Building Brand 'Namo'

Ashita Aggarwal

Author: Ashita Aggarwal

Date: Wed, 2016-09-21 13:33

Brand Modi or ‘NaMo’ as he is titled was built over time. A ‘chaiwala’ from a humble background was positioned as a mass brand and enjoyed credibility among people because of his work in Gujarat. On the other side is Brand ‘RaGa,’ who has a family legacy and is definitely not a ‘mass’ brand. He is more recognised for his parentage rather than capability. From a brand perspective, which has a greater salience- Brand NaMo or Brand RaGa? What made ‘NaMo’ a strong brand which was so well accepted by the people of India?

There is a fundamental truth that in today’s fragmented, proliferated and diverse society, no product can succeed without marketing; if one wants to sell a product with no marketing, it will either die or remain niche and boutique.  This conforms to Drucker’s view: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two - and only two - basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.” And this statement clearly comes alive as we study Modi’s successful campaign in 2014 that made him the Prime Minister.

A good product is the backbone of a great brand

A good branding and communication plan is one of the greatest contributors to Modi’s success story, not taking away the credit of a good product and years of experience and developmental output behind him. Modi ensured that each of his accomplishments is spoken about. Many of his projects are known as India’s first, world’s biggest, Asia’s largest etc. Modi has attempted to have attention from media through his noteworthy contributions.

Lesson 1: Good product + Continuous and Consistent Communication = MARKET SHARE

Core Brand Essence

The core brand value of BJP has an element of Hindutva. This posed a danger of being perceived as communal. However, rather than running away from the core of the brand, Modi accepted it gracefully but as ‘developmental Hindutva’. The Hindutva imagery was delivered subliminally through backdrops or references to local temples and deities; it adhered to attire, speeches, actions and behaviours but was never part of the main storytelling.

Lesson 2: Accept your core brand value and make it your strength rather than weakness as people can’t isolate brands from their core essence.

Brand Personification

One of the prime reasons for BJP's victory is personification of its brand image. Eight out of 10 brands fail not because of a bad product but because they do not have a clearly defined personality. BJP personified the party image by declaring Modi as their candidate for Prime Minister. This helped people visualise the face of the party. On the other hand, the Congress kept the country guessing. There was no ‘one’ face/imagery for the party. Though Rahul Gandhi seemed to be leading the campaign, he was not officially declared as the PM candidate. Such ambiguity led people to make guesses and define their own imagery for the Congress, adding to the confusion.

Lesson 3:  Give the brand a clearly defined personality rather than leaving this task to customers. It’s good to have one single identity rather than multiple imagery perceptions for the brand as human beings interact and build relationship with people and not non-living entities. 

Consumer Insight

Modi repeatedly kept saying that 60% of the Indian population comprises youth and he made sure that he is reaching out to this segment. His target was the educated and aspirational middle class Indian. BJP understood the pulse of this young India. They knew that their intended segment wants a magnanimous and strong leader who will talk to them and make some tough choices on critical issues.  They prefer a leader who may not be ‘humble’ but can deliver good governance. The BJP campaign reached out to the young generation of this nation who is frustrated with the current Indian political scenario and is looking for a change. They are hardworking and hopeful and Modi appealed and touched this ‘hope’ residing in young India.

Also, the BJP understood that most young people are not loyalists of a party. They are neutral and would prefer someone who could take the country on a growth journey. The current political environment dissuaded this group to vote as they couldn’t find any difference among political parties/ candidates. The BJP therefore latched on the opportunity to convert these neutrals to positive. Their campaign ‘Achhe din aane vale hain’ and ‘Abki baar, Modi sarkaar’ reflected hope and change. However, this also meant that Modi had to persuade these people to ‘vote’ and not be mere spectators.

Lesson 4: Build your brand and communication strategy ‘outside-in’ and not 'inside-out’. Understand what your customers want, what are their concerns and not what you want them to accept and use.

Single minded proposition

For a brand to succeed, it has to stand for single minded proposition/ promise. Modi is clearly positioned as a synonym for development. This brand promise was reinforced by the Gujarat case study and vociferous support from industry veterans. Whereas brand RaGa could not find a clear and differentiated positioning for himself, apart from the feel of reassurance and pedigree as a scion of the Nehru dynasty. But was Modi’s positioning communicated effectively? Experts believe that Brand Modi was clearly positioned and communicated well, whereas the same was not true for Brand RaGa. A single minded focused proposition helps a brand establish itself strongly with the consumer.

