Vivek Srivatsa - Tata Motors Talks #HexaExperience, Experiential Strategy, Agency Partners & More
by Shantanu Jain Marketing | November 28, 2016 | Interview
Tata Motors, the Indian multinational automotive manufacturing giant is a significant player in the passenger vehicle as well as the commercial vehicle segment of the country and is very aggressive when it comes to the brand's marketing strategies.
In its latest fiscal report , Tata Motors has claimed to own around 4.6% of the marketing share in the passenger vehicle category and its custodian Vivek Srivatsa, Head of Marketing, PVBU Tata Motors is optimistic that bigger numbers will follow in the year ahead.
In an exclusive conversation with EVENTFAQS, Vivek elucidated more on the brand strategy, agency partners, changes in the marketing dynamics and the way forward for the brand. Below are excerpts from the candid interview.
The recent annual fiscal report by Tata Motors reveals that during the last financial year, the company's Passenger Vehicles sales were reduced by 7.0% at 127,118 vehicles, registering a 4.6% of the overall market share. How does Tata Motors aim to bite a bigger chunk of the Passenger Vehicles pie in the country and what are the steps it will take?
Tata Motors has embarked on a transformation journey that has a well-defined strategy and robust product pipeline with a commitment of launching two new products every year. Our aim is to be among the top 3 Passenger Vehicle manufacturers in India by FY 2019 and in this context, we have reviewed our product portfolio and overall direction for the business unit.
In the past few months, we have grown faster than the industry and our renewed focus on design is helping recapture the consumers mind space and to strengthen our brand proposition. The company registered a growth of 28% in October, the strongest car sales in the last four years. Additionally, we also secured the second highest score in the J D Power 2016 Syndicate Customer Service Index Study, the highest increase in score in the industry in 2016.
With a singular focus on Product Design and enhanced customer experience, we are confident of attracting customers with a young and progressive mind-set into our fold. We intend to reach out to them through digital and experiential platforms which enables a two-way communication and strong engagement.
Our latest launch, TIAGO, the first product to be launched under the IMPACT Design philosophy, received a great response and helped us showcase tremendous potential. After TIAGO, we are getting ready to launch the HEXA in January 2017, our next big offering in the UV segment. Our outlook focuses not only on revamping our product portfolio, but also on adopting processes that are customer-centric in nature. We will further enhance customer purchase experiences and levels of engagement, while constantly upgrading the delight quotient. To achieve this, we are adopting new robust processes for product development & quality.
As said our newest offering will be the Tata Hexa, a lifestyle vehicle which was first showcased as a concept, at the Geneva Motor Show 2015. Unveiled later as a production version at the Delhi Auto Expo 2016, Tata Hexa will soon be available in showrooms across the country. Developed by Tata Motors in collaboration with its technology partners, the much-awaited Tata Hexa is a power packed, feature loaded and adrenaline pumped vehicle, designed for those with an active and dynamic lifestyle. With Tata Motors emphasis on design and drivability, the Tata Hexa packs an aggressive attitude and delivers absolute comfort, with a confident design. The Tata Hexa comes with host of connectivity and performance related features, enhancing the functionality of the vehicle.
What is the marketing strategy for Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles and how does the brand use experiential marketing to engage its audiences?
Our market strategy is to get Brand Tata Motors to be increasingly relevant to the discerning Indian car buyer. This customer is well informed of the latest international trends and is very clear about his expectation from his car. We will reach out to this customer by getting him to experience the outstanding design of our products as well as the next level of customer experience.
We are present on traditional mediums like TV, print, radio and are increasingly on new-age mediums be it Virtual Reality or unique concepts like ‘Tripling with Tiago’ on the digital platform.
Experiential marketing is an extremely important platform for us as it allows customer to get an interface with our product, Brand and feel the evolved and contemporary design philosophy of our cars.
