You launched the ‘For a country full of turns’ campaign in May 2021. How has it delivered for the brand?
The brand TVS Eurogrip was launched in 2019, post which we went into country-wide lockdown. When we came out of that, the first opportune moment was in 2021. Obviously, when the brand is young we work on the upper half of the funnel. At that stage, brand salience is built around awareness and not consideration. It is more about spontaneous awareness. I must say that it helped the brand dramatically.
We moved by approximately 30 pc on the spontaneous awareness front. Brand consideration moved 3x times. Before ‘For a country full of turns’, we were not able to display or demonstrate the brand’s product range. This campaign helped us particularly to showcase the product range in our fold. In tandem, we invested in sports and news channels where our two-wheelers’ TG between the age group of 24-45 was present. It worked very well for us.
Soon after that came the announcement of partnering CSK as Principal Sponsor from 2022 to 2024 – in a deal reported to be worth Rs.100 crore. How do you see the ROI from the association so far?
The number mentioned is wrong and I am not at liberty to talk about the numbers.
The CSK investment is a strategic one as it is a high performance IPL franchise. We would like to believe that we manufacture high performance tyres. It is a good, symbiotic relationship. Another thing we had a clarity on from the beginning was that we won’t do tie-ups for short-term gains. We decided to look at medium and long-term relationships. Our association with CSK is for three years (medium term). Unfortunately, fear of Omicron existed during IPL 2022 and which later led to a bio-bubble format. The team played in three to four cities and the format also kept the crowds away. We were hamstrung by the development but that apart it was a very good start to establish Eurogrip as a brand.
Featuring MS Dhoni and other CSK players in the ads helped the brand further. The real impact of our partnership will be seen this year. Crowds are back into the stadiums after three years. The cult fan following for MS Dhoni and CSK is a huge advantage for the brand.
ROI is measured by whether the brand is getting enough attention, are people aware of the brand, are the ads memorable, etc. If these lead to increase in brand consideration, then we have done very well.
At the end of the campaign, we will do another round of research which will tell us how we have done this season. I am excited and confident on that front.
This year you are also on the front of the CSK jersey. How did this come about?
The association is for three years as principal sponsor of Chennai Super Kings (CSK). This is the second year of association. We will be on the jersey next year as well. As the principal sponsor one of the biggest deliverables is the front of the jersey branding opportunity which is prime spot for an IPL advertiser. The deal gives that as a deliverable.
FY 2022 saw advertising and sales promotion of over Rs.76 crore on a topline of Rs.2,438 crore. How is this split? What is the share of digital and how is it growing?
I may not be able to give the exact split. But I can tell you straightaway that the year before last we had 10 pc spends on digital. It is moving up at a rapid pace. In the last financial year, it stood at 12 pc and going forward it will increase further. I won’t be surprised if we hit the 15 to 20 pc mark by the end of this year.
The rest of it will largely be television-led. Though we do spend a bit on print and OOH, those are not big numbers to call out.
TV and digital take the major share. Digital is here to stay.
The e-commerce initiative witnessed 20 pc growth in search and online traffic volumes during FY22. Consumers, researching online and purchasing offline, meant only 1 pc of sales were completed through e-commerce. You had said that the channel was poised for rapid growth – where does this stand now?
It is growing at a rapid pace. We have grown about 60 pc over the previous year. The online sale accounts only for one pc. Even in the developed economies, this sector is not something which sells big via e-commerce. There is an element of fitment that needs to be done. If you place an order for a refrigerator via e-commerce, the brand takes up the job of installing it and after service. Fitment is needed then and there in our category. If the consumer receives the product via e-commerce, he has to take it to the nearest mechanic and get it fixed. In India, DIY (Do It Yourself) is not a common practice. That’s a challenge.
The growth is going to be slow. It will be difficult to guess when it will move to 3 or 5 pc, or when the inflection point will be 10 to 15 pc.
For the last edition of IPL, you have leveraged influencer marketing which was backed by AI tools. Tell us how it helped the brand.