Lesson 5: Positioning is the most important and critical brand asset. It is important to identify the ‘node’ you wish to occupy in the consumer’s mind. Do not try to be too many things for your consumer as you may end up being none.

Weave emotion into your brand story

Modi through his speeches appealed to the deepest sentiments of his audience. He began with positive reinforcement and reminded people of their strengths and achievement. He then moved on to talk about local problems and contrasting their condition with the position in Gujarat. Modi also used comparative appeal by highlighting the ineffectiveness of Congress governments over 60 years and the promise of a grand future with BJP. Such a storytelling approach connected him with people as it was built on their current concerns and goals.

Lesson 6: Brands are built on emotions and a strong consistent emotion can find you a special place in the consumer’s mind.

Brand Reinforcement through brand design and symbols

The lotus on Modi’s shirt was difficult to miss. The brand reinforced its image by incorporating a clearly identifiable logo (lotus) at every touch point.  The moment one thinks of NaMo, the colour saffron comes to mind. All brand communication property extensively used the brand colour to break the clutter and stand out tall. The other associations created through brand symbols included achievement orientation, forward looking and a change agent. Modi extensively used brand colour and symbol in his campaign backdrops thus reinforcing brand recall. RaGa on the other brand had no clear and strong association with secularism or white colour except for the ‘hand’ as its election symbol. Also, saffron is a stronger colour and sits in the consumer’s mind helping to create greater recognition and differentiation.

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The making of brand NAMO got started 2-3 years back before the 2014 election. And to sell the product the target customer was rightly chosen as young and vibrant youth. The branding helped to change the focus of development. The emotions, hopes and aspiration of emergent India got connected to development and transformation of global power. The branding used non conventional means of social media, reaching out all youngsters and showing how the transformation of young India will be done to make it better place to live and work. Not only social media but simpler form of communication in hindi “Aache din Ayenge” was used in rallies for targeting rural India. The impact of Namo brand was like “TsuNamo”. The brand Namo was good to explore for marketer, but how it delivers let us see.

Mam your article perfectly reflects on how and why Brand NaMo helped BJP in getting the biggest electoral victory for any party. As rightly stated by you the reasons for such a humongous adoption of NaMo were for sure a good product being marketed effectively to right set of target audience. I think NaMo was also able to sell what his target audience needed the most - Hope. Hope of having a corruption and crime free India. Hope of having a better future. Human beings always aspire to be on that OTHER side of the pasture hoping to have better prospects. In recent years many leaders have been able to capture this human emotion. Barack Obama during his first election campaign was able to connect with people with his slogan – Yes We Can. US was suffering from economic uncertainties and huge debts post wars. Obama came and delivered what was required at that time – hope. In India during 2008, Big scams – 3g, Coal, Commonwealth were exposed. People were fed up with rampant corruption. Modi was able to convey the right message needed at that time– Ache Din Aayenge. The same thing happened in recent US elections. Trump was able to connect to middle class of US which was suffering from Job losses, debts and unemployment. Their American dream was collapsing , US the biggest economy in the world was outsourcing jobs to China , India and Mexico. Trump connected with these dissatisfied citizens with his right message – Lets Make America Great Again.

Ma’am, reading this blog was really a recap of Marketing Management 1. I found it really interesting to look at the political campaign through the lens of marketing. I agree with you that marketing played a crucial role in getting BJP and Narendra Modi to power in the 2014 elections. Before the elections begin I did not believe that Mr. Modi was a suitable leader for the country. This view point of mine was mainly because; in my mind Mr. Modi was associated with the unfortunate incidents that took place in Gujarat in 2002. I am not trying to suggest that I was right or wrong in doing so, but merely pointing out how Mr. Modi was viewed as by many like us before the elections of 2014. It is worth mentioning that I had lived in Gujarat from 2012 to 2014 and I had first-hand experience of the development it had achieved. As a result of all this, although I did associate Mr. Modi with development and growth, but I was not sure of the whether he would be achieve the same for India as a whole. And I still continued to associate him with religious bias. What the marketing campaign of BJP during the 2014 elections succeeded in achieving was to create a stronger connect of brand NaMo with development and growth than any other aspect. But this blog also makes me wonder if was marketing the most critical factor that led to this result. How important a part did the performance of the Congress government in the previous term play? Would it have been possible to achieve this result if the country had another option that promised growth as well as a lack of association with any religious outfit?

