Strategic communications of political parties in India: A PR Perspective


Coming from a Journalism background, I was quite amazed at times, looking at the people saying and treating media and people with no insight or analysis as to how it may stand against or in their favor in the coming future. Politicians and bureaucrats in India are a great example of this behavior. Even traditional journalists going among the public before an upcoming election to understand the overriding sentiment in favor of or against a political party are also facing difficulties in connecting with the latest category of voters (18-25 age group) in India.

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The national political parties are losing their base with no national party enjoying the full mandate required to make government at the center. As a result, this new breed no longer succumbs to the sight of Nehru-Gandhi clan and lines-up in thousands just to shake hands with them or a one night stay with the poorest family in their constitution.

The role of advanced communication technologies like mobile internet and social media could not be overlooked in this respect. Even those who say that PR people can overturn the fate of an organization or person would also not true in today’s world. There may a little tweaking here and there of the intended message but overall no single entity will enjoy such significant control over the message as some experts argue, there existed, in the past. However, still these national parties are still known to have hired internationally reputed PR firms like APPCO and WPP owned IPAN Hill and Knowlton and JWT etc.

Having had the opportunity of working and looking at all this melee going on around as a print first and broadcast journalist later, it occurred to me how much attention needs to be paid towards this area. An uninteresting or hustled and jumbled communication of your message serves no purpose to the organization. Every communication has a definite message at the end and its success depends on the context and effectiveness of the message delivery system.

To know whether the political parties succeed in fixing their impression or not would require an analysis so detailed that would exceed the scope of this article. However, the one thing that I would like to appreciate about the general election campaign of Congress and BJP in 2014 General Elections is their use of the social media which however seems not quite interactive on their respective homepages. Nevertheless anonymous mud-slinging and digs taken at the either party at the behest of the other could be seen happening on any social media channel.

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Another interesting campaign going on around is the polarization of Indian voters as pro-Rahul or pro-Modi has also been the talk of the town for quite some time now. Even though so much is being said about the pros or cons of giving either party a chance, there has been no official confirmation of the Prime ministerial candidate by either. Maybe, both the parties are still trying to take a closer look at their respective projected personalities and decide later based on what they prefer as calling the “compulsions of coalition politics”

Image Courtesy: Rediff, TOI, Business Insider

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