5 reasons why the buzz around ‘Narendra Modi for PM’ is good for India!

For the last 6 years that I have been blogging on TalkingTails.in, I have refrained from writing about politics. Unlike many of my more accomplished blogger counterparts, it was not because I wanted to steer clear of any sensitive subjects or anything. It’s just that ‘Politics’ didn’t seem like anything of any consequence to me. A few incidents over the past few months, a near-broken, opinion-less government, and a radical-(and seemingly progressive)-thinking, reasonably ‘new-age’ politician have forced me to think, and think aloud.

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Honestly, the obvious headlines Modi made with his session at (Shriram College of Commerce (SRCC), New Delhi yesterday is what prompted this blog post. I don’t remember when exactly I first heard of Narendra Modi, but I am certain that whenever I have read/heard something about him, it was supported by a strong opinion – you either like him or you hate him, but you are most probably on either ONE side of the fence. To a question like “What do you think of Narendra Modi?” .. One would rarely hear, “Haan, thik hai”, as an answer.

And the first and foremost reason why I like this buzz surrounding Modi, is just that. It makes me FEEL like I have an opinion on our politicians.

I have always believed that the reason politics evinces such a lot of interest (even among the youth) in countries like the US, is because their leaders evoke charisma. They can speak, reach and echo. I am not going to get into discussions around “delivering on the promise”, because that’s a separate (and unrelated) subject altogether, but Narendra Modi has a voice and regardless of whether I agree or disagree, I want to listen to him speak. I want to hear him out. Unlike our current and a few former Prime Ministers, who sometimes read off a paper, feeble-voiced and expression-less.

And that’s Reason #2 why I like this buzz surrounding Modi. Something about him makes me want to listen to him.

Politics in India has always been about ‘Parties’ and rarely about ‘People’. Since the time that I remember, political campaigns, in India, have always been directed by ‘ideologies’, and ‘during XYZ’s rule this happened and that happened’. I always contrasted this with a France or a US, where elections were led by ‘the Individual’ and not ‘Party agenda and Election Manifesto’.

And that’s Reason #3, why I like this buzz surrounding Modi. A leader is about the ‘Individual’ that a country needs to look up to; and follow.

Having myself competed on a few things at reasonable levels, I have always appreciated the benefits that competition brings in. ONE solid candidate ends up making others more competitive. It sparks a rise among the ‘others in the fray’, that they better wake up or be left out. And that, I believe, is good for Indian politics. I am hoping it is this “competition” from Narendra Modi’ will wake up the sleepy, grand old, dynasty-led party of India to “perform” and get the country to benefit as a whole.

And that’s Reason #4, why I like this buzz surrounding Modi. He can even push his competitors to “Perform”.

Having been a student and practitioner of Marketing, I harbour this tendency to apply my Marketing lens to everything around me. Narendra Modi’s outreach programs (whether it is in Gujrat or over the internet – Facebook/Youtube/Twitter, etc.) are examples of an effort to reach out, listen and be heard. Not to forget, his legendary Google+ Hangout session, which I am sure ‘netizens’ (especially!) will remember. Moreover, I was (pleasantly) surprised when I read this article about how APCO Worldwide, a global PR Strategy and Consulting firm, is helping focus Modi’s messaging, public image and marketability.

And that’s Reason #5 (the last and probably also the least important), why I like this buzz surrounding Modi. It can make for an interesting case study in Marketing!

To be honest, I am really not going to be out on the streets supporting Modi’s candidature. I am sure there are 10,001 reasons why he should NOT be India’s PM. My only intent behind penning down my thoughts is to let my friends and readers know why I believe all of this buzz is Good for India!

As we gear up for 2014, may the best ‘Man’ (or ‘Woman’) win. Not the entire ‘political clan’ in general, regardless of the party. Jai Hind!

Coming Soon: Flipkart Experience Zones (?)

All right, quick update!

On a recent visit to the Gopalan Innovation Mall at Bannerghata Road, Bangalore we saw something that we were a tad surprised to see. Plush retail space (3rd floor inside a prominent South-Bangalore mall) with minimalistic but reasonably elegant  (and definitely new!) furniture inside it. And on top of it hung a brightly lit glow-sign pronouncing “Flipkart Experience Zone”.

Out of the many ways that Flipkart.com could possibly use it, I can think of these 3 right away:

  1. It could use it as a distribution channel – Enabling customers to pick-up pre-ordered items which were called for online and pick them up from the stores
  2. Or a store with an automated product dispensing machine to “automate” the delivery process – Like Amazon.com did with Amazon Lockers, which were installed inside of Staples Stores
  3. Or a pure-play customer service initiative – for resolving service issues, returning damaged items; and so on.

Or all 3. Who knows.

So what’s cooking? – Your thoughts?

Netbook Search & Lessons learnt in Marketing!

One of the best ways to gauge and understand consumer buying behaviour is to try and analyze your own thought process and information-search process while in the process of choosing/buying a product. I am in the process of searching for information on netbooks in India. (If you have any inputs/personal experience in using netbooks, please help!). During the course of my information-search, 2 theoretical learnings became evident in practice:

1. The internet is a POWERFUL tool for a brand
I had no idea of an Acer Aspire D250 till today. But thanks to some STRONG Online PR and active, engaged users posting comments, I have developed a positive opinion about the product. Since comments in furoms, portals are mostly user-based (are they?) the reason to beleive the claims are strong and hence, they tend to make an immediate impact on one’s perception.

2. A negative brand experience (especially for high-value items) can leave a terrible taste in the mouth of the consumer.
I used an HP Pavillion Notebook for a year and the (apparently common!) hinges problem struck my Laptop too. The result, of course, was that in my perception HP as a brand took a huge hit and the perception continues even now (3 years later) when I consider netbooks – a different category where HP is also present.

As for my decision of netbook, I am sold on an Ideapad S10-3C for now – arguably the best available in India right now at that price point. And of course, Lenovo Laptops are sturdy and I personally like their Keypads a lot – they are very finger-friendly!