A complete branding exercise put in a clear and straightforward way. The Brand “Namo” stood out throughout the campaign which led to the landslide victory of BJP in the national assembly elections. Congress on the other hand failed to recognize that they will have re-invent themselves by carrying out the re-branding exercise as the legacy brand has taken a massive hit due to bad governance in their previous terms which led to debacle in the assembly elections. The people of India who are the apparent customers have changed in the way they think, hence a refinement in political campaigns are imminent. Today due to this change, political parties are forced to re-think like Corporate in understanding the minds of their customers and devising a strategy to create a brand that leaves a lasting impression even after the campaign is over. This task of revisiting the strategy doesn’t end in one election but election after election, major or minor, a new strategy is implemented which helps in creating a long lasting image for the brand in the minds of customers. Segmentation of a brand is equally important in addition to the creation of a brand image. To explain with an example a wrong pitch for NaMo brand to the less educated and less informed societal class could have backfired considering that they are not much aware of the latest happenings. Convincing the people of this class would have been a time consuming effort and a very less probability of conversion rate. Hence it further more important to have an extensive research before segmentation. Last but not the least every brand assurances should be backed by their credibility on performance which could help in making a story. NaMo had a credible track record which RaGa lacked and this eventually was an ice-breaker for BJP to stand-out.

The blog authored by Dr. Ashita Aggarwal is very holistic in its approach while dealing with the subject of Narendra Modi and how the BJP went about building the brand ‘Namo’ for its Prime Ministerial elect. It provides insights into the careful planning that went into building brand ‘Namo’ and positioning him among other things the champion for development. India is a vibrant and young country owing to the sizeable proportion of its population that resides below the age of 35 years of age. The past decade of the UPA rule was marred by corruption, crony capitalism and a lack of governance. Every single week there were scandals being unearthed running to the tune of hundreds and in some cases thousands of crores which made the country very restless and desperate for change. The BJP being out of power for 10 years had a task at hand but after they identified Mr. Modi to lead their campaign for 2014, it was admirable and pleasing to see the kind of work that went behind projecting him as the messiah of the people and his credentials as an able administrator, 10 years of rule as the chief minister of Gujarat with no single taint of corruption and a no-nonsense taskmaster only helped. The country was eager for change and as projected in this write up by Dr. Ashita the BJP caught the pulse of the nation and Mr. Modi kept catering to the youth by talking about jobs, development and ushering in a new era under his leadership. The saffron party reigned in their motormouths and Mr. Modi campaigned extensively across the length and breadth of the country speaking in only one voice and that was of development. What helped strengthen Mr. Modi as the frontrunner in the run-up to the polls was an absolute vacuum of leadership at the other end in the form of Rahul Gandhi. Having no considerable record in public service to boast of, an image of being a part time politician and not being able to connect with the youth led to his party being literally whitewashed at the General Elections. The country handed the BJP captained by Mr. Modi the most decisive mandate in decades, a clear majority at the centre with the hope of putting India back on the path of growth and prosperity.

This article is a good illustration of how the principles of marketing can be used not only for a product but also to build a personality. BJP and Namo have applied all the fundamental principles of marketing such as segmentation, targeting, positioning and branding with utmost precision and as a result were awarded with the unprecedented and convincing victory in 2014 election. However, value proposition and brand awareness have limitation if they are not substantiated with the promised performance. In this case, the credibility of the brand Namo was established among the people of India because people could relate the brand promise and the value proposition with the good governance in Gujarat. In the contrary, the poll promises by Raga were perceived by people to be another rhetoric not supported by ground reality and hence could not establish any credibility among the voters. In order to have a sustained competitive advantage, it’s important that, the performance of the brand is exceeding and if not at least matching with the value proposition.

