In conversation with Social Samosa, Vijay Kaul from Yamaha India sheds light on the brand completing its 65th year, evolving marketing strategies & campaigns amidst the pandemic.
Yamaha celebrated its 65th anniversary on July 01, 2020. According to the brand, they have managed to retain their DNA at the root of their advertising journey over the years.
We get in a candid conversation with Vijay Kaul, DGM, Yamaha India to get to the roots of the brand’s marketing strategy while remaining in the minds of the consumers during a crisis period.
How has the advertising journey for the brand evolved to date? Please take us through the idea behind the journey of the brand leveraging nostalgia, facts, & anecdotes.
At the core of any advertising campaign is the DNA of the Brand. Over a period, we have always retained this DNA in advertising which is exciting, stylish & sporty.
Currently, digital is the in-thing & we are making the best use of the tools. From the creative communication standpoint, we have evolved from the storytelling concept to making our customers part of the story so that they stay relevant with the brand and become brand evangelists. Our Brand Campaign “The Call of The Blue” is an example in this context.
From the content archives that we have, our social media team weaved a visual story to take our audience through the brand’s journey. The focus was on Instagram considering the visual nature of the platform. Each post that talked about different aspects of our heritage was from the viewpoint of Our Heritage Stories, and all the posts together formed the 65th year grid.
Please take us through your communication strategy across platforms. How do you plan to reach out to your core TG at this time?
We understand that these are sensitive times and hence, any communication must be mindful. In March when the lockdown was first announced, we immediately modified our communications on Social Media. Retaining the trust of our consumers was of utmost importance.
We aim to be agile and are tracking the ground reality from sales, dealership networks, and consumer perspectives. It gives a more real-time situation update and to help the brand in the new normal to scale business. We plan to be with customers at every stage of their purchase journey and brand experience.
Digital, layered with the technology of AI and machine learning will help to achieve the planned goals and TV will help to build top-of-mind awareness before the festive season.
Please take us through your COVID-19 sensitive marketing strategy – what are the fundamentals of it?
We as a brand never believe in moment marketing. We have always tried to be relevant to our target audience. The communication is done based on the situation & sentiments.
On Social Media, we refrained from pushing product communication for a while. The content has been largely around promoting safety, bike care tips, and service updates. Few posts were also done to keep the audience engaged with trivia’s, games, contests, etc. When some of the dealerships reopened, we ensured the implementation of utmost hygiene and safety measures, and the same was communicated on Social media.
Instagram had already been leading the way in terms of engagement and continues to do so, currently, as well.
We are constantly monitoring conversations around the brand and category in order to be aware of the challenges faced by consumers. It is our constant endeavor to hear out our consumers and resolve their concerns within our capacity so that there is one less thing to worry about amongst these uncertain times.
In terms of ad spends, what does your marketing plan for this quarter look like? Please take us through your media mix.
Social Media has been at the forefront of all our digital initiatives and it continues to be the most important medium for us to engage with our audience. While we will continue to engage with the audience through content and collaborations, we also want to keep them updated about our products.
There is a significant shift in consumer behavior leading to a preference for a personal vehicle when it comes to daily commutes. As a brand, it is critical for us to be relevant in their buying decision.
We are keeping in mind the current scenario and adapting to the rapidly changing consumer behavior also supporting our network partners by establishing various initiatives of Extension of Service during the lockdown, Contactless Delivery, Online Booking.
For the next few months, it’s evident that we will see a higher skew towards digital spends focusing on the ROI of the campaign, largely lead generation drive.
Impact / Performance / Programmatic and TV will surely be key drivers among spends
Three things that the COVID-19 situation taught you in terms of marketing, & advertising?
Marketing spends will eventually focus on optimizing ROI and savings. The pandemic has significantly sped up the pace of the shift towards digital marketing, including AR & VR. Traditional marketing events, such as auto shows and exhibitions, have taken a backseat. This will change the traditional marketing channels and digital media platforms likely will be the gainers.
Top 3 marketing tips for the brands in the automobile sector to deal with a crisis situation
- To be sensitive and relevant in communication to customers.
- To keenly observe consumer behavior and evolve and adapt accordingly.
- To provide product solutions to customers who would like to have everything delivered to their doorstep.
Road to Recovery and the way forward for the brand? How do you see the industry shaping up in the post COVID-19 world?
The pandemic has brought about a drastic shift in consumer buying habits and behaviors. It’s likely to slow down on shared mobility options as people will prioritize social distancing and personal hygiene. This would effectively build higher preferences for affordable personal mobility, which could boost sales for auto manufacturers.
As per the research conducted by Kantar, mobility will take a hit by 55% as people will stop using the public mode of transport. While the next few months will be tough, no doubt that everyone will get through them.
Pre-festival, mid-August onwards, the market will improve. India being a growing market will bounce back quickly.
We might revisit our advertising strategy. But the entire industry will be banking on the festival season, which we can’t miss. Two-wheeler companies normally see an upward trend during the regional festive season starting Onam, Ganesh Festival, Durga Puja, and till Diwali. Also, there is hope in terms of demand owing to changes in travel preferences.