#Aadhaar Activists’ Notebook: Control the narrative

We need to control the narrative.

Sometimes, it will look as if it’s not possible.

But, there is always a way.

Here’s an example.

Take a look at this picture.

A communication from HDFC Bank to its customers

This is straightforward.

The bank is quoting a Government of Gazette. It gives a strong reason why the customers’ bank account should be linked with Aadhaar.

It looks as if there is no way you can control this narrative.

But, remember, there is always a way.

Enter the pros. Believe me when I say it. Some people understand communications far better than the ordinary mortals do.

(Even with my extensive experience in marketing across three continents, I will categorize in the ordinary mortals category. I continue to learn. That’s my strength. If you are into activism, that’s the attitude you should have too. Keep learning.)

Government Gazette is fine. But banks are regulated by RBI.

Did RBI ask the banks to link accounts to Aadhaar? Turns out, no.

Thus we have an opportunity to change the narrative. And is an example of how beautifully this can be done.

What about the impact?

Take a look at the responses to the tweet.

The first step, is to convince your audience that they are being misguided. And the change in the narrative essentially does it. (It’s important not to draw the audience attention to older narrative by, for example, pointing out that the banks are using Gazette to ask you to link the two numbers).

On Twitter, everything escalates fast. And thus, you have another person, linking the idea quickly to government’s cashless initiative — and from there to American influence.

This is the beauty of controlling the narrative.

Once you establish the narrative, people can easily place their facts on it and then that becomes the dominant narrative.

Follow up.

In our line of work, ‘follow up’ is a mantra. We always — ALWAYS- have to follow up with our clients. Send them gentle reminders. That’s how we establish the narrative. That’s how we ensure that no one else takes control of our narrative from us.

(This is a part of a series)