It is a very beautifully written article, which tells how, by applying the Marketing Strategies of Philip Kotler and Keller, the BJP went about branding Narendra ‘Namo’ Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate. Power, politics, style - the 'Nehru jacket' has inferred all this and more in the world of diplomacy for more than half a century. What was once considered a must-have for Congress stalwarts has now got a BJP tadka with PM Narendra Modi's personal rendition to the design. The tale of the Modi kurta - is well known. This is how Narendra Modi and his campaign squad have used some very innovative and timely decisions that have helped give extraordinary prominence .I have also tried to cover some of the strategies that have worked: NaMo understood the Consumer Insights: Advertisement of Fogg deodorants distinguishes itself from competition saying that we are ‘All deodorant, No gas” vis-a-vis its competitors. Similarly market researches of BJP found that the brand value of Narendra Modi is much higher than that of the BJP. Therefore, they took the decision to project Narendra Modi instead of projecting BJP or the NDA in all their campaigns. NaMo crafted his brand positioning: He targeted different audiences and segments. They used TV to influence the average man, Internet to reach out to the youngsters who are online most of the time. They reached rural people through road shows and rallies. Instead of overseeing the larger part of the young population BJP connected to them. This was how, NaMo not only put across his message to the older generation but also the younger generation. NaMo chose the digital platform: NaMo, recognized and planned to leverage all forms of social media platforms where he could easily connect with the majority of Indians as he was anyway able to connect with the rest of population through rallies and other social gatherings arranged by his party. He leveraged various digital media platforms -with around 29,738,190 followers on micro-blogging site Twitter and over 41676150 likes on his Facebook page; Modi is the first Indian politician to have such a great presence on social media. NaMo prepared a Catchy Slogan: There are slogans in marketing. ‘Amul- the taste of India’, Surf-‘ Daag Acche hain’.Similarly, BJP decided to have a catchy slogan. ‘Ab ki Bar, Modi Sarkar’. It was extremely catchy and easy on the tongue. Even the non-Hindi speakers could comprehend what it stood for and they could easily eloquent it. So, it resonated with everybody. NaMo made it more interactive: Customers now care more about the relationship and trust that you have built. Make them to talk, listen to them and let them feel that their views truly matter. This is what NaMo did by launching various campaigns on social media sites destined to make people talk, such as the ‘Chai pe Charcha’ campaign that made people to express their views on.

Please accept my hearty appreciation for your blog on Namo Branding and superb co-relation with theories of segmentation of market, targeting a segment and positioning the brand. Indeed, NaMo brigade not only worked hard but they worked smart as well. They executed “Lead-Think-Plan-Act” very well. All the lessons drawn by you from BJP’s performance in 2014 truly reflect and fully correlate stage involved in launch of product and establishing that as a brand! Namo Team started from scratch and analysed the regions where there was potential of vote-shift specially among the youths (including the first time voters) who were more or less neutral (or say confused). BJP came with the strategy to talk about the things in which youths would be interested the most. It was ensured that Modi’s speeches would contain adjectives related to Young and Energetic India. NaMo team divided the whole India into different segments, according to the demography of population, caste, issues, lack of development, 2009 performance, sensitiveness, position of regional & national parties in that area, etc. Exhaustive profiling was done. It was in same line when a company creates segments of customers basis age, gender, income, behaviors, etc. and then makes it measurable. Targeting of these segments was exhaustively planned. Modi travelled more than 3 lac kilometres and addressed 437 big rallies and 5827 events. Besides him all major ministers were holding rallies. Logistics were very strategic. They used more or less same words in their speeches. Time was the major constraint and goal was to access each and every “potential” and individually substantial segment within available time. They used social media and newest communication technologies extensively. BJP didn’t let their image building process slow down or die at any point of time. Their efforts not only resulted into huge win but opened the gates in the states where they were very marginal viz. Assam, J&K, WB & Kerala. BJP’s vote percentage doubled. Dear Madam, you have rightly pointed out that positioning is the most important and critical brand asset. It is very important to occupy the mind space of the consumer. It must stick. Modi team talked about deprivation made by public and nation under Congress rule and branded himself as the game changer and created hope in public’s mind. If the brand is positioned effectively, public connect with the product as a brand. Same thing happened with Modi campaign. Modi’s positioning statement was clear: Modi = Development, Modi = End of Dynasty Rule, Modi = No Corruption, Modi = More Governance, Less Government. We can relate this rigorous enforcement by some brands viz. Xerox, Surf and Colgate. Their brand positioning is so strong that people have replaced copy word with Xerox, people call all washing powders as Surf and all tooth pastes as Colgate. Brand Positioning Statements made by Modi’s marketing team e.g. “Abki bar Modi Sarkar”, “Acchhe din aane wale hai..”, “the more muck you throw at me, the more the lotus will blossom”, “Give me a strong government, I'll give you a strong India”, “We want a 'skilled India', but Congress has created a 'Scam India' in 10 years”, “Their agenda is Modi , BJP's agenda is India”, “Punish the 'Maa-Beta' government that has ruined the country”, “I have sold tea, but I never sold my country” and “Northeast is Ashta Lakshmi, needs a Lotus. All were well crafted sticky ideas. These ideas were simple, concrete, credible and carried emotional quotient. Moreover, in each rally Modi used to come out with new unexpected punch line to make everyone talk about and hit the headlines. This helped him to establish long lasting impression in the minds of people. Modi’s achievements as a CM of Gujarat were strong story teller of his governance style. This helped him to position himself quickly. A company’s goodwill, in similar way, helps in establishing a new product. The company has to live his brand everywhere every moment. Similarly Modi projected himself in the attire which was reflection of his and his party’s ideology. Congress on other hand, in comparison, could not even reach near to him. They underestimated Modi wave and passed comments like “chaiwala” for which they paid heavily price. Congress had some accomplishments to talk about but list of corruption and unfulfilled promises was much longer. So they talked only against Modi as a person. Congress had issue of quality of leadership. They have plenty of experienced leaders but due to absence of democracy within their internal set-up, no eligible leader is able to come in front. While on the other hand BJP organised themselves very well from top level to worker level and unanimously elected Modi as their face of leadership well in advance. This gave the whole BJP Team a sense of direction, feel of confidence and clarity of goal. Dear Professor, 2014 Loksabha Election was a great show of Marketing elegance, Branding intelligence, Image development, Team Building and Motivation, Leadership qualities, Management styles, Logistic network, Technology savviness and Communication skills and top of above magician of Politics Mr. Narendra Modi himself.. Each and every aspect of it is certainly a very good model to understand the complexities of management studies….

