February 4, 2010

Marketing in Politics


I came home early today, bunking a couple of lectures to retire to the comfort of my fingers hitting the keys. I always have lived life by making my decisions through a tradeoff, be it a professional problem or a personal dilemma. That’s what I did today too, the inclination towards sitting for the drooling lecture was strong as my attendance is falling again thanks to the work that keeps me occupied but the propensity to make an opinion that was gathering like an opinion in my mind was stronger.

I switched on the television in the early morning and was greeted by the ShivSena v/s SRK confrontation; it’s all over the papers, on twitter, Facebook and perhaps in every Indian’s mind which has an opinion. The latest I have heard is the ShivSena leader, Uddhav Thackeray showing his indifference to his party’s act by saying that if SRK doesn’t retrace his statements, he cannot guarantee anything. But the problem is that he is just a leader of a fanatical party who is struggling to keep its foothold in the market of Indian politics and by saying such remarks what is he to gain? Perhaps, he won’t gain anything but he expects his party to gain cheap political mileage out of such acts as his party caters to a niche market of the ‘Marathi manoos’. In marketing terminology, we can call it Publicity and it comes under the fourth P-Promotion.

But if someone gives him a cup of Tata tea when he wakes up from the wrong side of his bed, he would perhaps realize that the ‘Marathi manoos’, he is supposedly fighting for has long back realized the concept of humanity and understanding. Just by becoming religious and cultural symbols, it is very difficult to influence the now socially aware and morally educated public about such inane acts but still such figures will continue to do, what they do because they are apt at it. The Marathi man would listen and forget it but he won’t act by showing such fanatics the truth that they are happy and progressing, for fear of being sidelined by his community, which unfortunately he thinks is under the control of such fanatics. But the truth is today Shiv-Sena has become a single warrior with no Marathi man in their armory, much because of the social changes that have taken place over the last decade. The divide and rule philosophy doesn’t display leadership and doesn’t garner blind followers, something that worked for them in the past, many of the faces in the tentative crowds, who are burning SRK’s posters and effigies today are largely paid, incentivized or threatened to do so by the supremos.
The facts and figures thrown by them naturally contain information about Maharashtrians but what it is to be realized here is, the bigger the pie, the larger the share and Maharashtrians till today occupy majority of the State, including Mumbai. Tell them to put the figures in a proportionate manner and they’ll falter because there are many more issues that a country has to face, all much more important than fighting over stats of a state race. I too live in Maharashtra, have been born and brought up here and so do thousands of others who live, sleep and breathe the city air, does it make them any less of a Maharashtrian? Is your knowledge of Marathi, the only criteria for defining a Maharashtrian? Or is it his lineage and birth that makes him a man of the state?
Most of our politicians come with raw knowledge of the lineage they emerge from, whereas in developed economies there are even courses for politicians in administration; our administrative achievers end up serving the government and succumbing to corruption. Our Gain? Zero!

The Shiv-Sena is stagnating and the leaders refuse to realize it, old ideologies will not work in modern times. Every time a major issue emerges and a ‘controversial’ comment is made, just by attributing their dragooned stand against it to an inconsequential fight for the Marathi people, isn’t going to get them votes, at the most they will lose even the couple of seats that they manage to put beneath their bums. This is a classic case of refusal to change in Marketing or in other terms, forced maintenance of conventional ideologies. The very basic focus of Marketing is to evolve as per the consumer’s requirements, as mentioned before in an earlier article; to be dynamic and proactive. The Shiv-Sena has been the exact opposite, stationary and reactive, taking care to maintain their age old philosophy of ruling the minds of the dominant caste and hoping the other castes would follow, a segmentation strategy that was effective in the past but falls flat in the present and making sound statements and disrupting public peace in response to statements they ‘perceive’ as detrimental to the health of the city. The cheap publicity campaigning worked for a certain period but too much of it causes an ethical overdose in the public’s mind. That’s what happens with negative publicity, over a period of time. Let’s check out the case in question now.
Shiv-Sena indubitably, is not going to gain anything out of this political hype they are generating with so much glee but the paradox of the situation is that they are actually endorsing the very film; they have set out to destroy.

One of the prime qualities of the Indian consumer is that when the worm of curiosity starts itching within his bums, then he cannot contain it inside, it slowly and gradually seeps out from the crevices and pops its head out to check on what’s disturbing it, what’s the source of noise! ‘My Name is Khan’, perhaps won’t need Shiv-Sena endorsing it, even though one of the producers of the film had asked for a NOC by the Sainiks before releasing the film in Mumbai! The audience for the film is anyways going to watch the film by hook or by crook thanks to their undying love for the super-star, who is being mercilessly maligned for making a humanly correct statement but now, even those who had decided to skip the film or were indifferent to its’ appeal, would find the film in their area of focus. The film promoter’s job is done, easily and better than the other media channels which would have taken more time and would have been less cost-effective than this one! Who’s complaining? Certainly, not the producers and The loyal ‘Wife’ is happy and satisfied!

Do check out what our students have to say at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LiuB2kgRnk

With hugs and kisses to the Consumer,
The Young Marketeer.


Priya said...

really nice.. as said shiv sena are not going to gain anything out of it except silly publicity.. And i dont know about others, but I am going to watch MNIK any which ways, even if it is amidst heavy security..:-)

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