Created as a subsidiary of Tata Motors to focus on the electric business, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility recently celebrated its 1 lakh vehicle sales benchmark, which in itself is a depiction of how mainstream EV cars are getting today.
As per the consumer survey conducted by the brand, which touched upon aspects such as what customers expect from an EV, from the companies that sell EV, etc., it was found that customer expectations are different from what one would expect from a normal car customer.
According to Vivek Srivatsa, Head- Marketing, Sales and Service Strategy, Tata.ev, the consumer mindset for buying an electric vehicle is more like buying a tech gadget or digital gadget because EV customers expect far more advanced customer experience and very deep-level of engagement throughout the ownership cycle along with a strong sense of community which foster exchanging of views, ideas, ownership experience, etc.
That being said, when the brand thought of being able to cater to such customer expectations and demand, it was only prudent to change the experience that the EV subsidiary of Tata Motors provided in terms of retail, brand design, website and ownership with regards to forums and communities.
As a result, the electric vehicle major went a step ahead and recreated a separate identity for itself which will gradually permeate through all customer experience touchpoints and help in addressing the various customer needs.
Rechristened as Tata.ev, the new brand identity developed by Landor & Fitch, entails many aspects of sustainability that the auto player wishes to educate its customers about and in turn spread it across society.
“The EV business of Tata Motors alone is around number seven in the auto industry hierarchy as a manufacturer, and it's time to step on the accelerator and go beyond, with the new brand identity only being the first step to go in that direction,” he said.
Here is the new brand film:
Srivatsa also pointed out that going forward, the brand has also decided to keep it very human which is why it will be showcasing not perfect but regular people alongside their products.
Moreover, in his views, the new brand design will not just influence all touch points in the future but will also give the EV player a firm platform on one clear direction that they want to go on, starting with the tagline- ‘move with meaning’ which stands strong on three pillars- Sustainability, Community and Technology.
While the word “move” captures how the company is in the business of mobility but also acts as a launchpad to think of this new brand identity as a collective human movement towards EVs, and towards a Safer, Smarter, Greener future, the words “with meaning” build on the intent that the brand stands for- a clear focus on responsibility, collective action, and future readiness.
The other elements of the Tata.ev’s new brand identity includes the ".ev" enclosed within the Orbit in the logo mark, Evo Teal as brand colour, the open-source Inter typeface as brand font, the sound of Tata.ev and the ‘bridge’ character.
While the Orbit embodies the brand’s plans of fostering a circular ecosystem of human and environmental interaction, the Evo Teal colour symbolises the brand’s innovation and tech-forward capabilities along with its commitment to move towards a sustainable future and the Inter typeface font reflects modernity and accessibility.
“We had a teal color car as the brand signature colour for the EV models, and that is precisely what has developed into the brand design as well and will be visible across all our different touch points and marketing materials. The one big decision that we’ve taken is about using the various elements of our brand guideline to deliver sustainability wherein we’ll move from white to black with the spectrum of the teal colour elements,” Srivatsa said.
As part of the renewed brand colour, Tata.ev will largely be using white backgrounds on the brand’s offline communications and darker backgrounds for retail and digital communications as the former will help Tata.ev minimize the ink used in printing and the latter will aid in minimising power consumption.
The brand’s intent with the motion and sonic logo, which combines electronic circuits and a powerful ripple sound, has also been to balance between tradition and innovation, and create a feeling of progressing forward.
Additionally, the 'bridge' element has also been introduced to infuse character into the typography, imbuing the communication with a sense of motion and dynamism.
Upon being questioned as to why is there an immense focus on sustainability by the various market players in the EV segment, Srivatsa replied that since the zero-emission EV vehicles are the future of mobility, more and more energy generation will become sustainable via power sources like nuclear, solar and wind and when that kind of power powers electric vehicles, it becomes a very clean mobility solution for the carbon footprint targets that have been taken by companies and nations across the world, wherein the auto industry is a big contributor as sustainability and electric vehicles are very closely linked.
