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Sunday, January 5, 2014

How AAP redefined electoral campaigning

                                                                                                 (AFP Photo/Sajjad Hussain)

They came, They saw, They conquered

Much has been said & written about the fantastic performance by AAP(Aam Aadmi party) in the recent Delhi elections & how it caught the imagination of entire nation & not just Delhi.
How they were able to achieve this? What can we learn from them?
Many are comparing AAP to a nimble startup which were brushed aside by large establishments until they were proven wrong. And boy wrong were they.  
How did they do it?

Here are couple of points that i think we can learn from AAP.

1. Understand your customer/ Partner with them - Democracy is Of the people, By the people & For the people. AAP really understood this. By being very close to people & really understanding their real issues AAP knew the pulse of the people of Delhi, their worries, their issues. No wonder when AAP leaders went out & made speeches they were able to really connect with people. All of us felt AAP knows our issues & what we want from a government. This video shows how Arvind Kejriwal frequented visited people's homes while his opponents choose to stay away. ( . Think of it, how often you meet your customers. What concerns them, how your product fits into their lives.

2. Purpose - AAP political campaign was unlike any other. Where would you see people coming out of their homes & becoming volunteers & that too for no pay. Very often it has been said that democracy is a participatory function, we actually saw in this past elections with people  participating in the election process. I have heard too many stories of neighbours asking their neighbours to go & vote for AAP, students at metro stations volunteering after their college to talk about AAP. Why did they do that? Because AAP had a purpose. They projected a purpose to change Indian democracy, of giving a government of the people, by the people & for the people. People really connected with this purpose. They were able to convert people into believers. Believers of change, Believers of hope, Believers in a better future.
It was not a regular election for their believers. It was the only chance to change the system for the people yearning for change. AAP had a bigger goal, a bigger vision than just governance. Think of it, what does your company/brand stands for....for eg: is it just making biscuits or eliminating hunger?  

3. Tool for Brand recognition & rise of Believers - I was in Delhi during the last week in the run up to Delhi elections. And where ever one went, one could see people wearing white Gandhi cap, Immediately one could recognise there is either a member from AAP or a believer. Children were wearing in metros, oldies were wearing it while doing morning walk, students were wearing in colleges. The cap had one simple message written on it - 'I am a common man'. People had a sense of pride. The cap was a brilliant tool for word of mouth marketing. It was a conversation starter between a believer & one who can
be converted. People took it on themselves to make others also believe & be part of a shared vision & purpose.

4. Reframe assumptions 'from Rule to Serve'- If you look at the common assumption towards political parties, its that they are big, corrupt & they are here to rule us. AAP turned this around on its head. AAP was nimble, they didn't had any corruption cases against them & the biggest difference in their strategy was that their objective was to Serve rather than Rule. Think of it, with change in words suddenly the whole mindset changes. One starts to think of how if i come to power , i will serve people & decides policies which are in the interest of people. With AAP here to SERVE rather than RULE they really picked the suitable candidates who will be able to achieve this purpose & voters connected with them.

5. Focus on Building a platform - Last but not the least, AAP successfully created a platform which a common man can be part of. Earlier political candidates were either rich or were dominant in their own region. Look at the candidates of AAP - Saurabh Bharadwaj (34) was a software engineer & comes from a middle class family, Rakhi Birla (26) was a journalist at a news channel and there are many like them. AAP has successfully set up a platform for the common man to participate in democracy. Democracy by the people, of the people & for the people.