Modi – The Storyteller

I recently completed a course on Storytelling by Jennifer Aaker from Stanford. At the core of it, the course explains four steps to telling a story which are:

1. Single Focussed Goal

2. Grab Attention

3. Engage

4. Enable Action

In the context of the recent victory that Modi registered in the elections in India. As I was listening to Modi’s victory speech it just hit me how he had used each one of these elements in a very pointed manner, in order to win the elections.

He had a Single Focussed Goal of winning the elections and becoming the Prime Minister.

In terms of Grabbing Attention, he did something that was never done in India. He ran the campaign like a presidential campaign. The entire campaign was centred around himself. It was not about the party or its values or anything of that sort. It was a huge risk given the 2002 riot issue was sure to rear its head, but he was confident enough that he could pull it off.

He captured the imagination of the country by promising decisive leadership. He spoke of his track record in Gujarat as the Chief Minister and there were sufficient people willing to back his credentials (definitely more than the number of detractors). He promised the same kind of development for the entire country if he was made PM.

He engaged the people of the country through social media as well as the ‘Chai pe Charcha’ meetings that were held in different cities.

#AbKiBaarModiSarkaar was trending on twitter. If only to make jokes about him, but still. Who was talking about Congress? Any publicity is better than no publicity.

He also engaged by extensively travelling, addressing rallies, BJP say that he travelled 300,000 Kms. How much did Rahul Gandhi travel? To add to that he even used technology, holographic projections to address gathering where he could not be personally present.


The call for action was simple, get out and vote. The positive externality of all this was campaigns such as ‘You Vote, You Decide’ which was run in Bangalore.


The result – Well, all of us know.

As I watched the speech that he gave after he won the election, I could not help but compare it with the ‘Dear Sophie’ ad which Google rolled a few years back. Modi repeatedly made the voter the hero and the achiever in the entire story. He said, he was there to serve to act a tool to help India reach the development goals which should have been achieved many years back.

Modi, the PM is the tool. The voter is the protagonist who is able to see great things done through this tool. Just as in Dear Sophie, where the user is the protagonist and google merely provides the tools.

All in all a great story told and a great story sold. What happen here forward will determine if this story can be sold again or not!


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