Datsun’s latest #VoteForChange campaign has launched The Datsun Party that wants to revolutionize the way India drives, in terms of style, space, comfort and power. Jerome Saigot, Vice President, Datsun Brand, India talks about the innovative campaign and all that the brand is doing to capture the attention of customers
BY SAMARPITA BANERJEE
Q] Datsun has recently come out with its #VoteForChange campaign which has election as its theme? What is the connection?
We launched Datsun in India around three years ago. Launching a new brand, especially in the automobile industry, is a challenge. We wanted to challenge the positioning, disrupt the convention in the entry-segment car market. That’s why we decided to use election as a theme which, in India, is an extremely powerful things to talk about. Election, as a topic, can go across all regions, communities and cultural barriers. Also, since we were targeting the youth through the campaign, we thought that the theme would be a good one because the youth of the nation is concerned about the future of the country and it would appeal to the younger generation.
Q] Why is Vinay Pathak a good fit for your brand?
We have seen Vinay Pathak deliver different kinds of characters with a lot of ease. He enjoys immense popularity in Bollywood and among the people in general and thought he would be the perfect actor to portray the different quirky characters in the four videos.
Q] What are the mediums you invest on most heavily to market your products?
For #VoteForChange, we are going 360 degrees. We launched the campaign during the ICC Champion’s Trophy but we will go big on experiential soon. Next week, we are launching a road show where we will be present all across the country, and will try to get as close as possible to the customers. It’ll be a show on wheels. But, of course, we will keep the theme of election and will further spread the message about ‘The Datsun Party’ all across the country. We will claim the Indian citizen’s Vote for Change through this campaign.
Q] The redi-Go sports version got a very good reception in India. What do you think worked in the favor of the car?
We launched redi-Go during the last festive season and it has got a very positive response. We have already sold more than 3,500 cars so far. With this car, we are offering something different to our customers. The car offers good features and is positioned well in terms of pricing too. We got a great response because the car is exciting.
Q] While Datsun Go had been considered a good bet after its launch, the sales did not really take off as per your target. What was your learning from that experience?
First, the product is still on the market, and Datsun Go is still delivering a very competitive mileage and power. It’s a good car and one of the best in the segment. However, what we have learnt from our experience is that it takes time to be known among customers and also to deliver and influence the opinion of customers. And that’s our main reason for launching the #VoteForChange campaign. Our aim is to create a breakthrough approach in the communication landscape. We want the campaign to tell our customers that we have something new and fresh and it’s your right to decide and choose.
Q] What are your plans for the Indian market? Are you targeting a niche segment?
No, we are not targeting a niche segment. We want to be a big player. We have already become number 10 in the country and want to grow further. We have an august plan that we will deploy in the coming years. Our positioning of Datsun is to give access to the new dreams of driving a Japanese car.
Q] You recently launched Datsun Care for redi-Go customers. What is it all about?
Datsun Care is a new service package for redi-Go customers, the main objective of which is to give a total value free experience. It means it would be completely value-free for 3-5 years, depending on which package you choose. All you will need to think about is putting fuel in the car. And it’s an extremely competitive package because it covers the auto parts, gives 24 hours, 7 days road side assistance. It gives total transparency to the customers, about how much it will cost them to drive this car. At Datsun, we are not only informing customers about how much a car will cost while purchase but also about how much it will cost to maintain and drive the car. And I think it’s key. It is what makes this an extremely competitive offer.
Q] You entered a market that already had quite a few strong players. How challenging has it been to capture the attention of the customers?
The response to that is our #VoteForChange campaign. We want to be disruptive. And we want to attract the attention of customers, and to claim and to shout that with redi-Go we have one of the best cars in the market in terms of space and power and this is the way we want to communicate. And I think the root of using the election and launching a new Datsun Party is exactly the approach we want to follow to tell our customers that ‘Hey, Datsun is here, just take a look at our offers’.
Q] You are a firm believer that the business is not just about selling cars but experiences. Can you elaborate?
We believe in taking care of our customers. We are trying to give them the best value-for-money packages, giving them the best offers in terms of financing. We are offering 899 credit rates for the Datsun redi-Go. You would only have to pay Rs 15,500 for the down payment. We are trying to facilitate access in terms of warranty and giving different offers that ensure complete peace of mind for the customers. We are giving unlimited mileage, so you buy a Datsun redi-Go and for 2-5 years you can drive as many kilometers you want, depending on the Datsun Care package you opt for. Datsun Care is also giving complete transparency regarding the ownership of the car.
Q] How do you differentiate Datsun from the mother brand Nissan?
Both brands are complementary. Datsun is competing more in the entry segment, for customers who want to spend, not more than Rs 5-7 lakhs. And the positioning of Nissan is more on the mainstream premium segment. We are not disturbing each other but are very much complementary.
Q] What gives Datsun an edge over other players in the segment?
If I take the Datsun brand, we are offering a Japanese product which is delivering quality, driveability and complete peace of mind. As far as redi-Go is concerned, we are offering a new concept of car which is an urban cross, combining the best of a hatchback in terms of fuel efficiency, stiffness (tough) and in terms of the ease to drive. We are also offering the best of crossovers because of the high seating position which gives a good visibility when you drive. You have a ground clearance of 185 millimetres which is ahead of some of the premium crossovers. There is no other car in this segment with such ground clearance. So, when you drive across potholes or old Indian roads, it gives you quite an advantage over other cars.
Q] What will be your broad marketing strategy in India for the next few years?
The marketing strategy is not just to deliver our messages to our customers effectively but also to deliver the right information. In terms of media we will also put a lot priority on experiential because we want to put our car as close as possible to our target customers. We are also focusing on Digital because that is how a brand is embracing and delivering its modernity. You will see a lot of innovation in the #VoteForChange campaign, in terms of the use of Digital. Apart from our presence on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, we are also launching a lot of interaction with our customers. TV will also be an important part of our strategy because it helps to break clutter. We used the ICC Champions Trophy platform to break through the clutter and to say that we are not going to talk about cricket, but we will talk about election.
Q] What part of your marketing spends goes towards advertising?
While I can’t share the exact figure, a big part of our marketing budget goes to communication because we want to be known by our customers. We have realized that since we have an advantage of a good product, once we come into a customer’s consideration, they are buying us. So, a major part of our marketing spends will go towards communication and building a connect.
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