During his Chief Ministership, Narendra DamodarDas Modi, the face of the development in Gujarat and an enigma for rest of the world, including people living outside Gujarat in India, went on a public relation spree when he hired a global public affairs and communication firm to improve his image and to showcase Gujarat as the dream destination for investment to the world community. His Vibrant Gujarat campaign became his calling card and suddenly Narendra Modi had arrived on the national scene on the development plank!
Come National elections and BJPs choice of the PM candidate, disclosed in 2013 itself, Narendra Modi had firmly been estblished as a messiah for the downtrodden who would change the face of India with a magic wand just like Harry Potter.
In the run up to 2014 election, BJP and Mr. Modi hired another firm, an Indian firm this time, for image and reputation management. There is no denying that the agency did a tremendous job as it was successful in creating a Modi wave across the country and BJP came to power with a resounding win.
He is one of the very few politicians who understand that news makes opinion and that this is a job best handled by professionals. His PR machinery works wonders for him and, despite one or two hiccups, the entire campaign was successful in creating the brand "NaMo".
After he became the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi got the attention that he deserved and the national as well as international media was quick to share how a tea vendor with no resources at all became the Prime Minister of the largest democracy of the world. His invitations to the leaders of the APAC region, especially Pakistan, to the swearing in won him laurels from across the world and this was only through effective media management.
After one year of Modi Government, the social media which was instrumental in his phenomenal rise, has suddenly been filled with sarcastic remarks pointing out mistakes in his working style. The news of his meeting with the Chinese premier, Obama's visit to India as a Chief Guest for 26th january, India’s Nuclear Pact with Australia, decline in communal clashes, Rising hopes of the world in Indian economy, has all been overshadowed by his travelling across the world, his suit on republic day and the Lalitgate episode.
The sudden change in the PR tactics where he chose not to respond to these accusations, neither in any interview, nor on the social media, is quite surprising as he was the one who used social media successfully to shape his public image. The role of his PR machinery and the external PR agency that I believe he is still working with, therefore becomes very very important. They have to ensure that they are proactively disseminating information on his ideology and his leadership that will lead to a strong and prosperous India.
It is high time that the people of India start witnessing the changes that have been brought about in the country which was why they had bestowed faith on this man and given him a majority in the Parliament. It is the responsibility of the PR team of NaMo to start working in full gear again. Today the dent in his credibility is more due to his sudden silence on several controversial issues rather than any real change in his situations. Things are getting better on ground and people's perception of the same is getting worse.
It is important that his PR machinery understands that the Indian population, which voted him into power on the basis of the trust that he commanded from each one of them, is very very finicky and can easily overturn the situation at the next elections. Backed by strong actions, the PR team needs to come up with a long term strategy to undo the damage caused, and move on to rebuild the trust amongst the citizens of the country.
The PR team also needs to proactively look at what and when to comment and when to shut up and share their thoughts on topical issues. People in the country are suddenly very sceptical of the status quo and Team NaMo needs to realize that it takes time to build an image. The team was successful in building the image and reputation once but it needs constant work. The NaMo machinery needs to start reinforcing the brand MODI again, before it is too late.
Image Courtesy: www.narendramodi.in