Over a year after it first hit the road, Tata Motors’ Tiago has registered 100,000 orders and seen a 35 per cent jump in orders for June 2017 as compared to that in June 2016.
How did the auto major spin the wheel in its favour after an unfortunate stumble at the start over its name?
Tiago was not Tata Motors’ first choice for a name; it had locked down Zika but abandoned that after a global outbreak of a disease caused by a virus of the same name. Tiago was positioned as a hatchback for the urban young, as a value-for-money purchase. However, the company had to make sure that the customer differentiated the Tiago brand from other cars in its stable, especially the Nano that had been targeted at a similar audience.
To get Tiago off the block, the company had to craft a brand that leveraged the Tata group’s legacy without being burdened by the past. To do that the company relied heavily on data and technology, identifying its target audiences carefully and then communicating with them in a language that they identified with. Also, the company decided to use digital media as a core branding platform, not just because it appealed to its core audience, but also because it let the company measure its efforts and correct its actions, if it needed to.
“We use data, technology and trends to focus sharply on our customer target groups and define our marketing mix. We mapped back the latest technology to some highly pronounced behavioural traits of the youth to create campaigns for Tiago right since its launch. And we have consistently done innovations to keep the interest of the youth alive,” said Vivek Srivatsa, head of marketing, passenger vehicle business unit, Tata Motors in an e-mailed response to Business Standard.
So far the company says 66,000 Tiagos are on the road. And in June 2017, the company sold 5,438 units of Tiago over 4,025 units in the same month last year, a 35 per cent increase year-on-year. The company says that it has used digital media extensively in its campaign for Tiago — be it as a source for experiential branding or for advertising.
“We used virtual reality as one of the tools to provide a unique experience to our customers and engage with them effectively,” said Srivatsa. The company set up an engagement space for customers, where they could take a virtual test drive or download the virtual drive app to experience the same on their phones. This hit the mark with the digitally savvy generation as it let them examine the brand in their own time and also opened up the channels for peer-to-peer recommendations without relying on a salesperson as an intermediary.
Srivatsa added that the company also customised the print advertisement to match the technologically advanced image of the car. Now, buoyed by the experience, Tata Motors has announced that it will renovate showrooms across country to appeal to young buyers. This will be the second renovation by the company in three years; the first was done after the launch of Zest.
On the one hand, the company set the digital stage for customer engagement and on the other it worked with online branding agencies to reach its target audience. One such tie-up was with The Viral Fever (TVF), a digital entertainment channel. The company said that it partnered with TVF to co-create the concept for a series called Tripling with Tiago. The web series was about three siblings that represented three distinctive set of target groups for Tiago — young professionals, out of college and newly married. “Tiago was featured as a fourth character which enables these siblings to take an unforgettable, unplanned road trip, to meet their parents and in the process relive their happy memories again,” said Srivatsa. The series notched up over 28 million views the company said, giving the brand visibility and generating enough
buzz around it to propel it further within the target communities. The company says it has also been working with app developers on music apps that cater to the tastes of young drivers.
Selling to the young calls for agility; not just in terms of marketing methods, but also on the pricing front, say analysts. Tiago has been attentive to the pricing detail and is positioned to compete with the category bestsellers said Bibhishan Jagtap, research analyst, Emkay Financial Services. Tiago costs between Rs 3.53 lakh and Rs 6.28 lakh (top-end variant). It is also the first car to be underpinned under Tata Motors’ new Impact design philosophy that has defined a new design language for all its automobiles. After Tiago, Tigor and Hexa have used the same design language as will the forthcoming compact SUV Nexon that is due to be launched this festive season. Though Tiago has not received any facelift or update yet, it has added an Automated Transmission (AMT) variant. “The top-end variant is the most popular among first time car buyers and the recently introduced AMT variant has witnessed an overwhelming response,” said Srivatsa. The company said that currently 15 to 20 per cent of Tiago bookings are for its AMT variant.