I remember during my several debate on MODI between 2010 to 2013 before MODI is declared as PM Candidate of BJP, I was very strongly opposed by several Intellectual and general public that MODI is extremely bad choice, managing state like Gujarat and INDIA is different, He is not secular, He is massacre of Gujarat Riots , he should not become INDIA PM no one will vote for him, etc. Infact I have twitted on twitter that he is best Prime Minister Choice for the country and BJP declared him as PM than BJP will come as majority on its own and equally I had strong response against the same. Looking at this Background is building Brand Namo was easy for think tank of BJP who declared him as PM Candidate? How did they manage transition of Brand NAMO from Regional to National so it became acceptable to all including regional political parties. To succeed Brand NAMO, BJP has used technique called STP of marketing which is popularly known as SEGMENTING – Less than 30 years , Greater than 30 year to 50 years and Greater than 50 years , Target = They have focused on Youth, Neo Middle Class and Woman , they come up with concept of Woman empowerment, aspiration of Neo Middle class and Power of youth by stating that today our young people change the world order by MOUSE which was never ever projected very strongly in any election of INIDA and Positioning : There by declaring NAMO as PM, BJP communicated his work in Gujarat by providing factual figure in comparison with several parameter in Graphical way on various Social Media Platform which motivated voters since first time they have seen comparison which are authenticated by several reputed oeganisation. To remove image of Gujarat Riot BJP came with slogan “SABKA SATH SABKA VIKAS”. They moved forward Slogan such as INDIA First , Constitution of India is our dharma, this has created effect on general public who were in dilemma whether he will be secular or not. Beside this the way Dr. Ashita Aggarwal pointed out was blend beautifully with all various strategies and of course the Hardwork of Mr MODI who had travelled across INDIA restless. Election campaign of 2014 & UP Election of 2016 is the one of the best learning case studies for management graduate who wants to build brand from zero to success. People who will decode this over the period will be one of the best marketer Gloablly.

