Fiat Group Motors, now a 100 per cent subsidiary of the Italian SPA post its transition announcement from Tata Motors, has launched a new integrated brand reassurance marketing campaign, designed as a communication tool to tell its consumer database about its new initiatives, dealerships, post sales service and more importantly, deliver the brand experience that was missing with the joint venture with Tata Motors.
This is also an initiative by the brand to make up for lost brand equity and sales due to the split and re-establish itself in the Indian market.
“Go direct to the consumer, do not depend on anyone else to give the customer your brand experience, have a direct contact with the market, and local customisation is imperative, are some of the lessons we learnt from the JV,” said Nagesh A Basavanhalli, President and Managing Director, Fiat – Chrysler India Operations.
“It is a very exciting time to be back in India where the consumer is younger and more ambitious,” added Basavanhalli.
The brand has also re-engineered its approach and consolidated its network relationships, with a three-focussed approach on brand, product and distribution. Fiat India has 51 exclusive points of sales (dealerships) and plans to double its footprint by the end of the financial year.
With the establishment of FGAIPL, an independent dealership network and state-of-the-art workshop dedicated to serving FIAT vehicles in prime locations across major cities in India, Fiat’s wheels are in swift motion to capture significant market share in one of the fastest growing markets in the world.
The brand has taken a big bang approach for its comeback of sorts with its ‘Make the move’ campaign. To make its presence felt, it is using IPL as a media vehicle, hoping to grab eyeballs of cricket fans on television. Maxus India is responsible for the media presence of the brand, whereas Ogilvy India has conceptualised and executed the campaign.
“The campaign comes post the Fiat and Tata Joint venture coming to end. It is a brand reassurance campaign to reach out to existing and new consumers to say ‘we have our won exclusive dealerships’. It is a completely 360-degree campaign, present at all consumer touch-points. I would call it a balanced campaign with a strong presence across TV, digital, print, radio and OOH media,” commented Kartik Sharma, Managing Partner, Maxus India.
The genesis of the campaign is based on urging the consumers to make the move, follow their heart and realise their long pending dreams.
“As long as the overall emotional persona resonates with something that the consumer feels strongly about, there is a connect; this is what brands are looking for. We have the heritage and history in the market to make the claim that we have been there through both, the good and the bad times,” observed Tarun Khanna, Marketing Head, Fiat India.
The brand’s existing offerings Linea and Punto contend with Honda, Skoda and Hyundai – all of which have the advantage of a consistent connect with the consumer through new product offerings and brand initiatives.
Television has been allocated around 60 per cent of the spends, the TVC being the face of the campaign, followed by 20 – 25 per cent to print, which supports the TVC and 15 – 20 per cent of the brand’s spends are allocated to the digital medium, which is a growing focus area for the brand. It has also revamped its website to increase consumer engagement and interface.
“In the auto segment, very little stands out today. The category in its entirety reminds me of the suitings category of yore. A category where everyone advertised like everyone else did, till a time when everyone looked like everyone else. In the end, you loved the category advertising, but you forgot which brand did what. Fiat and 'Move on' is reasonably generic in its mindset, tone, tenor and decibel. The campaign helps stay in the category, but does not help it jump out and stand out,” feels Harish Bijoor, Brand Expert and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults.
The brand has also opened Fiat cafes which it positions as ‘Cafés with cars on the menu’ in collaboration with coffee retail giant, Lavazza, as its retail partner in Pune and Delhi. These cafes aim to showcase the brand’s offerings in an informal atmosphere combined with Lavazza’s offerings of pasta and coffee.
This is, however, not the first time an automobile player has ventured into the gourmet arena to enhance brand experience; BMW conducts similar food and wine tastings and invites the consumer base to experience its latest offering. More recently, Mercedes also conducted similar initiatives.
The brand currently has a market share of 1 per cent and has seen a quadrupling of sales in some pockets of the country. With 51 touch-points of exclusive dealers, 360-degree marketing campaign, focus on service and expansion of exclusive dealer networks in metros followed by tier II and III cities, the brand aims to increase its market share.
The question still remains: Is Fiat India making the right move to reconnect with consumers, catch up with completion in a fiercely competent automobile market in India and repair its brand image? Will this campaign aid the brand in rebuilding its equity after being meted out the step child treatment by Tata Motors? Only time will tell.