Marketing the AAP

Public perception of the leading political parties in India – well, at least in Delhi – is that they don’t always represent the people’s interests, and only care about power and wealth. Evidence of this is seen in the newspapers every day. Perhaps this is why the Aam Aadmi Party has gained popularity so quickly, with an expected 19 to 25 seats just a month before the Delhi elections in December, according to survey projections.

So how did a party which is just a year old gain such popularity in a short period of time?

Effective and innovative marketing is the main reason. To analyze their tactics, it’s necessary to have several points on which you can judge the effectiveness of marketing. Marketing strategy is based on the four Ps – product, price, place and promotion.

Let’s take an example – toothpaste – and see how it could be marketed.

Product: Toothpaste is the product- but you’re only selling that as a medium to impart several qualities, mainly hygiene, but also taste and freshness. You can also buy it in different tube sizes or flavours.

Price: Can be fixed at MRP. Of course, when we apply this to the Aam Aadmi Party, as we will in a minute, it’s more complicated than ’twenty rupees’.

Place: General stores, pharmacies, other shops. The more places it is available, the more likely people are to buy it.

Promotion: Perhaps the most important quality. A world-class brand is useless if nobody knows about it. In this sense, it would be promoted through advertisements on TV, radio and newspapers.

How well does the AAP market itself on these four parameters?

Product: AAP’s core product is the promise of corruption-free government. Cleaning up public life, a party representing the Common Man. In short, a brand that will appeal to people. The revelations of corruption give the party a purpose or goal that the people understand and agree with. Often, products have a visible identity, such as Air India’s Maharaja or the Apple logo. AAP uses lts leader Mr Kejriwal’s photo and its election symbol, the humble broom as its identity.

Price: The ‘price’ paid by a voter for supporting any party is to give them a vote. AAP’s tactic on this is to change the definition – instead of the price of electing them, they’ve defined it as the price of not electing them, and allowing one of the other parties to continue their corrupt ways.

Place: Everywhere! Door-to-door campaigning and neighborhood meetings, as well as the use of social media – which reaches just about everyone. Considering the constrained budget of the party, this nearly universal access is remarkable.

Promotion: Leaflet handed out to people,back of autorickshaw messages, social media, no big rallies (emphasising the ’Common Man’ aspect, i.e. “I’m just like you, so I won’t pretend to be one of these big parties.”), the “मैं हूँ आम आदमी“ caps, and their cohort of volunteers. Working on a limited budget, the party has relied on these volunteers for promotion. The more support they have, the more they’ll get.

Using clever marketing tactics, the AAP has certainly captured the imagination of the people. Come December, it remains to be seen how much market share they’ll be able to capture.

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