Friday, September 23, 2011

Politicians as Brand Ambassadors

They are some of the most talked about species on the earth, criticized, abused, dissected like a dead cockroach in a biology lab, some of them are not even good looking, every move of them is analyzed by the overzealous media, and millions of new age social networkers have fun reading stories about them. 

On the other end of the spectrum, they are revered like Gods; if they sneeze, thousands of well wishers line up to their residence, offering prayers, doing yagnas, plastering walls with get soon well hoardings, filling up the newspapers with advertisements for their speedy recovery. If they want to address a meeting lakhs of people turn up without any marketing. Roads are jammed if they move in city…you can just keep thinking about the influence they have on the day to day lives of common people like you and me. 

Source: BBC News
As you must have understood by now; I’m talking about a species called Politicians

Now as an Management student, with inclination towards marketing, what can I look for in these phenomenal creatures? It’s something which none of your marketing professors may have bothered to tell you even as an example. 

Yes, apart from the plethora of duties they have for the society, they can do wonders for the companies and that too in an ethical manner. Just think the value they can add to promote a product amongst the people in their area and even on the state/national level. 

For example: An MLA or MP can promote a loan schemes for farmers in his area. An MP from a city can help in selling apartments in a locality. A women leader can encourage jewelry and khaddar amongst her followers. 

 By now, it’s obvious that you must have got some questions about this proposition. Some of them which come to my mind right away are – 

 Is it a politician’s job to promote a certain brand? 

 My friends, if a cricketer or film actor can sell products from toothpastes to under wears of any sort of quality, then why can’t a politician encourage people to use a tractor of certain company which have explicit and proven benefits over its rivals. If a product can help people in genuine ways that it’s wise to give a face to it. 

Do they have experience in marketing? 

Yes, you must have seen photos of ministers, political party leaders on posters promoting government schemes, even on the schemes which many of them may not even understand about. In fact winning an election involves tremendous marketing efforts. The sheer amounts of people, a leader moves to win a Parliament election, and that too with very tight budget, can be any marketers dream. They may not be having degrees from top colleges but they certainly do have promotion and people management skills. 

Are politicians supposed to benefit by promoting a company’s product? 

Why not? Even they have their families to feed. Given the amount of supporters and the machinery they have to use to put even their own banners and posters during a high level leaders visit to their area. This all must be costing them a lot of money, what is wrong if they can earn few bucks by offering their services instead of collecting donations on birthdays. 

How can this be implemented? 

I hope some of you may have liked the idea, so let’s think about putting this in to practice. If companies and individuals can give donations in transparent as well as non – transparent ways, then doing it in open would definitely encourage more transparency in the system. The pathways are filled with the posters of products like TVs, Telecom Networks, Jewelers and the political leaders as well. If we can combine these two, it can be a win-win situation to both sides. A product can be visible to people along with the politicians faces. 

On the funny side, just think of A. Raja promoting Uninor telecom. Suresh Kalmani promoting surf excel “Ye daag acche hain” and Rahul Gandhi promoting “Fair & Handsome”!!! 

I’ve certainly not put some 4Ps and 5Cs of marketing in this … but this is not so hard to it? 

Cheers till the next post.