With the Tata Hexa, we have kicked started the pre-launch buzz with yet another unique innovative and engaging initiative called the #HexaExperience Centre, for customers, enthusiasts and their families to try out the Tata Hexa before its launch.
We also offered the #HexaExperience to around 75 CEOs over a weekend in Jaipur. Over 100 bloggers drove the car over a weekend in Hyderabad to prove how the HEXA was a delight to a varied set of users.
We have associated with Excel entertainment for the film Rock On 2, to present HEXA as the Drive of the New Generation, where the star cast of the movie jammed to a leading song in the Tata HEXA.
All these initiatives thereby indicate that Tata Motors is firmly on the experiential platform of marketing which immerses the customer on the product and helps deliver a two-way conversation.
Comment more on the upcoming #HexaExperience centre by the brand? What is the concept and how will it benefit audiences?
The Hexa is very capable and we are supremely confident about the performance and abilities of the vehicle. The ‘Hexa Experience Centre’ provides an opportunity to our discerning customers to experience the sheer width of capabilities of the vehicle, not experienced in a normal test drive. Besides trying out the Hexa, customers can also enjoy the attention and hospitality of other Tata Brands with friends and family. Through ‘Hexa Experience Centres’, we plan to excite and enthral our customers across the country, as we gear up for the launch of our flagship product in January 2017.”
The premium set-up is made up of a challenging off-roading course, a customer lounge and a dining area, giving customers an opportunity to take the Hexa to its limits. Customers also can book the vehicle at the venue, ahead of its launch in January 2017. The off-roading course of the #HexaExperience Centre is HEXTRAORDINARY, with inclines, declines, side slopes, axle twisters and alternate rumblers. Each one of these is designed to test the power, stability and the driving experience of the HEXA. Adding further excitement, visitors can also experience the Hexa, at the hands of a professional stunt drivers.
We kicked off the ‘HEXA Experience Centre’ in Gurgaon on November 25, to November 27, 2016, and will soon take the experiential initiative to Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
How are these on-ground initiatives conceptualized? Previously, your brand has entrusted Wizcraft, Inextis, THOT media to execute your BTL campaigns. What does Tata Motors look for in an agency before they rope them in?
At Tata Motors, we conceptualize and work closely with multiple agency partners and involve them early in our plans. We seek creative as well as strategic inputs from them and expect our agency to understand the brand deeply and deliver on timelines. We are not aligned with any particular agency and choose on the basis of the most suitable proposal for each initiative.
Over the years how do you think the phenomenon of automobile marketing has changed? What are the current trends and how has the market evolved?
Today, the customer journey begins on-line and by the time he / she walks into a showroom, he is all but decided on the car he wants to buy.
It's very important to be intuitive on Digital and equally responsive when the customer visits our showrooms. Marketing is end to end in the customer buying journey and not restricted to just communication.
Design forms a very important part of a customers’ car buying decision and we at Tata Motors have a intense focus on design, recapturing the consumer mind space. Our new IMPACT design philosophy stands for impact at first sight matched with lasting impact over time and Tiago is the first car to showcase new design philosophy
The test drive experience will evolve. Confident about the performance of the Tata Hexa, we have set up the #HexaExperience Centre which is a unique and innovative concept. The ‘Hexa Experience Centre’ provides an opportunity for our discerning customers to experience the sheer width of capabilities of the vehicle, not experienced in a normal Test Drive. Designed for customers to get a first-hand experience of the Tata Hexa’s prowess on and off the road, the #HexaExperience Centre further builds on our customer engagement initiatives, to enable potential customers, enthusiasts and their families to get up close and personal, with the feature loaded Tata Hexa.”
What are the upcoming campaigns that Tata Motors looks forward to launching soon?
Tata Motors is working on a series of initiatives around the Hexa, details of which we will discuss shortly.
In an exclusive conversation with EVENTFAQS, Vivek elucidated on the brand strategy, agency partners and way forward for the brand.