How Scorpio brand identity was established? In order to develop distinctive brand identity and to create excitement among customers, the company decided to remodel/redesign all its retailing and service network of 150 dealer showrooms across India to reflect vibrancy of brand and company. Company insisted on exclusive sales person for dealing with customers of Scorpio. Television medium was used to communicate emotional benefit and international image to the brand and print media communicated showed functional benefits supporting the emotional claims.
Brand identify was achieved through formal market research at various locations and asking for customer insights. Company took help of their advertising agency to develop a suitable name. Various brand strategy options were looked into and finally they settled on using Scorpio – from Mahindra brand endorsement to give it new independent product position and also to have positive image of being form the house of Mahindra’s. Various positioning options were evaluated to arrive at one that met the criteria specified by the marketing objectives.
As on part of the exercise to obtain a fix on the positioning option a static and drive clinic was held in one city. The purpose was to evaluate the vehicle viz-a-viz a leading competitor brand and to obtain customer reactions that helped to arrive at a brand position decision. In the vehicle clinic the product received excellent rating for the respondents in the exterior appearance, overall design, finish and the looks. Several initiatives were taken by the company to create a distinctive brand image for the new brand.
Communication strategy and the launch initiatives were directed towards creating a new customer experience with the brand Scorpio. What was the customer input in the brand positioning? Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd has always focussed on getting customers insights and using that information while designing and positioning their brands. Understanding what customers need and developing strategies accordingly have always helped them in upgrading their old products and launching new ones.
Before 1997, when Scorpio was launched, the image of M & M in automobile sector was that of brand which is tough, reliable, rugged, easy to maintain and economically viable. But the brand was not perceived to be modern and technologically advanced and also thought to be less confortable. From market survey and customers feedback it was found that customers want fully loaded vehicles at an attractive price with multiple functional benefits, zero defects and trouble free maintenance.
M & M’s approach while launching ARMADA, then BOLERO, then CAMPER and then SCORPIO clearly indicates their vision of satisfying customers through continuous innovation and upgradation. Approach of Mahindra and Mahindra to receive customer inputs and their implementation in projects is quite apparent through following instances: ? IDAM teams were formed which visited various locations and interacted with about 500 customers which helped the company to get the insight into customer requirements, usage of products and their expectations perceptions.
It led to the initiation of the Quality Function Deployment (QFD) wherein the customer inputs were translated into design dimensions and product specifications to maintain superior quality. ?M & M came out with a very innovative idea of implying the input of the customer through its consumer clinics. An example is “static and drive’ clinic. The sample for the clinic was drawn out from people belonging to age group of 21 to 60 years. In the static phase aspects like exterior fit and finish, exterior appearance, interior styling and comfort received superior ratings.
Then in drive phase also customer seemed to be happy with good power and pick up, overall quietness of the vehicles, ease of gear shifting, smoothness of clutch etc. By all such kind of approaches M & M is seen to follow customer’s inputs for brand launch with proper positioning in the market. How did Mahindra overcome the rural perceptions associated with the brand while creating the positioning approach for Scorpio? As the market was evolving and M&M, hitherto was rapidly losing market share thus the compulsions of the new product activity was the need of the hour.
The specific segments in which the company had a strong presence were stagnating. A detailed consumer research was undertaken on different usage segments of the category. Research studies suggested that competing brands such as Tata Sumo had a powerful equity in commercial segment but negligible presence as a personal vehicle. There was an opportunity to capitalize on emotive drivers such as ‘Pride of Ownership’ through attributes such as product styling and an aspirational imagery. Armada to Bolero It was important to evolve distinct space thus Armada was changed to Bolero to synergize the portfolio and prevent cannibalization.
Towards this end, the Bolero was repositioned as an ‘Entry Level SUV’ with an attitude of ‘Taking on Anything’, offering an affordable, stylish option for young, upwardly mobile consumers. Mahindra Bolero emerged as India’s No. 1 Sports Utility Vehicle brand in 2006-07 and has continued to occupy that pedestal for 4 years in a row. This path breaking performance can be attributed to: 1. A superior value proposition as stylish, affordable SUV for the youth. The price range for the variants: Rs. 5. 22 lacs to 7. 01 lacs. 2. The aspirational imagery that repositioned the brand 3.
A brand portfolio strategy with variants targeted at various customer segments at different price points. Project Scorpio For ‘Project Scorpio,’ M&M decided to implement a new product development technique called Integrated Development & Manufacture (IDAM). Reportedly, IDAM was expected to enable M&M to develop an SUV with the most contemporary design and technology. Positioning and Advertising Scorpio Scorpio was positioned as a UV with great power and style that offered “the ultimate driving experience, driving thrill, luxury and comforts of a passenger car along with value for money. It targeted individual car buyers in the top-end small car segment and mid-size car segment, who already owned cars and were ready to invest in another vehicle. To seek the customer response as to where they positioned the new car they conduct a drive called static and drive clinic and the product revealed excellent rating from respondents from appearance and sturdiness to price acceptance as well. Is this the right positioning for the brand? Yes. Scorpio was positioned as a UV with great power and style that offered “the ultimate driving experience, driving thrill, luxury and comforts of a passenger car along with value for money. It targeted individual car buyers in the top-end small car segment and mid-size car segment, who already owned cars and were ready to invest in another vehicle. Scorpio launch did play a significant role in driving the UV market up. This to me is the ultimate measure of success – the ability of a company to drive the growth of markets. Marketing gurus suggest that the positioning of Scorpio was also very bold and innovative. The easiest temptation for M&M would have been to position Scorpio as a `better-looking SUV’ or `a rugged, yet good-looking SUV’ in sync with its tough vehicle pedigree.
But this would have made Scorpio a prisoner of the category, and it would have had to compete with other players in the category. This also would have restricted the growth of the category by itself. The ‘car plus’ approach is indeed very innovative and bold. Bold, because it goes against the existing frames of reference of customers and hence the need to create new frames of reference All Scorpio advertisements show the vehicle in urban settings driven many times by women conveying the message of “ease of driving. Unlike competitors’ advertising strategy, no imagery of off-road settings and ‘wilderness’ or ‘break-free’ connotations were depicted, tag line of Scorpio TV ads says ‘nothing else will do’? “Scorpio is among the only three main car sub-brands whose ad and brand recalls are higher than the master brands, Santro and Indica being the other two. It is also the only significantly recalled SUV. In fact, it is more recalled than almost all MUVs as well,” says Sanjay Tiwari, Consultant Director, Indicus Consumer Tracker.