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Special Columns
Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Editor-in-Chief
Dr. Arindam Chaudhuri
A.Sandeep Editor's Desk
A.Sandeep
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Now for The High Fliers
India’s Favourite Small Car Manufacturer is the envy of a Bevy of Premium and Luxury Players. But now Maruti Seeks to get into The Luxury Segment itself with The Kizashi. Is it The Right way forward?
Issue Date - 10/03/2011
 
But the period of early 2000s has been a turning point in the journey of Maruti. What is your take on the same?
After the issue was settled among the shareholders, Maruti came up with WagonR, Alto and Baleno in a very quick succession and that bought the excitement level back in the market. However, it was the Swift that provided the much-needed makeover to the image of Maruti Suzuki. Not only was it sporty and high on performance, but also catered to a younger audience. Our research shows that after the Swift, Maruti’s image as a technologically ahead carmaker has improved among the Indian audiences. Moreover, even after the Swift, we launched products like SX4, Dzire, Ritz and A-Star that attracted a lot of younger Indians into our umbrella.

Maruti’s strategy has also shifted towards digital marketing with time. How has it helped improve your appeal with younger audiences?
Maruti is one of the leading brands in the automobile industry that is present in the digital marketing space today. It is primarily because of the fact that we want to appeal to a larger chunk of the younger audience and as it is present on the digital arena, we have no option other than being aggressively present on this front. Our digital marketing activities go beyond the social media space and they have been able to make a strong connect with the younger consumer. However, it is not the case that we want to only appeal to the younger generation, as there has been a growth in other media activities as well. We are not like BMW, who only wants to appeal to the consumer in the luxury car segment. But digital media is obviously a very important part of our marketing activities today and going forward, it will only touch new heights.

Do you believe that the Kizashi will also help you in attracting younger consumers going forward?
If you look at the segment where the Kizashi is positioned, it just accounts for 3% of the total car sales. However, what is important for us is that the product should have a rub-off effect on the image of other products, which will attract newer customers to our portfolio.
 
“It is The Success story of India”
As a Veteran in The Maruti Suzuki account, Sunil feels that while The Brand’s strengths are Unmistakable & Enduring, The Challenge is to Communicate these strengths

Capital Advertising came into the picture when Maruti was facing one of the toughest times in its history. Amidst the rift among shareholders, the agency decided to reinforce the strengths of the Maruti Suzuki brand on the Indian consumer, and it worked wonders for the brand in no time. Sunil Sachdeva, Jt. Chairman, Publicis Capital, discusses the strengths of the Maruti brand and how it helped evolve the sub-brands in its portfolio with pawan chabra

You have been working very closely with Maruti for a very long time now. How has your involvement with the brand been over the years?
We entered into the picture when there was a lot of negativity about the company in the media, partly because of the dispute in the shareholding pattern of the company and partly because of the rising competition. However, we tried and changed the communication strategy of the company, wherein we came up with a campaign called Non-Stop Maruti. Moreover, the company was not playing much on the technology factor, but they had the MPFi technology available. We thought that it could convince consumers about the company being technologically ahead, and we came up with a campaign focused on the same. Later when we pitched for the Swift account, we told them that this is a historic opportunity and you need to grab this chance and appeal to a very young and enterprising India. Swift is all about attitude and the kind of work we have done is much beyond the expectation of people who have seen the advertising strategy of Maruti over many years.

There is a perception among many that Japanese companies are conservative in nature. Do you believe it has been true in the case of Maruti as well?
As far as our relationship with Maruti is concerned, the company has always encouraged us to come up with out-of-the-box thinking. An agency can only think creatively till a certain point, but it is when your client buys the good work that you are motivated to come up with more and more interesting stuff.

          
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