customer service experience they had had. Companies need to communicate clearly before a post rose out of misunderstanding appear on the company’s Facebook page. Clear information helps customers, investors and employees of the company. I have seen companies where even the employees did not have clarity on what strategic considerations and goals of the top management were. If the employees themselves are not clear, what can companies expect from the customers? If you are strict regarding the usage of child labour or labour exploitation, show it. If you do not use sweatshops, talk about it. The recent release of the list of companies that use sweatshops has caused quite a stir. If you are against it, this might be the right time to show it.
Authenticity is a must for companies to retain loyal customers.
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Consumers want to be associated with the companies they believe do not get involved in exploitation, discrimination or unethical business practices. Be proactive in communicating about your business practices. Be authentic about them. There is nothing more powerful than loyal consumers. There is nothing more important that engaging with them and showing them that you adhere to your values and win their trust.
Companies should engage with customers authentically and communicate business practices and values.
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Narendra Modi, one of the most controversial leaders in India, has managed to create a personality cult in just a year. This shows how different aspects of planning, communications and engagement with customers can help businesses establish themselves as the best in their industries. But, with this glorious sweeping victory, Modi has raised expectations in everyone, in the country and in the rest of the world. Can Modi live upto these expectations is a question that is pondering over in everyones’ minds after one month of his coming to power.
A lot of responsibility lies on his shoulders now. To do what he promised to do. To show in actions what he had said in words. To make his promises reality and develop the country in a way no previous leader has done. Can he live upto it — Will he live upto it — is a mystery we all have to wait and see.
Managing expectations is vital for companies. Underpromising, overpromising, both are risky.
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Talking about expectations is always challenging for any company. You under promise something and you do not raise enough interest in your customers. You overpromise and you run the risk of under delivering. We have seen these trends mostly in tech environment where companies promise awe inspiring innovation and fall flat on delivery or promise world changing technology and show something that is merely an advanced version of an existing technology. This can be easily managed with enough market research and asking the consumers what they want and what they expect from the companies they love. Whatever may be the field, companies need to live upto the expectations of their customers thereby keeping up their loyalty and interest in the company’s products.
Consumers tend to expect more and more every time a new product is announced or a new update is released. These expectations can be easily controlled by effective communication between the companies and their customers prior to the release of new products or features and by engaging with the influencer groups within their customers. Social media has made it easier to engage with the consumers today and companies are already using its power to talk about the new rollouts even before they are actually rolled out.
Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
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.