The Indian woman has moved from one who preferred riding pillion side-saddled on two wheelers, to the one who likes manoeuvring the vehicle herself to the destination.
Two wheeler manufacturers TVS, Hero Motocorp, Mahindra, Honda and most recently Yamaha, have been part of this change, launching bikes targeting the segment.
1. Yamaha launched Ray in September 2012 in a market which consisted of the Scooty from TVS, Pleasure from Hero, Activa and Dio from Honda, and Duro and Rodeo from the Mahindra stable. While some of them are unisex offerings, others are clearly targeted at women - some targeting segments within women.
Roy Kurian, national business head, India, Yamaha Motor, explains the efforts undertaken by the company before launching the bike. He says, “This was the first time we entered the two wheeler market for women. There are many segments within this category, and we are targeting girls between 18 to 24 years. Young girls who are adventurous and are looking for personal mobility, don’t want to depend on people for travelling. We identified that as a big scope and the market is growing at a very fast rate and so we entered this market.”
2. Bollywood and these two wheelers go hand in hand, with most brands roping in a young female actor as brand ambassador; be it Priyanka Chopra asking ‘Why should boys have all the fun?’ for Pleasure, Kareena Kapoor fighting with her boyfriend in order to ride the Rodeo, Anushka Sharma taking on eve teasers on a Scooty, or Deepika Padukone seeing her future on the Ray.
3. All associations don’t work, notes Kiran Khalap, co-founder, Chlorophyll brand and communications consultancy. He says, “The only time it works is when it is used well and is a story. The story needs to be credible, relating to the actual needs of a consumer. Three things should be kept in mind: What a brand ambassador stands for, and that should be similar to the brand’s thoughts. If these two factors are associated, a social connect must be established. Anushka Sharma has played the role of an independent girl in a lot of her movies. Her association with the TVS Scooty was a good one, as her character portrayed was similar.”
4. On the challenges associated while marketing in the segment, Kurian says, “So far we were only addressing our bikes towards ‘Bad boys’; we are now targeting ‘Good girls’. In the showroom also so far, we were attending to all young boys. They are more aware of the products and the machine, so they just come, choose the bike and hit the disco. The women, need to be handled with care. To face that, we have appointed girls as sale executives across almost all dealerships. We are giving them sales talks on a personal basis.
We have taken care of small things like women’s toilets across all dealerships. We wouldn’t want their parents or brothers to bring their bikes for servicing, we want them to come. We want them to see how their bikes are serviced. We are promoting these aspects through workshops, and also trying more engagement programmes. We are also appointing 200 females to assemble and make the bikes. We are saying it is by the females, for the females.
This helps us with CSR as well as marketing the bike.”
5. Devendra Shinde, vice president, two wheeler sector, Mahindra and Mahindra, surmises that marketing for two wheelers is not as important as the final product - and he underlines that the end product is often not just used by women. He says, “FMCG products can be sold through great marketing, but products like two wheelers need to be sound in order to sell. It is very important that the product is designed for women with importance given to height, weight and speed. Simple things like how the stand works need to be seen. But at the same time, one thing that needs to be considered is that when a woman buys a scooter, she may not be the lone rider. There are multiple people in the household who can end up using it. So colours and shapes should be taken care of so that we do not make it awkward for a second person to use the bike.”
What it means for…
- A new target audience to address.
- A wider portfolio.
- An option of independence and mobility for every family member.
A niche segment to target for their advertising.