“In our consumer survey, we found out that the number one reason for our own customers to buy an electric vehicle that emerged apart from the lower cost of ownership was the lower emissions that the vehicles give out. As an organisation, we do want to get other elements of sustainability, apart from the low carbon emissions, into the owner's mindset as well, which includes adding to the greenery of the country, saving water and overall sustainable habits like longer usage of clothes or recycling,” he added.
Commenting on how different is marketing an EV as opposed to a regular four-wheeler, Srivatsa stated that the two are extremely different from each other as every EV customer has to be carefully curated and developed because there are no ready-made customers in this segment who are out there to buy a car and waiting to be converted from one brand to the other.
“Electric vehicles potential prospects have a lot of questions and doubts in their mind pertaining to whether the car is safe and waterproof, where can it be charged and how long can one drive it, what is the resale value, etc. which is why their's a lot of education which is required to be able to gain every single customer on the EV side,” he opined.
With this, he also went on to add that owing to the kind of expectations that customers have from EV companies, which includes a far more premium customer experience, the ability to answer their questions swiftly and be accessible to them at any point of time, marketing to EV customers and being able to keep them satisfied through their ownership journey is very different from a traditional auto company and very similar to tech products.
“Even though the cost of acquiring customers in this segment is expensive, the good thing is that the world is adapting to this technology quite rapidly, it's no longer a question of if a customer wants to buy an EV, it's all about when he/she wants to buy it because consumers today have an understanding of the fact that the future of mobility is electric. We'll also use AI and digital platforms to get the right customers to visit our stores which themselves will be digitally oriented,” he said.
He further went on to add that each of the brand’s EV buyers, who are already digital-first, are emerging not only as leaders but also becoming influencers by default owing to the sheer optimistic mindset that they have and their experiences with EVs. This in itself bolsters the fact that the approach to such cars needs to be more digital than mechanical.
“In fact, the fact that they were early adopters into the technology itself shows that they view things more on the positive side and not negatively, not just from a technology perspective but also about what the brands offer to society and the world as a whole, which is not what one expects in the traditional auto business,” he added.
Therefore, what’s crucial, in Srivatsa’s opinion, is giving the right fitment to each customer and finding the right need because basis that EV players will be delivering the growth that they expect.
“The charging solutions and EV cars story is similar to that of the chicken-egg story as one won't get the charging infrastructure in place without having substantiate users and one won’t be able to sell EV cars if there's no charging infrastructure. Hence, we've been trying to influence both sides by taking care of the consumer’s charging needs, almost 90%, via the provision of a home charger,” he added.
Furthermore, he emphasised that even though the EV market is at a nascent stage in the country, the way it is growing is quite immense and that the EV subsidiary of Tata Motors is seeing a very strong penetration into smaller towns, especially after the launch of Tiago EV, so much so that close to 25% of the brand’s sales are coming from smaller towns now.
Smaller towns, in his view, are much faster to adapt to electrification because there is an ease of parking in such markets which allows one to park and charge the car on the go. Secondly, there's also a stronger focus on the cost of operation in smaller towns which has added to the EV penetration in such areas.
Taking into consideration all these factors, Srivatsa pointed out that the advertising strategy for EV brands is also different from the traditional auto brands since the level of education needed is much higher in the case of electric vehicles and therefore the dependence on higher involvement media such as blog posts, reviews, long format videos, PR, etc. which aid in building authenticity is quite high.
“We do depend on traditional channels of communication like newspaper and television as well, but it's relatively far less than other sectors,” he added.
Owing to this objective of creating and spreading brand awareness, a major chunk of Tata.ev’s ad budgets are allocated on large-scale activities which drive awareness across the length, breadth and depth of the country because it's important to bust myths around EVs and educate customers about how EVs no longer remain a niche, but have emerged into the mainstream.