Given the liquidity crunch and zero profitability for the current year, a lot many brands might be cautious in spending monies on marketing and advertising strategies.
Morris Garages India, however, plans to go heavy on TV and digital with its launches planned for this year, starting from June.
“Currently, we are moving all our investments to OTTs, digital advertising and towards mixed reality experiences or virtual experiences where people can engage with the brand online. We are using digital for sustenance and minimum share of voice. Besides that, when we come back, we will stay focused on TV, with the Hector Plus launch planned for June and others,” said Udit Malhotra, who was recently appointed CMO of MG Motor.
Digital is big for the brand while TV is for targeted outreach. While it goes heavy on OTTs, including Zee5 and Hotstar, it believes all channels need to be activated but weightage has to be defined in the media plan.
Last year, with its association with Hotstar and IPL, the brand made Hector a success, Malhotra said.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, with the postponement of IPL, the brand is sparing itself from spending on TV or OOH.
Malhotra said as soon as the market eases, other mediums, including print and OOH, will be consumed by consumers. With this, he said marketers need to do a content rehash strategy or need to find smarter ways to shoot events or plan immersive experiences as consumers will be afraid to go out and the impact of the outbreak will remain for a very long period.
“But digital consumption, the want of seeing new content, the want of experiencing a launch will still be there.”
With many automobile brands trying their hands on online car launches, MG Motor—being the first Indian automotive brand to announce the e-booking car configurator, online payments and direct dealer acquisition last year—had also introduced the disinfectant deliver programme before the lockdown.
Nearly 25% visitors on the website experience the e-booking interface every month. With 20% of the Hectors and 40% of the EVs booked online, it is also working towards online retail of cars and sale of parts and accessories from June.
In the lockdown, visitor count on its website increased by 30-40%. He said since they cannot sell cars right now, they are purposefully not doing any proactive ad campaign or bookings.
Talking about the immersive customer experiences MG Motor believes in, he said the car configurator on its website is a testimony of how over a lakh people have already configured their cars using it.
In the past, it had worked along with Google’s tech team to do a 3D swirl creative for the Hector to engage customers with a display ad.
Sharing how the company’s ideology remains the same, he said the foundation of the brand is based on five Cs: content, collaboration, conversation, community and commerce.
For every Hector sold online or offline, the buyer interacts with the brand online for a minimum six times before a deal is closed via content. “We are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital as well as customer experience via our content. We feel that without content, survival of the brand is a very big problem. So without content, no sales or marketing strategies can coexist. Content is the foundation to inform or educate the customer or even to take an action.”
Being a humanistic brand, M G Motor has done a lot of communication activities around the virus outbreak and has given basic car care tips online.
It has leveraged music to bring the community together during the times of Covid-19 while launching ‘Raftaar Wahi Hogi’, a Song of Solidarity, in collaboration with Rahat Indori and a Faridkot band for the composition.
As Malhotra becomes the first millennial marketing head for any auto category brand in India, he said, “I do feel that it is an upgrade that somebody who comes from a digital pedigree will definitely play a CMO’s role better in today's world. And if you look at my previous experience of 11 years, I have primarily focused on my digital skill set. In the CMO role, digital is becoming the foundational requirement because everything is happening in the digital world while other worlds exist. So it is not difficult to learn TV, print or OOH if you know already the highest consumed media.”
The brand on Monday had announced the appointment of Malhotra as its Head of Marketing. For the last 10 months, he was the Acting Head of Marketing at MG before stepping into the role in a full-fledged manner. He headed the digital marketing team at MG Motor from November 2017 to June 2019 and replaced Pallavi Singh (who has now moved to BMW India).
Malhotra had worked with Genesis BCW for more than five years, Dell for almost two years and Infotel Solutions for over three years.