#TheSocialCMO We prefer not taking the celebrity engagement route & rather tell real stories: Shubhranshu Singh

Shubhranshu Singh Royal Enfield

Royal Enfield’s content strategy has been all things ‘storytelling’. We speak to Shubhranshu Singh to understand the brand’s marketing blueprint, decoding what goes behind creating content that engages.

2020 has presented a gamut of challenges for the A&M industry and Royal Enfield claims to have been agile in adapting to the newer trends. In conversation with Social Samosa Shubhranshu Singh – Global Head, Marketing at Royal Enfield talks about the various initiatives carried out by the legacy brand, outlining the role of marketing in selling bikes and sustaining consumers.

Excerpts:

Royal Enfield is one of the oldest motorcycle brands. How challenging has it been in terms of marketing one of the oldest brands and keeping the legacy alive? 

With a diverse line-up of motorcycles, and an engaged community of riders and brand enthusiasts, narrating the story via our marketing initiatives truly keeps the legacy alive.

In terms of challenges, the way consumers seek information and eventually make a purchase decision keeps evolving. Through the years, we have kept the community engaged via a plethora of initiatives, modernized the brand – in terms of the product and service initiatives and have created exciting, engaging and convenient means of customer and intender interface.

Although businesses got majorly impacted in the face of the pandemic, two-wheelers consumption witnessed a surge. What was it like for Royal Enfield?

We focused on customer engagement, strengthening our community, and reimagining our initiatives. We digitised our services and resolved to create a truly differentiated experience on both fronts- business and customer. On the service front, we rolled out a number of initiatives to ensure a seamless purchase and ownership experience for our customers –  from watchful home test rides (under company supervision with safety precautions) and contactless servicing.

We reimagined our service initiatives with our dedicated Royal Enfield mobile application, the online booking platforms and the Make-it-Yours initiative that lets the customer personalize their motorcycle and gear. These activities resulted in some milestone numbers for the brand and witnessed digital engagement from our customers like never before.

The deployed initiatives focused on the core themes of exploration and the importance of authentic experiences, that resulted in bringing together a diverse yet inclusive Royal Enfield community, ranging from avid riders and aspirants to custom builders and motorcycling clubs, under a common umbrella and bond, for their common passion- Pure Motorcycling. Royal Enfield as a brand has always had the community at the heart of all of our engagement initiatives and the new world view has contributed to brand innovating and taking their community to connect to the next level.

Also Read: #TheSocialCMO Any content that we create today follows an Instagram first approach: Ajay Maurya, Fastrack

On the marketing front, what were the activities and key campaigns initiated?

The highlight of the last year was the #MISSOUTONNOTHING campaign that was rolled out alongside the most anticipated motorcycle launch of the year – the Meteor 350. We were able to plant 39.7K conversations, out of which 95% were positive. The brand posts and stories reached 2.2M users with 790K views and 331.6K engagement. We were able to rope in 71 advocates who shared content around Meteor reaching 905K users with 51K engagement and 172K views. Post-October 2020, on average, 39% of all RE search queries on Google are Meteor related and resulted in 2.7 Mn incremental searches.

#RoyalEnfield Meteor trended organically on Twitter and Google India on the day of launch for hours. Lastly, a blog post by Eicher Motors MD, Siddhartha Lal garnered over 19.2K visits in that timeframe.

For cause-based marketing & even sensitive communication, what works better for the brand: Celebrity endorsements or Campaigns based on storytelling?

At Royal Enfield, the community is our key priority and focus. We prefer not to take the route of celebrity engagements and rather tell real stories. Most of our content is user-generated and is centered around storytelling. There are so many stories on motorcycle journeys out there that we’re keen on highlighting and these have organically garnered traction, and moreover, our community is keen on hearing these stories.

Several initiatives centered around these unique initiatives from Royal Enfield has seen customer engagement and brand interaction attain an all-time high for the brand while focusing on the core themes of exploration and authentic experiences.

Please take us through your media mix. What kind of role does social media play in the next few months? How is social media paving the way for lead generation and what are the communication hooks the brand tapped to amplify its messaging?

The marketing mix for Royal Enfield primarily skews towards digital platforms.

We are not a conventional television and print advertiser. Our focus has been digital – social media campaigns and search optimization. A bit of advertising that we do is to access incremental audiences, particularly with our ease of finance messaging. During FY 2020-21, we have increased our commitments to digital as part of our total spends and this continues to be a key focus area.

Our mix comprises an always-on aspect- programmatic advertising, search, maintenance spends across a variety of customer clusters, and this did not change. Campaigns, on the other hand, naturally shifted due to the COVID-19 disruption. We are consistently, deliberately, and effectively been on digital, social, and search. Looking at the year ahead, our contribution in terms of digital and overall media will only expand.

With digital being a key focus area throughout the last year, we reimagined many of our initiatives with our dedicated platforms and programs. For instance, the Make it Yours initiative is a truly world-class digital solution that allows the customer to personalize their motorcycle and gear. We witnessed the program’s contribution very recently with the launch of the Meteor 350, wherein over 90 percent of bookings for the motorcycle were routed through the MiY feature on the RE App.

Lastly, with the recent developments, we are already witnessing a massive behavioral shift with brands moving from physical engagement to digital-first interaction. According to research from IDC, two-thirds of the CEO’s of Global 2,000 companies will shift their focus from traditional, offline strategies to more modern digital strategies to improve the customer experience before the end of the year – with 34% of companies believing they’ll fully adopt digital transformation within 12 months or less.

Top 3 tips you would like to share with the industry leaders for marketing in the automobile sector in the post-COVID world?

At Royal Enfield, we feel that digital engagement will be the core of the overall strategy as fewer people are expected to step out given the current environment. The idea of what online can mean and what brands can offer digitally has immensely expanded and evolved, thus the platform needs to be tapped strategically. Brands across industries will have to find innovative ways to find and engage with their consumers and enthusiasts.

Therefore it will be extremely crucial for brands to stay close to their ethos and maneuver their way through the pandemic. Lastly, it’s important for brands to be agile towards their customer needs and tie this in with their marketing initiatives.


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