It is an age of branding we all agree and that matters not only for businesses and services but also for the individuals. Yes today an individual is also a brand thanks to his presence everywhere in the online sphere. When few brands have the power to influence people then they are known as influencers in social media parlance as they can form a opinion, create a viral and make analysis. What about the government then? Is it a brand itself or comprises well-known brands or the leaders who have the power to influence people?
How did the government as a brand fare in 2012? The verdict is that its communication was not strong. Silence came at odd times and words flowed when it was not required. There were some unique cases like the tussle between the then army chief, Gen. V.K. Singh, and the defense ministry over his age which opened a Pandora box in full media glare. General Singh acquired the credit of becoming the first army chief to have dragged the government to the Supreme Court on the issue of his date of birth. It is another story that the court opined that this behavior was not in conformance with the behavior of a serving general that finally ended the story but the damage was done to branding.
Coal blocks allocation exposed more pain points that government was not doing much for the reputation building. A supposed loss of Rs.1.86 lakh crore set in motion many things and that did cast a shadow on the reputation of a nation. Political leaders were involved in the sexist, foot-in-the-mouth comments or were engrossed in inter-ministerial and inter-departmental differences, public spats took the place of debates.
On top of that the government wanted certain online posts to be taken off, and for the first time the netizens had the fear that there is some curtailment on their freedom of expression. If there are negative sentiment about you on social media you try to analyze the situation and see to it how it is addressed, you don’t remove the posts. Another wrong step taken as far as reputation management was concerned.
What steps the government will take for reputation building in 2013 that time will tell. The year starts with senior Madhya Pradesh BJP leader Vijayvargiya deciding to quote Ramayana in his speech and stating that when limit is crossed then women are punished like Sita was abducted by Ravana as she crossed the Laxman rekha. He wanted to imply that women who cross their moral limits deserve punishment. BJP would not be exactly happy with one of its leaders quoting Ramayana and passing derogatory remarks on women. He is Madhya Pradesh’s industry minister, what was the reason for him to delve on the topic of women given the fact that his portfolio is industry is exactly not known at this moment.
Is the government interested in projecting itself as a brand? Will it look into the fact that the leaders are not making casual statements like this which result in major embarrassment for it. When the critical aspect, communication comes to the fore still there are many things to look into. Will we find a good communicator in the government? People want transparency and the government which interacts with them and not the broadcaster who doesn’t listen to them.