26 Jun 2019 17:19 IST

Five management lessons from the BJP’s campaign

The BJP’s poll strategy could be a useful case study for B-schools across the country, here’s why

After the BJP’s landslide victory in the national elections this year, the massive election campaign run by NDA can be seen as the perfect primer in management and strategy. 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 five management lessons one can learn from the high-pitch BJP campaign:

Strategy matters more than product

However good the product is, if the timing and execution aren’t strategically aligned and mapped, the product is all set to fail. Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah, well-known for his organisational skills, mapped each and every booth and laid out a successful plan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi carefully 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.

Smart positioning

Modi used the power of his own personality, perceived to be that of a ‘Hindu nationalist’. He transformed the entire election campaign into a presidential contest that paid dividends.

Multiple planks

Be it ‘Hindu resurgence’ or ‘Hindu chauvinism’, Modi being the guardian of national security or his social and economic schemes or Modi being projected as the chief deliverer himself — the BJP had multiple positionings to sell to each kind of the voter. If one positioning did not appeal you, Modi had a different story for you. On the other hand, the Opposition had just one positioning — Anti-Modi. They focused heavily on running a negative campaign, to the extent that they simply missed out on generating any resonance for the potentially game-changing Nyay scheme among the electorate.

Play to your strengths

The leaders of the BJP pre-empted a fact-based debate on the party’s performance over five years by allegedly 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, instead, with divisive and emotive issues. The takeaway from this is honing the ability to highlight one’s strengths.

Meticulous planning, micromanagement

Oratory is just one way of Modi’s plan to connect with the masses. There is an entire army of BJP workers and hired professionals working to support his rallies. The BJP has a huge IT crew that monitors the buzz generated on social media and on-ground researchers who thank people for attending rallies. His team also seeks 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 of 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, when to announce candidates for certain strategic seats, all these were part of an immaculate plan. Thus, the BJP campaign could certainly become a useful case study in B-schools.

(The writer is a student at the Indian Institute of Management, Ranchi.)

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