I must say this is one of the most balanced article on Narendra Modi. Writing on politics or on big political figure without being biased is a very tough task. As a marketing expert, Dr Ashita has clearly stated the reasons for the success of Brand ‘NaMo’. In marketing we use 2 approaches. First, getting success by using successful marketing techniques. Second, getting the examples of successful brands and learn from that. From Apple to Facebook to Alibaba to Tata to Brand ‘Obama’ to Brand ‘NaMo’; all come under second approach. These all ‘Brands’ established new definitions of marketing and amazed all existing marketing experts. Brand NaMo was not established overnight in India. 20 years back, till late 90s, nobody in India knew who was Narendra Modi. Then 1 day Keshubhai Patel was ousted by BJP’s strongest leadership Vajpayee ji and Advani Ji. Suddenly a new leader emerged from RSS background but caught in the controversy of 2002 Gujrat riots. But after that, Gujrat became riot-free state and Narendra Modi tried his best to overcome from his controversial image by putting all his energy for the development of Gujrat. For first 10 years, he was just concentrating in Gujrat to showcase it at global platform. Rann Mahotsav to Pravasai Sammellan to Vibrant Gujrat were the base of Brand NaMo. As Dr Ashita wrote, a good product is the backbone of a great brand, success of NaMo started coming out of the Gujrat to penetrate the minds of young Indians. NaMo became the name of success, development and hope for the future of GenX & GenY. When all other political parties were targeting only Modi, this fight became NaMo vs All. Congress, NCP, SP, BSP, RJD were busy targeting Hindutva image of Modi, and Modi was actually enjoying this establishment and conversion of Modi to Brand NaMo because of these daily attacks on his Hindutva image . In 1 rally, Modi even said “Love Me or Hate Me, but you can’t ignore me”. Means he was very much clear that his brand should always be in highlights with a better recall value. Earlier Modi was not even the first choice of BJP, but Modi not only kept defeating competition, but also became the first choice within the party because of huge public support. As stated above in the blog about Brand RaGa, I want to say there is no Brand RaGa in Indian politics. We can’t call it as a brand, rather day by day it is becoming failed product of a big company. In the SWOT analysis of NaMo, Opposition parties kept attacking Modi’s Hindutva image but Modi converted this weakness into his strength. He has beautifully segmented Indian voter into Geographic, Demographic, Psychographic & behavioural aspects and knows how to establish his brand in 30+ states of India. From his body language, confidence, way of speaking, Half sleeves kurta, targeted speeches to Modi-jackets everything became the characteristics of Brand NaMo. Inspite of some tough decisions like Demonetization or GST or Kashmir stand, Brand NaMo is continuously rising. Now, Brand NaMo is changing Indian politics from Monopolistic and Oligopoly to Monopoly market. Yes as written in the blog, Brands are built on emotions but only great brands can sustain in the market. False promises can give the success only once, but Brand NaMo is built on its value & quality with fulfilment of promises for last 17 years. Good brands have good taglines to remember e.g. Raymond’s The Complete Man, Hamara Bajaj, Chal Meri Luna, I love you Rasna, Amul The taste of India; So as Brand NaMo : ‘Achhe din aane vale hain’and ‘Abki baar Modi sarkaar’ which are not only delivering the catchy lines, but also fulfilling the required brand image & recall value with a brand promise in world’s biggest democracy’s voters’ minds.

Amazing write up! One perspective that I would want to add is about how Brand NaMo has evolved in the last three years. Brand is a symbolic word, which helps us associate, remember and recall. One would generally build a brand on the ideal properties of a commodity. In branding a commodity we reduce it to an object of desire, or a message with symbolic power. As someone rightly said, brand and customers alike, do evolve. Three years of Narendra Modi in office is three years of production and consumption of NaMo in public life and like every other human brand, the NaMo brand has evolved in the following manner during this course. 1. Core values rock solid : Like every popular brand, brand NaMo has evolved without changing its core values. The core values being decisiveness, discipline, confident, commanding and always in control. Take Apple for example, its branding strategy has transformed from one of challenging the status quo to one that sets new standards in a number of product categories. But the core of the brand concept has always been Innovation. Similarly brand NaMo's core values have not been shaken at all in the last three years. On the other hand we look like brands like that of the Delhi chief minister, which has faltered in sticking to its core values. 2. Negatives giving way to positives: Up until the 2014 General Elections and even after a year in office, there was a strong anti-streak on how Narendra Modi was perceived: Anti-muslim, anti-congress and anti-corruption. Over time, there has been a gradual development of a positive aura around him. There is a more of pro stance in how he is perceived today: pro-development, pro-girl child, pro-digitisation, pro-youth, pro-poor. 3. Aligning Brand NaMo to Brand India: Brand Modi has evolved to become synonymous to brand India. It very well depicts the aspirations of the growing middle class population. It efficiently portrays the rich culture and heritage, the celebration of the Yoga day for example. It exemplifies talent, tradition, trade, tourism and technology. Earlier it was about an individual. The narrative has progressed from being a cult figure to aligning it to the national agenda. 4. Appeal across social strata, age group, caste and gender: Narendra Modi has been able to cultivate this larger than life figure of a visionary leader. Majority of Indians see their own aspiration aligning with his grand vision. Modi has been able to sell the big picture to the people. Be it entrepreneurship, girl child education, sanitation, cleanliness, financial inclusion, demonetisation or digitisation people, are able to see every step as progressive towards the grand vision of "a better India for every Indian". People are also ready to ignore any shortfalls along the way.

