Congress as a brand is highly diffused with low credibility and a confused brand voice at the moment. It will take concerted effort and a clear vision for a revival to happen. In fact, it cannot afford to go to elections with a negative baggage and needs to seriously address various issues if it hopes to be able to revive its image. The first and foremost on the list is its diffused leadership. Congress has long been one such party where the leader has been upfront but now there is a lot of haze covering the issue of who is leading the party and who are the voters voting for. For them to succeed, they need to sort that out.
The other thing that is harming their image is the well known issue of corruption. Inspite of the efforts against corruption, they lost the plot due to inept handling of the Anna agitation and irresponsible statements by their spokespersons. Blaming and maligning others wouldn’t help their cause one bit. For communication to work for them, it should be done upfront and with the right people. A simple strategy of talking more often to the public through media and public debates conducted by senior leaders – the PM or Mrs. Gandhi – will be required.
The third major issue affecting the party is price rise. This is an issue that they have till now handled very amateurishly. They need to be more transparent about the reasons causing the price rise; citing the global scenario as the cause won’t pacify the public. Voters understand that in bad times, there will be pain, but they have a right to know why the times are bad.
And finally, getting Mrs. Gandhi and/or the Prime Minister to come out and talk to the public may just be what the party needs to revive its image. Within Congress, they are the only ones with some credibility, yet at the moment they are in the background. They need to come upfront more often. The need of the hour is to have a lot of two way communication that will involve a lot of travelling and communicating with the locals face to face, and engaging with the younger digital audience.
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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.
An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).
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