[Interview] Nitish Bajaj, VP Marketing, CEAT Tyres Highlights Their Social Media Strategy as a Manufacturing Brand

ceat tyres

 Nitish Bajaj, Vice President Marketing, CEAT Tyres enlightened us about the brand’s  social media objectives and developments on their digital strategy. In this interview, he  highlights key pointers for manufacturing companies and how they can be more  interesting on social platforms. He also talks about associating the brand with certain  popular topics of interest among users.CEAT Nitish Bajaj


 Where is social media marketing placed in your overall marketing mix?  What objectives do you aim to achieve through the use of social media?

We are expanding our presence in Social Media. Currently, we are focusing on  developing content for our social media properties that will be relevant to youth. We l  look to drive the content strategy through meaningful associations like CEAT Cricket  Ratings, MTV Chase the monsoon, Mahindra Adventures, etc. Our main objective on  social media is to actively engage with the youth and make them interact with our brand  through various engagement programmes.

How do you position your brand on social platforms? Being a manufacturing brand, what challenges do you face while executing creative campaigns on social media?

We are currently positioning as a brand which generates the content that the audience will able to relate to and engage. We have two properties running in parallel; CEAT Cricket Ratings (CCR) and CEAT Tyres. Through CCR, we reach out to all the cricket enthusiasts about the latest rankings and cricket trivia. Through CEAT tyres we position on the riding experiences, different escapades that the fans can undertake, safe riding, etc.

One of the challenges we face is that tyre is a very low involved category. Hence, talking about the product benefit is always a challenge. Also, there is no direct business connect that we can establish for tyres. Since the customers will always have to visit a point of fitment, tyre alignment, etc, driving people through our creative campaigns on social media to the store does get a little challenging.

What advice do you offer to other manufacturing brands who are finding it hard to create engaging content on social media?

For the brands like us, it is always challenging to talk about product. So instead, don’t talk about the product benefits and product information on your social media platforms, since that will not be as engaging with the users. Instead talk about the associations and offerings that will be a good fit for the brand. These associations also help us in developing the relevant content and make the conversations far more interesting.

Does your sector have any guidelines/policies on social media? How do you juggle your strategies for B2B and B2C industry?

As I mentioned, we are still an evolving player in this space, so we don’t have any defined social media guidelines and policies. Having said that, we do adhere to overall brand guidelines in our communication. We will gradually move towards drafting a robust social media policy. Currently, we are still focusing only on the B2C industry and establishing a strong connect in that space.

Can you throw light on some of your latest campaigns and what are you trying to achieve through them?

There are quite a few campaigns which we have executed recently. In June, we had our international CEAT Cricket Rating awards which we promoted heavily on social media. For higher engagement, we rolled out a voting contest on our properties where the users were asked to vote for their popular cricketer. We also generated a lot of buzz online during the event, since it got covered by many renowned sports journalists and influencers who are interested in sports. We were also live tweeting the results and posting the real time information on our properties.

Currently, we have two interesting properties live; CEAT MTV Chase the monsoon and CEAT Mahindra Adventure challenge.

CEAT MTV Chase the monsoon association is in its second year. This year, we have changed the format of the road trip, where the selected participants will travel from driest part of India; Rann of Kutch to Wettest part of India; Cherrapunji. This contest is mainly promoted on Digital assets of MTV, CEAT and xBHP and hence we are reaching out to the most relevant community.

Another interesting initiative that went live last week is CEAT Mahindra Adventure. Since we are the title sponsors for the Mahindra Adventure expeditions, we plan to send top 2 travel enthusiasts from Srinagar to Leh to Delhi on one of the most challenging road trips. Again this campaign is completely led by Digital. We developed a microsite for this challenge and started the heavy promotions on social media. Also, we partnered with top travel bloggers who helped us in making this contest popular to the most relevant community. We have already seen lot of interest and engagement on our social media properties, especially with the travel community. The core idea here was to design an entry mechanism that would appeal to mainly the travel enthusiast.

Travel has been an important part of your social media strategy. How did you choose this topic?

Travel is the part where rubber meets the road. Also, it is one of the most talked about subject on social media. Hence, it is an important part of our social media strategy. Through travel, we plan to establish the robustness of our tyres across all terrains and also reach out to the opinion leaders to authenticate our claim. This also helps us in generating the engaging content that will resonate with our TG.

How do you weigh engagement in comparison to fulfilling business objectives like sales on social media? Do sales take a backstage on social media?

Again, like I said, this category is one of least involved category. Also, there are very few e-commerce channels currently focused on selling tyres online. Currently, our focus is on bringing out the CEAT offering through our associations and engagement with our communities. Again, since there will always be a physical interface for tyre fitment etc. Hence, driving sales on social media is not a priority.

What kind of data do you collect and analyze through social media? Is your brand a firm believer of data driven marketing? Please elaborate.

We heavily rely on Facebook insights and Twitter analytics through various tools like Twittonomy, Netbase, Tweet Binder, Kayhole, Simply Measure, and Follower Wonk. Our team constantly analyses the content buckets that go out from our properties. Whenever there is a data that shows a course correction is required, we ensure that right steps are taken real time. We are not just chasing the vanity metrics, but also focused on how engaging is our content with the community.

Brief us on your digital marketing spendings. Are there any budget constraints on your end?

Currently, 5% of our spends are concentrated on Digital. However, there is never any budget constraint on investments. We are always open to innovations and cost effective solutions on Digital.