The AI-powered personalised ads were largely focused on what we can do with the trade. We had Ravindra Jadeja as the protagonist and AI helped him say every shop’s name. We were able to make it look as if Ravindra Jadeja was advertising for specific stores in each geography, which positively impacted the retailers enormously. They were viralising it and the brand didn’t have to do anything about it. We are continuing to use the technology this year as well. More people have shown interest in retail partnerships. This year we added elements of Augmented Reality to the campaigns.
We are contemplating on the Metaverse front. We have spoken to one or two service providers, but that won’t be for this season of IPL. Using the digital medium substantially was not an option anymore, it is a must. Likewise, technologies are here to stay and we will use all the cutting edge tech to communicate with consumers and get the message across.
You are said to be the market leader in OEMs. Advertising and marketing efforts are more towards the consumer / replacement market. How has your replacement share grown?
There are no syndicated reports published in this sector, unlike sectors like telcom. That would mean that anything I say is conjecture. Based on our marketing intelligence and research, the indication is that we have grown faster than the market by quite a distance.
Next year, we believe we will again grow faster than the market and that our market share will grow by 2 to 3 pc.
ICRA has stated that there is increasing acceptance of Indian tyres in overseas markets. You export to 89 countries – up from 70 countries in 2018. How is this growing and what marketing efforts does it entail in those markets?
There are two types of markets. One is the countries where Indian bikes are sold, for example Africa, Latin America. Quite a number of Indian bikes go to these and also SAARC countries. We needn’t make specific tyres for them, what they sell are the same bikes that are sold in India. We appointed distributors there and we have been doing really well in these markets.
There are other markets where we see business not necessarily through Indian bikes. We have launched products across Europe. It is a constant process. On marketing per se, we don’t do ATL in these markets, it is largely BTL. We help in on-ground visibility for distributors and dealers. A bit of digital and social media engagement is also happening in some markets.
You launched what was billed as a category-first ‘WhatsApp’-based warranty application to service warranty issues. How has that helped the stated intent to build a database of end users?
It is a big shift in the category itself. For example, if a consumer encounters an issue with the product, he only has to go to the retailer. The retailer will use WhatsApp to write down the consumer details. The tool is very interactive. Once the details are taken, it is uploaded into the portal and within no time the system approves. The consumer solution happens in real time. It has been a big movement. Gone were the days when you have to record details with a paper and pen and someone has to approve it. It’s all history. Partner confidence has gone up dramatically.
You have a slew of offerings from two wheelers to agri tyres. Would two wheelers be the largest chunk in India? How is that growing?
While we do very well in the agri market internationally, it is not a big business in the domestic market.
Two-wheeler tyres takes the major share, at 80 to 90 pc. The OHT (Off Highway Tyres) business contributes 10 pc of our turnover.
Has the entry of international brands helped grow the market in India?
Gone were the days when two wheelers or bikes were an option for commute. It is beyond that; it is a passion and luxury for some consumers. It is a huge opportunity for us.
We have moved to the tubeless category and also started to focus on high-end sizes (for high capacity bikes). For example, we make tyres for BMW R 1250 GS bikes.
We manufacture products here, which are tested across the globe in multiple places.
The good news is that we have tyres for bikes up to 1250 cc. It is a good thing that the community is growing. We are also coming up with suitable products to address those needs.
Is the Indian replacement category price sensitive? How is TVS Eurogrip positioned on price vis a vis competition?
Which Indian customer is not price sensitive or price conscious? Having said that, in our older avatar we were considered as a value for money product. We were probably an inexpensive option in multi-brand outlets. Since the launch of Eurogrip in 2019, we have come a long way. Designs are done in Europe, tyres produced in India and tested in Europe and India. Quality has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. That is what the trade acknowledges and applauds us for.
We are known as a player who delivers products of world class quality at the right price. We don’t play the discounted game anymore.
How have tubeless tyres taken off? How large is it today across industry and how big is it for TVS?
Most of the newer vehicles that are getting rolled out have tubeless tyres. The future is going to be tubeless tyres. Tubeless will overtake tubed tyres and lead the growth significantly over the next few quarters.
Our focus has been on tubeless tyres for the last couple of years. In the category, we have more than doubled in the last two years.
(First published by Free Press Journal BrandSutra under exclusive syndication arrangement with MediaNews4u.com. Feedback: [email protected])