The Power of Silent Majority

There is a pitched battle being fought currently. The Molotov cocktails are being hurled across the fence; the fire is raging and becoming a raging inferno. Words are used as cannonballs, and are being hurled at ferocious pace. The strategy employed is of shock and awe to subdue the offending side. The other side is not sitting idle either. It is fighting hard to defend its territory, but the marauding army has overrun them. The defenders don’t have the power of numbers on their side and their words are not diffusing the incessant shelling of words from other side.

The war has been triggered by India’s biggest celebrity’s opinion on the current political situation. The uproar has been massive, ugly and partisan. The war will continue till the fighting class finds a new subject that upsets them, but even after that the fire may remain smouldering under the ashes.

Aamir Khan is not just a cinema star; he is also India’s most desired brand endorser. Samsung, Titan, Godrej, Tata Sky, Coke and Snapdeal have used the power of the star to drive their brands’ acceptance. For most brands, his association has been a fairly long one, and is fair to assume that it has worked for the brand.

Not surprisingly, the marauding army of offended netizens targeted Snapdeal with the strangely worded #AppWapasi campaign. The hashtag is strange because the app of Snapdeal was not gifted; they sought it out and downloaded it because they believed Snapdeal is a good place to transact. What were they returning? In times of inflamed anger and blood lust, such small details do not matter. Godrej, Coke, Samsung too faced the backlash. The first reaction of these brands was to disassociate with the statement that the actor made and hope that the furore will subside and it would be business as usual.

I think the brands missed a trick, by not being upfront and supporting the actor. The brands have commercial interest in mind, and it’s for pure commercial interest they should have supported the actor.

Consider this. There are an overwhelming number of people who have been offended by the actor, there is a small number that has not been offended, and they have fought the pitched battle. But there is a vast majority out there that is watching this fight with derision. This silent majority is the one that doesn’t find it worth their while to join the mob on either side. They will continue to patronize the brands, as long as the brand fulfils its promise of quality, service and whatever else they seek. This un-measurable silent majority is the reason for the success or failure of any brand.

If I can digress for a moment, the reason why the measurement of the recent Bihar elections went awry was because the silent majority didn’t speak out, they went about doing their work, the vocal minority was heard and the opinions formed from that noise was not worth anything.

The same is happening today with this battle. The vociferous mob will move on to the next offending statement and fight the battle there, the silent majority will continue to transact with the brands.

Snapdeal, Godrej, Coke, Titan, Samsung would have found new fans if they had stood by their existing or past brand ambassador in times of mob frenzy. Snapdeal faced the fury of people giving the app single-star rating on Play Store, but it also had a small number of people giving it 5-star rating, and I am not sure if it saw a significant dip in transactions across the two days. Godrej publicly stepped away from Aamir; what if it also made clear that while they don’t have Aamir as the endorser, they feel Aamir still embodies their brand values?

It takes one sane voice to quell the mobocracy, that sane voice could have been that of the brands. The silent majority is a powerful force, far more powerful than the small vocal mob. Brands must tap into the power of silent majority.

Original published here:

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