It’s election time in Kerala and if you’re a campaign strategist in the city chances are that you are already in demand. Kerala is not very different from rest of India when it comes to political landscape. Congress-led-UDF and Communist-lead-LDF are the major parties in the state followed by BJP which is still trying to leave its mark in the state.

If you don’t follow Kerala politics you should know that the incumbent Chief Minister of Kerala, Oommen Chandy was accused in Solar Scam and was also asked to resign from his post by the opposition party (LDF) recently. UDF recently on-boarded Creative/Public Relations Agency as part of damage control and to bolster the image of the party for forthcoming elections.

Analyzing TV Campaigns from leading parties in Kerala Election Campaign 2016

Client: UDF | Agency: Push Integrated Communication

UDF’s theme for the election is ‘Valaranam Keralam, Thudaranam Ee Bharanam – Oru Vattam Koodi UDF Sarkar’ (Kerala should grow, this government should continue) UDF Government one more time). Series of commercials have been developed to showcase the projects that the UDF-led government has been instrumental in developing including bridges built (seen in the above commercial), Alcohol Ban in the state and the development of proposed Vizhinjam International Port.

Client: LDF | Agency: Maitri Advertising, Kochi

Left (LDF) front resorts to a much curt and crisp slogan ‘LDF Varum Ellam Shariyakum’ (LDF will come and everything will be alright). LDF has developed a series of commercials also roping in leading actors like KPAC Lalitha (seen in the above commercial) and Innocent. Content revolved around failed Alcohol Ban in Kerala, corruption across departments and more.

Client: BJP Kerala | Agency: PRHUB

BJP’s slogan ‘Vazhimuttiya Keralam Vazhikattan BJP’ has been designed to convey the message that Kerala needs a change from both the LDF and the UDF.

When it comes to social media the story is quite different. With the budgets available at disposal and a chance to work with the best brains in the country, the whole social media strategy seems to revolve around facebook.

How the parties fared on Social Media in Kerala Election Campaign 2016?

Tracking Party Leader Fan Page Performance*

Page Performance Oommen Chandy V S Achuthanandan Kumman Rajasekharan
Like 953,045 175,124 95,734
Engagement Rate 12.80% 53.08% 54.58%
Posts per Day 8.84 2.71 2.09

Oommen Chandy has been active on social media for a while now which is reflected with his strong fan base while V S Achuthanandan and Kumman Rajasekhran are new entrants when it comes presence on facebook. Oommen Chandy’s engagement rate seems largely driven by organic growth doesn’t seem to be linked to ad spends while V S Achuthanandan and Kumman Rajasekharan’s engagement rate seems to be propelled by ad spends to acquire new fans and sponsored posts to boost engagement.

Additionally, all fan pages have either disabled or moderated the posts on the timeline which otherwise could have been a mechanism to build engagement and conversation with the audience.

Tracking Party Fan Page Performance*

Page Performance UDF Campaign LDF Keralam BJP Keralam
Like 11,590 126,989 325,693
Engagement Rate NA 72.19% 69.76%
Posts per Day NA 4.25 53.92

When it comes to party pages what comes as a huge surprise is UDF is not using it party page instead has created a page named UDF Campaign 2016 which seems like a wrong strategy if one has to think what happens to the page post-election. BJP Keralam page is very active when it comes to posting new updates.

Twitter doesn’t seem worth analyzing considering Congress-led-UDF doesn’t even have a considerable presence on the platform. Both Kumman Rajasekharan and Oommen Chandy have  an active presence on the platform with 11.8K and 52.9K followers each.

YouTube also seems like an under-leveraged platform by all parties with most just placing the campaign TVCs on the platform. BJP’s IT Cell seems to have tried to build some credible content on the platform but could have seriously done more on the platform.

To top it all the Prime Minister Modi’s remark on comparing the condition of tribals in Kerala to that in Somalia created sort of ruckus on social media last week with #GetLostModi trending on social media. Both the BJP Kerala’s social media and the PR agency didn’t have much clue on how to manage the crisis.

If one had to analyse election strategies of all parties social media seems like an under-leveraged tool. For UDF, it seems like they are banking on their offline strategy to win election considering that party has a negligible presence on social media.

Doug J. Chung, an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School says that when it comes marketing for elections parties have to follow the standard advice.

“The standard advice is to play to your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.”

We hope that parties have been able to play to their strengths by augmenting different communication channels in the run to Kerala Elections 2016.

*Stats from LikeAlyzer from Meltwater