2019 trends for marketers to watch in lubricant industry: Kedar Apte, Castrol India

Guest Column: Kedar Apte, Vice President of Marketing, Castrol India, talks about brands with a purpose and the need to focus on quality rather than quantity

e4m by Kedar Apte
Updated: Jan 22, 2019 8:33 AM
kedar apte

The consumer landscape in India has changed rapidly with the high penetration of mobile phones and data becoming more accessible. The consumer is exposed to multiple channels of communication throughout the day. With information being easily available and flowing fast in real time, the consumer today is more informed than ever before. The marketers today have to work really hard to ensure the brand message is registered with consumers and results into purchase and loyalty. Lubricants market is no different and while there is no substitute for having a great product, as far as it comes to marketing, I see the following trends emerging as key themes for 2019 and beyond.

Brands with a purpose

The famous author Simon Sinek once said – “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” While product quality is a given, it is brands with a purpose that is able to differentiate themselves and also give consumers confidence that they are buying the right brand. Brands should understand the consumers well and support a purpose they believe in. For instance, the campaign for the leading brand for truckers—Castrol CRB—recognized posture-related health issues faced by truckers due to continuous driving and offered a unique solution: Castrol Truckasana, customized yoga moves for truckers that would help the truckers manage and improve their health. Or the campaign by Castrol Activ (bikes engine oil) that became a spark for change by transforming some unclean areas into cricket arenas with the help of local communities.

Sharper Content Marketing 

A consumer today is exposed to different content 24X7 and I see marketers focus on the quality of content rather than quantity. It will be the sharpness of the nail that will be deemed more important than the strength of the hammer. The brand message will need to be seamlessly integrated into content that appeals to consumers, just like ‘Castrol Activ Champions’ on Cricbuzz, which features a champion cricketer every week with parallels being drawn with the brand benefit.

Influence the influencer

A consumer today is more informed and involved in the purchase decision. Marketers need to map the customer journey and identify the key influencers. In lubricants, mechanics are doctors for the vehicles and trusted by consumers. We see a significant shift in spends by brands from consumer marketing to influencer marketing. Castrol has an initiative – Castrol Super Mechanic that focuses on the education of mechanics and also makes them heroes in their own community and neighbourhood by recognizing their skills. We recorded 15 lakh call-ins for the second edition of Castrol Super Mechanic and more than one lakh bike and car mechanics registered to participate. Several Bike and Car experts have also emerged as influencers in servicing of vehicles and I see brands being more active in the area of social media and blogs.

With the continuously evolving consumer ecosystem, 2019 promises to be a busy year for marketers.


Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

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