Most of the credit for the ruling party’s landslide win in 2014 was given to its marketing and branding campaigns. The media agencies who handled these campaigns were Ogilvy and Mather, Soho Square and Madison World. It was perhaps for the first time that the importance of ads and public relations in the Indian elections came into limelight. So, if you love politics and media, then a PR management course could give you some dynamic insights.
Now, India is ready for the Lok Sabha elections again. The leaders, candidates and workers from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) are fighting at loggerheads to come to power. Needless to say, the advertising and public relations campaigns have gotten even bigger because there is a lot more at stake. Being the trending national topic these days, it is no surprise that some advertising management courses have even included case studies on elections in their modules.
Let’s take a look at what role Digital media is playing in the Indian election 2019.
There is no doubt that ads can reach out effectively to both rural and urban masses. The political parties are spending huge chunks of money on electoral ads. According to the Indian Transparency Report on polls released by Google, Some parties spend as high as approximately 32% of their campaign budget on advertisements. The most popular ad mediums used by these parties include television, print, radio and digital media.
Content is the king, no matter what marketing tactic is used in the elections. While the content is definitely given primary focus in the speeches, brochures, leaflets and all other mediums of communication, a new face of content has recently emerged.
Though subtle, this new form of content is hard-hitting and grabs immediate attention. One such type of content is political movies. These movies get heavily promoted on social media directly and indirectly by the PR agencies and influencers. Apart from these movies and books, other interesting content ads can be witnessed on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook in the form of memes and fact-based information.
With more than 260 million active social media users in India, the political parties know that it would be a colossal mistake not to leverage it. You know that most political leaders are actively present on social media handles and engage with their followers on a day-to-day basis. The political parties are drawing voters in huge numbers through highly structured and targeted campaigns via digital marketing. The fact that young population can be influenced through social media is another reason why the political parties are focusing on digital media as a tool for ad and PR.
The upcoming elections are also focusing on sending targeted and personalized PR campaigns by sending text and WhatsApp messages. These messages are customized in regional languages and usually sent directly or as forwards, either highlighting the political party’s strengths or targeting weaknesses of the rival parties. Some parties have even started exploring automated calls to the voters requesting to vote in their favour. India is home to 731 million mobile users and more than 200 million WhatsApp users. Imagine the reach that mobile marketing can give to political parties!
Direct PR Engagement with Public
Through the PR campaigns like ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ and ‘Mann Ki Baat’, the government highlights what it is doing for the public, talks about governance and also takes feedback from people on what should be improved. The government has also addressed children during board exams, talking about the importance of yoga and even publishing a book called ‘Exam Warriors’.
Television Interviews and Debates
Another way the political parties are engaging in PR campaigns is by appearing in face-to-face interviews and debates on television channels. When the voters get to see and hear their leaders up close and personal, they tend to form an opinion. So, an increasing number of politicians can be seen on television trying to connect with the voters.
Have you ever thought why your favourite Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube handle is suddenly talking about elections or dropping subtle hints about which party s/he is going to vote? Well, that’s influencer marketing for you. Many political parties are collaborating with social media influencers to push their messages to the voters. These influencers come from different walks of life such as fashion, food, travel, lifestyle and movies, and are quite popular among millennial voters.
As you can see, the elections have been forward-looking in their approach and want to tap every age group of voters. They are leaving no stone unturned to leverage all the ad and PR mediums to get the maximum reach.
Nowadays, there is a huge demand for media professionals who understand political marketing well. In case you follow politics closely and want to build a media career in it, think about enrolling in a PR management course or advertising management courses from Talentedge & MICA. You can join the media agencies which are working on promoting elections.