The blog is very insightful as it describes the marketing strategy adopted by the BJP in 2014 elections by associating it with various marketing concepts. The detailed structure with crisp bifurcation into various lessons made it easy to understand. Generally, case studies of corporate products and services are studied to understand the theories; however, this blog was refreshing as it described marketing in a political campaign. In today’s world, according to me major wars would be fought on the marketing field and this blog shows how the election war between Congress and BJP was based on marketing strategy and how the BJP was able to sway the decision of its consumers, i.e. Indian citizens in its favour. It is very well known that the USA Presidential Elections in 2008, were based on “The Marketing of a President”, which was instrumental for the victory of Barack Obama. In order to achieve its strategic objective of winning elections, the consumer problems were understood by BJP. The nation was in a tense state after a dismal Congress regime. This was addressed by marketing heavily on the promise and hope of someone who had proven his mettle as the champion of a state. BJP struck when the iron was hot. The problem of no differentiation between political parties and candidates was addressed by declaring Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate. On the other hand, Congress did not introduce a candidate and kept people guessing which only aggravated the Indian voter. The Integrated Marketing Communications strategy adopted by BJP on various platforms with unique slogans such as ‘Achhe din aane vale hain’ and ‘Abki baar, Modi sarkaar’ were different from the commonly used slogans on poverty and development. These slogans were easy to understand by the Non-Hindi speakers as well. This created a unique proposition and mass targeting. It has been specifically mentioned in the blog that a good product is the backbone of a great brand. Also, it is important to focus on core brand essence and position it in the minds of the consumers. BJP accepted Hindutva as its core brand value and promoted it without making it a part of the main campaign. I agree that core brand essence should not be diluted. However, in my view a brand should identify the consumer behaviour and modify its brand value. Though India has myriad of cultures, the hope of secularism is very important for all citizens. One of the major weaknesses of BJP was that it was not considered a secular party; steps were not taken to address this issue. Maybe by addressing this view, it could have reached out to more segments of the society. While the “Hindutva” brand was successful in the elections of 2014, will it be sustainable as a long-term strategy for BJP in today’s dynamic Indian society? When should brands modify their core values in order to keep it relevant with the changing market? These are a few questions that I cannot answer, but can ponder upon.

Thank you, ma’am, for such an interesting blog. The very idea of ‘branding’ in politics is in itself so exciting and the way you have brought out its essence is even more intriguing. I am in complete agreement with your point that in today’s world for anything to be known by the people, be it a product, service, idea or even a person, branding and marketing are of utmost importance. We have all been through the phase of Modi campaigning and have seen Shri Narendra Modi become India’s Prime Minister, but what it entailed along with was the brand creation, the development of the brand ‘NaMo’ which in itself created a spark in the minds of people. In contrast to this we see the other brand, ‘RaGa’ which failed to create any kind of an impact on the people despite of having a deep political legacy. Branding of a politician is not much different from the branding of a product, since the main idea is to make it sell, in this case to get the people to vote. So why is it that one party failed and the other succeeded? Just as the branding of a product requires it to have a good product, a core brand value to build upon as a strength, target the right audience and devise strategies as per customer needs and demands, similar are the situations in a political arena which requires it to meet the demands of the nation and position itself in the minds of the people. BJP has been able to this very well through its various campaigns like ‘Achhe din aane waale hai’ which brought out its positive outlook, raising hopes in the mind of the nation for a better future. To add on to these perspectives, I feel that apart from the branding and marketing successes and failures of the two political parties, what worked for BJP and what did not work for the Congress party was their past. The Congress party had the Nehru legacy and had been ruling the country for decades. Despite that it failed, mainly due to its poor governance over the years, redundancy and inability to lead the country towards growth and progress. At this time when the country was filled with vibrant energy and longing for development, the BJP gave the country a face, the face of a leader with strong views, with a willingness to understand the youth and its requirements and someone who had proved his mettle as the chief minister of Gujarat by taking the state way ahead of the nation. The consumers today have become smart and are no longer driven by false claims and promises. They are brand conscious but only to such an extent where they receive value out of the product and the brand ‘NaMo’ has been capable in proving itself with every passing day as it is changing the scenario of Indian politics through its process of value creation.

