Indian Express

Narendra Modi’s mission 2014: Nuts & bolts

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Analytics as a tool

A bunch of engineers and statisticians analyses data of the past six elections, fuses it with demographic, socio-economic and their own opinion poll data, and slices it to the level of polling booths across 400 constituencies. This is analytics, a tool employed by hardcore market research and digital companies, and the Modi team says it helped them get a nuanced picture of patterns, issues and voters’ inclinations. The analytics team is in constant touch with other teams, using their real-time inputs, blending them with its own data and updating all teams on any changes in public mood, trends and issues. The analytics team even decides the routes to be taken by the Modi cavalcade, besides keeping an account of vehicles and drivers. “At any point in time, we have exact information on which vehicle is placed where and who is driving,” says a member of the team.

The big brains

The Citizens for Accountable Governance is a think-tank spearheading Modi’s marketing and communication push. It’s a central research team of policy analysts, economists, foreign policy experts and graduates from leading institutions across the world. The team has prepared reports on national policies and social and economic issues that have been discussed this election. It provides constant inputs for Modi’s speeches, social media conversations and chai pe charcha.

Mind reading

On-ground surveys and interviews spot electoral patterns and preferences — in short, internal opinion and exit polls. The information gathered is passed on to the analytics team that fuses it with its own data and other inputs from the research team. The team then analyses the data for trends and aberrations. This effort results in a Rapid Action Report, which presents a constantly evolving picture of a constituency. These inputs are passed on to Modi’s team and they use it to fine-tune his campaign.

Fanning out

Beyond TV commercials, print ads and radio jingles, the strategists conduct several events and programmes across the country, especially in rural areas, to build a direct connect with people.

The mainstream: A team of professionals operating out of New Delhi supervises commercial messages released to the mainstream media, besides buying space and time on various media platforms. Recently, it released a 75-second (the norm is 10 seconds) TV film during nine shows on Star Plus. Called ‘Roadblock’ in ad lingo, it was the only ad aired on those shows, blocking all other commercials. “It was an excellent way of capturing consumer mindspace without getting lost in the cacophony of commercial messages of various brands,” said a Star Plus insider. Besides, Modi’s messages play during popular TV shows on youth channels such as Channel[V].

The IT factor: A dedicated IT cell at the party level and Modi’s own team use Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube to spot friendly voices, reach out, train them and make them stakeholders of Brand Modi. Twenty lakh volunteers work to keep the Modi buzz alive online. Many are young and mid-career professionals from financial services, marketing, media and IT who have quit, taken sabbaticals or are simply devoting a few hours every day to the cause. ‘Modi4PM’, ‘NaMo4PM’, ‘NaMoChaiParty’, ‘Pledge4Modi’ are some of the campaigns they run.

On the ground: Several exercises help reach out to voters, such as chai pe charcha; the ‘Statue for Unity’ project; Sankalp, an initiative to address gender disparity; Manthan, an online and on-ground event with students asked to present “innovative solutions” to 14 “critical challenges the country faces”; Samvad, where volunteers interact with farmers; and Ivote, an initiative urging people to vote. The team running the project is also filing RTIs and organising online petitions to keep the buzz going.

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