The advertisement on the TV is really mesmerizing. It jingles well with the common crowd, and the “Rehman” effect is splendid. But whether it is addressing the concerns of Hero Motor Corp. is the question.
Probably, just not connecting with the common people with a jingle, two years before 2014, where Hero cannot use the Honda name as an attachment, but somehow I feel that the tangy, saucy appeal is missing. It is more of uniting the Indians by building a different brand. Yet, I would say that the mission of the ad is very noble.
These days the companies follow the “Blue Ocean Strategy”, which allows the competitors to allow finding their niche in the segment, but as far as the 100 CC and 150 CC bikes are concerned, it is the opposite way.
Some food for thought; here is what Hero can consider:
- Gaming Concept – Combining forces with Microsoft or any other 3-D animation and gaming companies, it can produce a game co-sponsored by Hero and the gaming company, which allows the blind awe effect. This is especially for the young teens, and the young adults, who are the future of these segments of 100CC and 150CC.
- Pricing – For the new concepts and ideas related to the new product launch, the pricing should be optimal, neither less as perceived by the people, nor too high. Bikes till now, are considered to be a style statement or a fancy statement or a gravity statement, and allowing the price to go down would allow considering the bikes from cheaper segments, which no body would be willing to buy in this growing purchasing power in India. I would suggest that pricing should be kept a bit high. Lower spiraling prices will create a cannibalization of products, and allow the market to produce stiff competition.
- Technology does not matter – As long as the ad campaigns are fetching revenues, the technology does not matter. Frankly speaking, people do not associate much with the technology right now. But if something novel comes up, it should be easy to produce through the advertisements.
- Think of Going Abroad – I guess a little lowering of the prices is required for three new geographies like South-East Asia, Latin America and Africa where Hero can sport to sell their bikes. Creating a segment there initially would be the key to run the show first. By this I mean Indian Company Bajaj and Hero should not target the same segment, which is a loss for both in the overseas. Also, the export should occur after 2014, when Honda and Hero have not been identified together in the name, or else it will create an identity crisis for Hero, after Honda splits. Internally, Hero can learn to seek some advice from Honda for marketing before the name splits.
- Product – Even though the technology does not matter, it is very important that product have certain features, which do not erode with time. The attributes are generally style, sleekness, looks for a style statement, while value for re-sale for the brand conscious ones. Hero is doing the right thing by associating the brand with India; let the people accept the brand first as an Indian Brand.
- Long Term Strategy – It is not the short term goal that Hero has to see, but play on long term objectives in India and abroad. Market segmentation, differentiation, product attributes will hold the key for the two wheelers at any stage in the future. Let us say that for the style statement ones, product should run for 4-5 years before it is re-sold. For a product conscious one, the value of the product should run more than 6-7 years.
- R & D – Hero should invest in the R&D segment heavily after a few months to make a new product or concept finesse. This is the time when they can call for an open competition from students for the best technology use and design of bikes. The best innovative designer would send his effort to Hero, working closely with the R&D lab even after graduation.
This will, I hope, build the brand for Hero.