Audi India is very hopeful of a significant pickup in demand in the long-run despite the apprehensions that luxury buying may take a back-seat in the short term due to the current economic climate.
In a conversation with BestMediaInfo.com, Gaurav Sinha, Head for Marketing and Public Relations, Audi India, said consumers of luxury products are going to keep away from buying in the next few months and the pandemic has forced everyone to trim their budgets.
âSales do see a spike during the festive season; having said that, in the current economic climate, luxury buying may take a back-seat,â Sinha said.
The German auto major had earlier predicted that the sales of luxury cars would be flat in India.
Sinha said that he is still hopeful consumer sentiments will improve and demand will grow in the long run.
The brandâs plans to launch new models are still unchanged. "Timelines will have to be assessed keeping in mind the situation in the coming weeks," he said.
For Audi India, digitisation will continue to be at the core of its strategy. As a brand, Sinha said that it is investing holistically in all possible avenues to be âFuture Readyâ.
The brand has already announced a vital step in its digitisation journey with the roll-out of digital sales and after-sales offerings. The incorporation of Augmented Reality, a 360-degree Product Visualizer, and online bookings on the Audi India website, brings the buying experience straight to a prospective customerâs fingertips.
The brand is confident that its existing digitisation initiatives, including AR and VR, will help tap into demand from buyers who use technology as an enabler in their day-to-day lives.
The brand is following a completely online process for product demonstration, booking, payment, documentation and delivery of the car at the doorstep in a touch-free manner.
Talking about online buying, he said, âIt will change the way prospective customers interact with brands. Surely the carmaker that provides the best experience will have an edge. At the same time, it is important to note that the luxury car space operates in a slightly more complex manner given the price factor. We expect digital sales to supplement physical buying only to a small extent.â
Print advertising to go down substantially, digital to rise
The initial impact of Covid-19 has forced the brand to cut its marketing spend on the print medium. This will result in a proportional increase in the budget on content through digital and social media platforms.
For now, the brand is following a digital-first approach, but since the situation is a developing one, it will adapt its strategy as per the appetite of the customer and its fan base.
âThe marketing strategy of Audi is directed towards strengthening its pillars of prestige, awareness and premium luxury. We aim at achieving this by keeping our prospective and existing customers at the core of all our online and offline initiatives, and by focusing on developing an emotional connect through personalised experiences,â said Sinha.
Digital media is the dominant channel for the Audi customers as well as fans, more so in the current environment when social media is the default communication route for many.
However, Sinha said the traditional channels are still important given its customer base and will continue to play an important part in its media mix.
With the ongoing outbreak, the brand is focusing on customer engagement and digitisation.
New campaign for social media
The brand communication on its social channels is focused on leveraging the âAudiâ attitude and creating a direct connect with its customers and audiences.
âAt the core of our brand lies Vorsprung. Believing in Vorsprung means believing in the future. Optimism and faith are part of our DNA,â he said.
Taking this thought forward, it developed a campaign with the hashtag #AudiTogether that reinforces the messaging of âwe are all in this together and together we are going to make itâ.
With the #FourRingsChallenge post, it asked its audience to think and act out of the box by creatively innovating and engaging with the brand during their downtime.
âWe received multiple entries where our fans replicated the four rings of our Audi logo with easily available assets around them, for example with coins, cookies, wires and many more interesting concepts,â Sinha said.
Apart from that, the brandâs âDos and Donâtsâ campaign is a communication for customers to give them tips on how to take care of their Audi and keep it in the perfect condition during the lockdown.
The brand is also communicating regular updates, showcasing its recently launched products A6, Q8 and A8 with the messaging of âstaying indoorsâ and extended warranty and service plan offering that customers can benefit during this period.