Marketing the NANO

You know the tech specs, you have heard the reactions and sensed the palpable excitement. The much-awaited people’s car or Lakhtakiya from Tata Motors saw a dream launch at the Auto Expo in New Delhi on Thursday.

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The world’s media has chronicled every bit of the Nano’s birth, from labour pangs panning over three years to a safe delivery. So, will marketing the car be child’s play after all. There is so much momentum propelling it or will it be a case of striving to meet great expectations.

Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Motors, said, “I must say thank god it is over because what I went through few hours ago was for me pretty traumatic. I am a reasonably shy person and at the same time our challenge has just begun. We have to deliver on our promise and have to deliver a reliable vehicle to the country. The nation has to accept that it would be the final verdict. In a way, what we have done today is to just put a stick in the ground and disclose what we have achieved, but we have a long way to go.”

The closest any brand launch has come to rivaling the launch of the Apple iPhone in June 2007, has to be this one and Ratan Tata’s Nano is not even for sale yet! While the Rs 1 lakh showroom price tag will be its biggest lure, the breakthrough it signifies for the global auto industry and the emotional investment in the project by the Tata Motors’ team has created a brand that is almost an overnight icon. But with the commercial launch of the Nano a good eight maybe even 12 months away and with nobody getting a chance to actually drive the car yet, the goodwill, interest, and fire to buy will have to be stoked carefully.

Is it going to be a case of matching rate expectations or riding on momentum, which this kind of a launch can give a brand?

Rajiv Dube, President-Passenger Cars, Tata Motors, said, “If we were launching this car as of tomorrow, there would have been a phase where we would have been riding the momentum. For what I have seen and what people have told me, I think it has got a welcome reception and that momentum would have carried this forward to some extent. But since the commercial launch is still some time away, we would have to work towards keeping their interest going until the car comes on the roads. And beyond a period of time, may be two-three years if we have done it, somebody else will try to do it. It is going to be a great effort in terms of keeping the brand appealing to consumers when others are around.

While the day after the launch saw the Nano get full page real ads which it did not really need as a full blown ad campaign is still a while away.

Dube: If you look at Unilever, their per piece prices are very small but they sell in volumes, so their advertising budget is huge. I cannot comment whether in relation to the Indica it will be small or big, but what this car deserves it will get. In terms of volumes, we have said that we would like to use some innovative means of reaching out, which are not conventional because this car in terms of its concept is not conventional.

Not surprisingly, Tata Motors is keeping the Nano’s marketing plans close to its chest. It is clear though that it is looking to adopt unconventional ways and is looking for models outside the car industry to distribute this high volume, low margin car but service centers and dealers will also be integral to the new paradigm. It expects the Nano to have universal appeal that cuts across geographies and demographics.

One day the world’s cheapest car used the people’s medium to get in touch. It was looking to engage chat and even set a date.

That snazzy launch event and the launch print campaign was handled by Showdiff and Rediffusion DY&R. But contrary to reports that say that Rediffusion has bagged the Nano account, it’s not yet a done deal. Though don’t be surprised if it does end up getting the Nano in addition to the commercial vehicles business it already handles for Tata Motors. After all they were chosen to handle the launch and Ratan Tata and Arun Nanda are known to be friends. Other roster agencies for the company are FCB Ulka and Ogilvy.

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2 Responses to Marketing the NANO

  1. Nano Car says:

    The closest any brand launch has come to rivaling the launch of the Apple iPhone in June 2007, has to be this one and Ratan Tata’s Nano is not even for sale yet! While the Rs 1 lakh showroom price tag will be its biggest lure, the breakthrough it signifies for the global auto industry

  2. Hi,
    This is really something exceptional . I like the way you are writing … Its really awesome ..I hope to see some new more and encouraging posts from you .
    Thanks .

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