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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Brand wars may be very common in the corporate sector where marketing and advertising whiz kids pit their brains and guile against each other.

But it is also a reality now in the political arena. The 124-year-old Congress Party has just recently given a demonstration of how to ‘revamp’ a brand and make it connect with old consumers who had lost faith and new consumers who ride on hope. Priyanka Rai, Surbhi Chawla & Neha Saraiya report

Such brainstorming sessions are fairly common in the corporate world where managers get together and pick each other’s brains to evolve a strategy for the future. And when it comes to brand managers, the sessions become even more intense as the war for consumer preference and market share intensifies. Meenakshi Natarajan, Jitendra Singh, Jairam Ramesh, Ashok Tanwar and Salmaan Khursheed cannot be called brand managers by any stretch of imagination. Nor can Pankaj Shankar be called a corporate communications manager. For that matter, you will not know Vishwajeet Prithvi Singh as the Chief Technology Officer.

Most management students and managers will probably not even be familiar with most of these names. And yet, these are the largely unknown names and faces that have scripted one of the most famous brand revamps in contemporary history. The first lot did the brainstorming and fashioned the current brand strategy for the Congress Party in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections. Pankaj Shankar, quietly and unobtrusively, communicated this strategy to media persons willing to listen. And Vishwajeet Singh is the geek, who used computers, spread sheets and data mining to round off the new brand strategy.

This band of men and women met numerous times in 2008 and 2009 to plan a brand strategy for the Lok Sabha elections. The challenge was formidable. The Congress was a really old brand that had seen hitherto loyal customers deserting it in droves during the 1990s. The challenge was to revamp the brand and lure back the old faithful. An even bigger challenge was to connect the more than 100-year-old party with the youth. Now, every Tom, Dick and Pundit knows the team has clicked. For people in the world of advertising, it was a marketing masterstroke. Says Josy Paul, National Creative Director and Chairman of BBDO, “ The Congress ad campaign was more about how it can be relevant to different audiences. The key to their campaign was relevance. It was more about young audiences and telling them the Congress is still relevant.” Even as late as December 2008, no one could have been certain about unknown youth ‘leaders’ like Minakshi Natarajan and Ashok Tanwar winning Lok Sabha elections. But win they did, propelling Congress towards its highest market share in the electoral marketplace in almost two decades!

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2009

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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