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'BRETAIL', marketing the Volvo way

04-March-2013
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'BRETAIL', marketing the Volvo way

The luxury car market is a mere 1.2 per cent of the total car market, according to experts, who saw little cheer in the Parliamentary Budget presented on February 28, 2013 for luxury auto manufacturers.

Sudeep Narayan, Marketing and PR Director, Volvo Auto India pointed out, “What is important for us is the product-experience, but more so the communication experience.” He cited an example of an ad by Ericson ‘One black coffee’, the first TV commercial from India to win the Cannes Lion, “afterwards there was a research done and people could not identify the brand that did it. They linked it to Nokia that had the majority in the market. The reason why I have this example is because it was good entertainment, but it may not have been good retainment,” he added.

Second example that he gave was of geo targeting by Domino’s in Australia. “People in Australia move out on weekends, go to the country remote areas without much connectivity, Domino’s was losing business because they were based on home delivery, they developed a home delivery application that could geo target the audience and one could order a pizza from the Bondi beach. With the app the sales increased by 50 per cent, hence bringing the factor of retainment and marketing,” he added.

Narayan threw light on how brand sales can never be able to come together as there is always a tussle and eventually the brand loses out. “For us, one car sold is one car advertised, an owner is the brand ambassador. So we started ‘BRETAIL’, for example, we said that one should experience the car, we say that we have the best safety system, we had a sales pitch at our dealership and we made it interesting, we were able to direct and do the automatic brake system. We tell our customers to test the automatic brake system with blindfolds. So when there is a balloon stuck to the wall and the car is close enough it automatically stops. These are small things, but these small things is what gives us the empathy that our prospects desire,” he said.

Another example that he shared was of augmented reality. “TV and newspapers do it these days, but what we did is that we gave out a device with the ‘Forbes’ magazine that had the concept of an augmented reality. We target the top 100 CXOs of the city through ‘Forbes’ database and sent them this device with it. The device can be opened like a brochure and one can watch videos on it explaining everything in our sales pitch about the car. So it is something that is retainable,” he added.

Narayan also reiterated that Volvo doesn’t target everyone and market in a big way. It looks at sharp targeting and geo targeting. It looks at customers and prospects and as a brand about customers it has a lot of experiential events. For example, he said, “there is no brand that does not do golf in this segment. We wanted to do it differently, what we did was that instead of buying a trophy we got it handcrafted, we advertised it though sharp targeting channels to the golfing community. We gave everyone free test-drives to whoever could not make it and the ones who came and got selected and were our prospective clients, were given a car for a weekend, just to build up the ‘entRETAINMENT’ aspect,” he said.

Being candid Narayan said that there is always a sales objective when Volvo does an event, it looks at the prospects and then communicates its marketing, etc. “If you look at our Facebook account we are probably the least fans. I am happy about it because, if I do a winner trip to Sweden or meet Sachin Tendulkar, I will have a million fans but that is not engagement. We have got 3000-4000 fans, most of them are prospects and people who know the brand. Our strategy is to discuss and engage where other have been focusing on hitting the like button,” Narayan said. He further added that as part of the ‘retainment’ aspect, “we planned that we will not have any golf-widows (when golfers would go out to play they would forget about their spouse or family getting heavily engrossed in the sport) so we tied up with Ritu Beri and said that whoever won the golf tournament would win the designer set from Ritu Beri for their wives, which actually made the women get excited about the golf that men play. The level of affinity a brand gets though this is tremendous.”

As per Narayan’s presentation, Volvo’s other engagement was fashion. He said that Volvo needed to join the dots and hence, as a sponsor of the Lakme Fashion week, it talked about golf and in golf it talked about the Lakme Fashion Week. “So everybody who came knew that Volvo is involved in both fashion and golf. For this we made the blue jacket, designed by Ritu Beri where the winners of the golf tournament would be awarded with the blue jacket and the jacket was launched as a part of the Lakme Fashion Week,” added Narayan. But is this really retainment? Narayan thinks that small things help the brand make a difference. In 2011 Volvo sold 321 cars, 2012 it sold 820 cars and it expects to sell more than 1200 cars this year. Eyeing at a 15 per cent market share in the luxury segment Narayan said that Volvo doesn’t want to go too quickly, it wants to go slow and the mantra is ‘retainment’. “That is why we say that our brand is centred around the consumer,” he added.

Sudeep Narayan was sharing his views on ‘entRETAINMENT’ at the Delhi Pitch CMO Summit presented by Colors Viacom18 in association with MEC. The Summit was held on March 1, 2013.

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