This blog beautifully links politics with marketing and explains how BJP used marketing concepts of segmentation, targeting, positioning and branding for record breaking victory in 2014 elections. It provides insight into the planning done by BJP to create Narendra Modi (Namo) a brand with a promise of prosperous future. I had never recognized NaMo as a leader of India due to some unfortunate incidents that occurred in Gujarat. But his actual capability is reflected by the growth of Gujarat during his tenure as Chief Minister. It was only 1-2 years prior to elections that a BJP started branding Narendra Modi. BJP ran a 360-degree, full-fledged campaign that included mass media, online and social media and events and on-ground activities including rallies targeting the youth sector. The best advertising brains- Prasoon Joshi, Piyush Pandey were used for creating BJP anthem and lead campaign tag line ‘Ab Ke bar Modi Sarkar’. Clearly, the communication focussed on Narendra Modi. Message ‘Achhe Din Ayenge’ was also used to target rural sector of India. Throughout the campaign, Modi’s image was omnipresent by full front-page advertisement in newspaper, across television channels in commercials and huge hoardings across cities. It was first time in India when BJP used digital media strategy to reach out to people. According to research agency IMRB International, 4 million Twitter users out of 13.31 million active users followed NaMo during election campaign. BJP has made the best use of technology by sending pre-recorded video messages to remote villages. On the other hand, BJP was also benefitted by their opponent in three ways. First - Delayed announcement of RaGa as PM candidate by congress. Due to short time period, people could not frame RaGa as PM. Second – Selection of Raga for PM candidature, who lacks experience in comparison to track record of NaMo. Third- The nightmare interview of RaGa by TV host Arnab Goswami prior to elections. The meticulous work done by NaMo in last 10 years for economic transformation of Gujarat made BJP to highlight him as a brand and position him as an indication of national economic growth. Even after winning election, Modi’s government has followed marketing strategies and highlighted every action taken by government in benefit of public. People have ignored his shortfalls and appreciated every step taken by him whether it is Demonetization, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Digitalization or implementation of GST.

I am really proud of Narendra Modi, and I feel great when I discuss anything about this great Indian personality. The man, who once sold tea, became chief minister of Gujarat, and it happened only because he had a vision. I write many interesting things about Narendra Modi in my blog

Thank you very much for writing a nice article on brand building. The article clearly states the role of marketing in building the Brand in today’s competitive scenario. To reinforce further it is even difficult to build a brand in politics and it takes lot of year and thoughts to do that. I strongly agree on author’s view point and content that brand essence, brand personification, consumer insights, single minded proposition, emotions into brand and reinforcement of a brand through design of the brand has played a great role in building brand “NaMo”. To add on “NaMO” is strategic brand rather than just a brand like “RaGa”. Below are the steps how BJP/Narendra Modi achieved it : Step 1: Narendra Modi came to Gujrat as CM of the state without having deep roots in Gujarat politics at that time. Moreover, it was a tough time for the state, though it was prosperous state but was not growing. Earlier politician used to talk about Roti, Kapda and Makan to get the votes, which was a traditional way of thinking any politician had in those days. NaMo shared his strong vision bases on Development of Gujarat and hit the right nail and quickly made and impact on people’s mind as a promising leader. Moreover, he started connecting with people on the bases of emotion by saying “my 5 Crore Gujarati brothers and sisters” and they will be part of Gujarat’s development. Because of that Gujarat’s development was phenomenal during those 14 years in terms of infrastructure, industrial growth, corporates growth etc., Step 2: Looking at the Narendra Modi’s popularity in the state of Gujarat, BJP decided to capitalize it on national level. They started their working way before 2014 election and strongly worked on the target population. They segmented the target population and choose to attract 35% of the population who are youngsters, middle-class families, business man etc., who generally were not much interested in politics. With nicely designed campaigns BJP targeted that population and connect with them strongly and 2014 election became a great victory for them.

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