[Interview] Sanjay Gupta, Hyundai Motors India, On the Success of the Brand on Social Media

We interviewed Sanjay Gupta, Sr. General Manager & Group Head – Marketing, Hyundai Motor India Ltd. on their over all social media strategies to find out their online communication objectives & to understand how social media marketing has played a major role in accomplishing their goals. Mr. Gupta also shared details about their latest successful campaign for Hyundai & how with the help of their content strategy they gauge the general pulse of their audience.

What are the communication objectives of Hyundai & how does social media marketing help in achieving these objectives?

As a key player in the country’s automobile sector, & with growing competition, our key focus is always to reach out to our market as much as possible & listen to them as much as possible. Social media needless to say is a key tool for this two way communication.

What has the impact of social media marketing for your brand in India been so far? How has the social space evolved since the launch of Hyundai in India?

Social media has been a great way to connect and engage with our fans to build a long term relation with them. They are the first ones to give us feedback on many things including brands, service and communication. We value that and have benefited from them. While we started our presence in the social space through Facebook, we have expanded our presence across all popular social spaces today. Our fan base has grown rapidly. We really work hard to sustain a good association with our fans.

What are the key tenets of your social media policy for the company? Could you please outline it for us?

The key tenets of our social media policy hinge on Communication, Engagement and building long term association with our fans across multiple platforms in innovative ways and manner which is in sync with our brand values.

From the entire marketing budget, in terms of percentage how much is allocated to social media marketing every year?

Our investments in the social media space are based on objectives and tasks of the brands. The budget is never allowed to be a constraint and that as a percentage of the overall marketing budget is a derivative than a starting point.

Does an external agency manage the social media communication for your brand? If yes, how does it tie in with your overall communication strategy?

We choose to call our associates as partners, and not as external agencies. We have been working with Everymedia for over 3 years now. The synergy of our social media initiatives are always in sync with the overall brand communication plans. Innocean, our marketing communications group ensures these synergies by collaborating with all stake holders and integrates plans to be taken forward in the social space in a seamless manner.

How do you plan & execute your content strategy? Give us a day in the life of your social media manager right from conceptualization of a campaign to its execution.

Our content strategy heavily rides on our products & related offerings.  We start any campaign working backwards, as in we first set up a clear objective & set of measurable that need to be achieved & then start working on that ground up. Post execution these outcomes are measured & learnings derived.

What are some of the most important social media platforms you think an automobile brand must be present on, to target & engage with its customers?

The social media paradigm is so dynamic today that anything is too little. Buyers today love the idea of interacting with brands at different levels on different platforms. We believe if your audience is showing you signs that you should be on a particular platform then you should be there.

What role does your social presence play in customer relationship management? Since it is easy to put up a tweet about a dissatisfying experience users have had with a product or a service, how fast do you reach out to a customer & respond?

Our social presence works wonders for our CRM. We focus on the ‘relationship’ part of the CRM.  Social provides us with a very vibrant & economical platform to listen to our customers. We have a set of guidelines to respond to complaints & queries on platforms, & follow them religiously. Our basic response time is 1hr.

What tools do you use to analyse the feedback you get about your product & customer service via social media? Do you use any tool to measure the efficacy of your social media campaigns?

We go by the basics & use the inbuilt analytical tools across platforms.

Tell us something about your recent successful social media campaign & how did you track its effectiveness?

Our latest successful social campaign was the activity we did for the launch of our newest offering the Elitei20.  Our plan was to use the Social platforms to garner maximum coverage for the product & develop a cult following for the same. We did it by –

  • Live streaming the launch with a buzz going a few days earlier to create the anticipation
  • We followed it up with prompt content of the cars exclusiveness highlighting features that make the car stand apart.
  • We kept the buzz on with 3 back to back contests on platforms, thus constantly engaging the audience
  • We also linked offline activities, online thus maintaining the buzz over all.

Our main objective during this process was to garner maximum engagement & on the platforms, being a consumer brand our main aim was to get people talking about the car.  We tracked the efficiency on the basis of people communicating about the various activities be it the launch streaming or the TVC launch or contests etc. Our goal was to get people talking & we did it.

Who is your potential customer target group and how do you reach out to them via social media?

With change in the demographics in the country over the past 10 years the average car buyer today’s age has dropped drastically. With a plethora of opportunities for youngsters today & the general change in attitude to life & access to finance, the automobile industry has found an entirely new bracket of buyers ranging from the age group of approximately 25 to 32.

This customer space is the most active on Social Media & relies on social media heavily for purchase decisions. We reach out to our buyers & fans through very interactive content. This is broken down into informative content, promotional content & engaging content like contests etc. This helps us gauge the general pulse of our social audience.

How do you measure your social media ROI?

We measure the social media ROI at mainly two levels. Firstly we look at the basics in terms of each platform in terms of what it has to offer, for eg. Likes, Followers etc. Once these basics are in place the next level is to use the platform for deep day to day communication with our customer’s & Fans who are not customers yet. In terms of ROI we look at the Social Presence to add to the overall brand equity & to Hyundai’s brand value in the customer’s mind space, hence translating into the overall Hyundai Experience in terms of sale & after sale experience.