India has just concluded its marathon seven phase general assembly elections 2019 and BJP has won an astounding majority on its own. In the last three months, India has seen some highly politically motivated debates, discussions and mostly rhetoric. However, this article tries to offer a different and a completely apolitical perspective on these elections.
I see the entire election campaign run by BJP and its allies to be a perfect primer in management and strategy. I believe one cannot find a better and a more astute amalgamation of branding, marketing, operations management, human resource mobilisation and rigorous research work going into one single event.
Here are the top 5 management lessons one can learn from the BJP’s campaign:
- Strategy matters more than the product - However good the product is, if the timing and execution aren’t strategically aligned and mapped, the product is all set to fail. Amit Shah, well-known for his organisational skills strategically mapped each and every booth and hence laid out a successful plan. Modi strategically selected constituencies for his rallies to have maximum reach and visibility. His frequent address to booth workers for several months prior to the elections provided the required momentum, energy and inspiration.
- Finding the gap and positioning the product smartly - Modi used the power of his own personality perceived to be that of a ‘Macho Hindu nationalist’. He strategically transformed the entire election campaign into a presidential contest and hence hit the congress where it hurt them the most.
- Providing multiple and alternate positioning - Be it the ‘Hindu resurgence’ or the ’Hindu chauvinism’; Modi being sole guardian of national security or his social and economic schemes; national prestige in the international arena or Modi being projected as the chief deliverer himself, BJP had multiple and alternate positioning to sell to each kind of the voter .Hence if one positioning does not appeal you, Modi has a different story for you. On the other end, Opposition had just one positioning of an ‘Anti Modi story’. They focussed too heavily on running a negative campaign, even to an extent that they simply missed out generating any resonance for the potential game changer ‘NYAY scheme’ among the electorate.
- Manufacture a narrative & never play to your weakness - The leaders of the BJP pre-empted a fact-based debate on its performance of five years by blocking or contaminating official data on job generation and other key parameters and thus successfully drove the entire campaign into a fact-free zone filled with divisive and emotive issues.
- Meticulous planning and micromanagement - Oratory forms just one part of the Modi’s plan to communicate with the masses. There is an entire army of BJP workers and hired professionals working to support his rallies. They range from the BJP’s huge IT crew that monitors the buzz generated on social media to the the on-ground researchers who thank people who come to his rallies and seek the all important ‘customer feedback’. There are speakers at vantage points to amplify every byte of sound from the stage, there are live feeds organised for various television channels, and facilities for live streaming on the internet, then there is light, sound, carefully chosen music, stage ambience and sky cameras – all targeting a good viewer experience to build the Modi brand.
Astute choice of different electoral measures, when to step up the rhetoric, when to attack the Gandhi dynasty even at the cost of attracting negative publicity for attacking the dead, when to announce candidates for certain strategic seats , all constituted an immaculate plan. Thus, this campaign run by BJP headed by Amit shah and PM Modi at top certainly becomes a brilliant case for study in all B schools!