To begin with what are the initiatives you have undertaken to promote Mahindra Tractors in a market like Andhra Pradesh?
Mahindra Tractors is the largest selling brand in the world in terms of sheer volumes. In the last 29 years, we’ve been leaders in the domestic market, and for us, Andhra Pradesh is a market where we are a dominant player for more than three decades now. For the Andhra farmer, our tractors are something that they’ve grown up with. Generations of farmers have patronized the brand and the challenge really is to take this relationship forward.
Another very important aspect is that farmers use Mahindra Tractors extensively. In markets other than Andhra Pradesh, the first resale happens after seven to eight years, while in Andhra Pradesh, it would typically happen in three to four years time. Given the fact that there is a quick replacement cycle in the market, it’s extremely important to ensure that there is a great amount of brand loyalty and stickiness among the TG. Apart from stickiness, our attempt will be at ensuring engagement at all levels with farmers.
What is Mahindra Tractors’ market share in Andhra Pradesh?
It is about 51 per cent.
Is it tough to devise a communication strategy for a campaign that targets the farmers and to ensure it delivers as per expectations?
If we look at other markets, it would be a tough thing to do. But in the South, particularly Andhra Pradesh is a TV dominated market. So, while we will be doing TV and print, we will also be interacting with farmers at the ground level. And that’s going to be a very important part of the campaign.
What is the thought process of getting Mahesh Babu on board as the brand ambassador?
In a short span of 14 to 15 years, the customer is going to buy the product four times. That’s been the case for many years and that trend will continue. So we need to make the consumer feel that the brand is more contemporary, because it is natural for customers to change brands over a period of time. You need to be more youthful as a brand and that’s where Mahesh Babu fits in perfectly. Mahesh Babu is a youth icon and a heartthrob for urban and the rural audience in Andhra Pradesh. The idea is that the younger generation too should relate to the brand and swear by it. Both Mahesh Babu and Mahindra Tractors stand for performance and style. Mahindra Tractors is a superstar and so is Mahesh Babu.
Is it going to be a 360-degree campaign? Can you tell us approximately what the marketing budget is for the campaign?
Our category is not like FMCG where you can go very aggressive in terms of spends. Yes, it’s going to be a 360-degree campaign. The media plan includes TV, print, outdoor, promotions and activations.
Interface is our creative agency and we’ve come up with some interesting work. The TVC will go on air in a few days time with Mahesh Babu featuring in it.
What is the central idea of the campaign?
The central idea is the meeting of two superstars. Mahindra Tractors is a superstar in all its glory and so is Mahesh Babu. So the whole idea revolves around the action orientation of Mahesh Babu and Mahindra Tractors being the superstar.
Is it a challenge to sustain leadership in the category?
Your question is very valid. Brands who take leadership for granted can meet with a different fate altogether. It is like any other relationship where you use contemporariness to ensure longetivity. Time and tide waits for none. There are so many changes happening around you and within you that those relationships may not be as strong with the passing of time. Hence brands need to be mighty careful about this and not take the relationship with their customers for granted.
This association with Mahesh Babu is a long term association?
We’re going to be associated with each other for a couple of years and then we will take it from there.
How would you like to see Mahindra as a brand three years down the line?
We want Mahindra to be seen as a brand that is seen as the farmer’s friend. By providing the best technology and world class products, we want to contribute to their prosperity.