Ushering in the ‘Phygital’ era- Mindshare’s MA Parthasarthy & BJP’s Arvind Gupta
“If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” said MA Parthasarthy, Chief Client Officer, Mindshare elucidating the importance of marketing in a way that the message reaches the masses. Events have always been at the crux of political campaigns and the integration of digital media with recent events of this year has manifestly resulted in a delightful show by brands, event agencies and political parties alike.
But before diving into the details let’s look at the bigger picture. Be it advertising an event or promoting a political party, traditional methods are no longer the same. With changing times and arrival of the I-Gen, or the “internet generation”, the approach towards marketing has completely changed. The art of storytelling is what’s most important in an event and that, if spiked with technology, has the ability to amplify it to the next level. Digitizing experiences has therefore become the key agenda for event agencies.
Coming to the micro level let’s delve into the spectrum of BJP’s campaigns and strategies and see how the ‘phygital activation’, explained by Parthasarthy as ‘physical experiences integrated with digital innovation’, served as a political tool for the party.
Starting much later than the Congress, BJP’s campaigns went viral because they were brisk, interactive and influential. As compared with traditional political tools, the internet excels at maintaining relationships with a large audience at once, like it did for the brand Narendra Modi.
BJP launched its first website in the year 1969 and it hasn’t looked back since then. The remarkable use of digital and social platform for the 2014 elections was one of its kinds in the history of Indian elections.
December 2012, was the landmark in the campaign strategy, as Narendra Modi climbed a step further in the political hierarchy and from a state leader turned into a national leader. Events played a great role in establishing NAMO as a brand.
In 2013, the party made brand Modi a household name. The basic agenda on the BJP list was to make the event 360 degrees. Using digital media as a platform, they connected with people in the remotest of villages in the country. A beautiful example of developing an emotional connection was when people were made to listen to the speech of Narendra Modi, by dialing a number. This in turn helped the party to generate data base of different constituencies. Another mechanism generated was to go back to the same people and remind them that their vote is due on the day of voting. Through phone calls acting as reminders for people to come and vote, NAMO could connect to places and people who did not have internet. All events had feedback mechanisms that led to complete engagement. The objective of this move was to localize the message and remind the person to vote.
From the SRCC show to the Varanasi road show and various other rallies, the party used digital media but did not overlook on building emotional connect at the same time. May it be ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ or 3D rallies, every event attracted great number of potential voters. “Digitizing events helped in building Narendra Modi as a brand” said Arvind Gupta, Head IT Cell BJP. The party could blend digital and experiential strategies to an extraordinary level. An example of which was seen on 24th April when Narendra Modi filed his nomination in Varanasi. The Varanasi road show was attended by 3 lakh people, with above 200million watching it live on TV, 10 million tweets and also became the most watched event on you tube.
This proved how an experiential activity with the help of digital invasion gathered the attention of millions in the world. Clearly the integration of digital into experiential has become the need of the hour asserting the importance of a 360 degrees approach towards building an event.
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