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Marketing of India to Trump

The president got a lavish welcome in his first visit to the country.

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MUMBAI: It’s not your normal day when the president of the United States of America pays a visit. India tried to sway his priorities and hosted the guest and his family as lavishly as possible.

Starting its preparation a month in advance, the Indian administration left no stone unturned to woo US president Donald Trump.

From traditional folk dance at the airport to the 22- kilometer long roadshow lines with people waving the first family while holding flags of both the countries, India went big in all its efforts. The preparation didn’t stop there as Ahmedabad saw posters and OOH ads all across the city with the tagline ‘two dynamic personalities and one momentous occasion'.

Dentsu Aegis Network India chief executive officer Anand Bhadkamkar says: “I don’t think the hospitality given to Trump and his family could be termed as a marketing strategy. However, India presented itself quite well in front of the US president. Trump’s India visit was more of to enhance bilateral ties between the two nations and bonhomie between the leaders.”

Trump for the first time ever addressed a crowd of over 1 lakh attendees on a foreign land during an event.

“Trump is a persona, who is all about spectacle and received very good spectacle in Ahemdabad", believes Bengaluru-based brand guru Harish Bijoor. “It was a very lavish show presented by India as far as the US president was concerned.”

Donald Trump was on his first-ever two-day (24-25 February) state visit to India post his election as the US president in 2016 along with wife Melania Trump and other dignitaries from his administration.

The first day of Trump’s visit to India was all about hospitality to Trump. Post landing in Ahmedabad, he visited Sabarmati Ashram, attended Namaste Trump, a return gift for the Howdy Modi event that took place last year in Texas, followed by a visit at the Taj Mahal and eventually ending the first day in the national capital for the next day’s ceremony. The second day was all about a ceremonial event to honour the guest with a state dinner at President of India’s residence Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Bijoor says, “POTUS (President of the United States) is a very powerful persona as far as the world is concerned, particularly in terms of business and occupying a solid position in the mind of POTUS has been the basic goal of India during the Namaste Trump event, which we have achieved successfully.”

“The marketing goal of India to Trump was to achieve that pole position and it has been very well established. If the US president repeats his term in the presidential elections slated this year then the gamble is well played as we have a friend in the US for another five years," adds Bijoor.

As a marketing strategy, this is not the first time that prime minister Narendra Modi has hosted a guest in different parts of the country apart from New Delhi. He had hosted China’s president Xi Jinping in Mahabalipuram, a coastal town in Tamil Nadu, last year and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi in 2015, wherein Modi made Abe participate in Ganga aarti.

“Modi is one of the best marketers India has ever had in all of the prime ministers. Modi is India’s best brand endorser,” says Bijoor. “I don’t think India has had any brand endorser as good as Modi. In terms of branding, we’re at a focal point right at the peak with prime minister Modi as a brand ambassador.”

One only hopes that India's marketing to Trump pays off adequately in the eyes of the world.

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