The politics of digital

The digital boom has allowed people to engage in the political campaign process on a scale never done before and political parties have found new ways to run their campaign full time. Political campaigns are building meaningful relationships with millions of voters, “converting everyday people into engaged and empowered volunteers, donors, loyalists and advocates through social networks, e-mail advocacy, text messaging, push calls, regular updates and online video.” Taking a major part of the campaign process online has had a transformative effect on campaigns allowing them to significantly increase their effectiveness and improve conversion rates.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is an epitome of how political parties follow marketing campaigners to the tee and round the clock persistently. To begin with, notice their strategy of analysing their voters and segregating them on different levels, so as to persuade and gain the trust of people, and thereby guarantee the maximum number of votes. The vote-acquisition takes place by identifying the values of the voters in terms of their ‘functional values’ (such as Swadeshi and its juxtaposition with globalisation, free market and foreign policies), ‘social values’ (such as Dharam Rajya, secularism, security, justice and efficient development), ’emotional values’ (such as Hindutva and a uniform civil code), ‘conditional values’ through temporary events, and lastly, ‘epistemic values’ like PM being available on whatsapp for the students (such as innovations, varied orientations, and incumbency factors).

A key component of the election campaign is increasing use of digital media, studies have suggested that political messages shared on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube,Instagram, Whatsapp, Google and various other platforms especially those shared ‘organically’ between friends and family, have been very effective. Seeking to promote and benefit from this trend, political parties have made extensive use of the platforms. Using demographics, location, and ‘Like’ data offered by platforms, and supplementing this with information they collect themselves, parties use digital media to ‘micro-target’ advertising for very specific audiences. There is clear value for parties in understanding what types of communication will win them support or motivate people to vote. The push as we go ahead will be in being innovative and being first to hit the voters with their messages.

The campaigning which is usually done during elections todays has become a round the clock brand management tool since ‘brand imaging’ of a political party or a leader is one of the most essential and quintessential factors that go into the political marketing campaigns. It is a ‘brand’ that is registered in the mida of voters and a warm image definitely helps to acquire votes and eventually the trust. In this digital era, campaigning has expanded by leaps and bounds and has been absorbed into various arenas such as forums, hangouts, chats, tweets, blogs, unique agendas for promotions and other social platforms. Therefore, problems can be addressed while campaigning and simultaneously, user participation can also be encouraged – thus proving the worth and ability of the political party or the leader. With the aid of digital media or social media, primary purpose of any political party is to reach out to large target audience & voters with their message and vision and without using technology or digital media it is not possible for any individual or party to come across with huge voters in short span of time. Hence the role of digital marketing can not be overlooked today.

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