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Tata Nano’s positioning – will it deliver?

Tata Nano’s positioning – will it deliver?

TATA NANO’S POSITIONING – WILL IT DELIVER?
Jack Trout, author of “positioning” , during his recent visit to India said that Tata’s passenger car Nano was a failure because of incorrect positioning and that it should be shelved. Almost a fortnight later, Mr,Ratan Tata had made an admission that the Nano car failed because of the tag that it carried. The tag that it is the “cheapest car”

CAR FOR EVERY ONE

Nano was launched in mid 2009. Nano is a product shaped by the vision of Mr.Ratan Tata, who wanted to launch a “car for everyone” . He wanted to give a car to a family that has only a 2- wheeler; a car which would ensure a safer and more comfortable travel for entire family, come rain or shine. In tune with this, the pricing was also kept around Rs. 1 lakh at the time of introduction. This pricing earned Nano the alias “one lakh car”. It was reasonably hoped that Nano would become the covetous entry car, a place that Maruti 800 has been occupying unchallenged all these years. This has not happened. Nano reached its peak sales of about 75000 cars in fiscal 2011-2012 but started declining afterwards. If the sale in first half is any indication (10200 cars sold in April – Sept 2013) it could end up in a sales of 25000 + for the current fiscal. l

 

THE POSITIONING AND COMMUNICATION

The core target buyer for Nano is undeniably the middle class working person .Buying the first car indicates that the family has “arrived”. Therefore, there is a snob value to this first car. Though Nano was not positioned as the cheapest car, it got labelled so, thanks to the deluge of media coverage and reviews that talked more about its pricing . This had created a perception in the minds of consumers that Nano was a cheap car which is a negative perception . Nano’s positioning statement was “Kushiyonki Chaabi” which conveys the proposition “bring home happiness”. The very first communication for a new product goes a long way in creating a perception for the product. In this context, the first visual communication for Nano’s launch, in the form of a television commercial had given an impression as though the Nano was meant for the lower middle class. Though subsequently there were eight TV commercials with different messages, the launch communication had impacted the mind set indelibly, distancing the middle class buyer.

 

 

THE REPOSITIONING

Currently, Nano is undergoing an image make over with the repositioning initiatives. There is a new campaign called “Celebrate Awesomeness” which is directed towards the daring, fun loving and contemporary youth celebrating life in a boisterous and colourful way. A nice visually enchanting communication with a good background score that is sure to become a popular caller tune. But is it not a niche segment that Nano is now trying to appeal to? Will not this positioning once again distance the core consumer whom Nano should woo ? Pretty interesting to watch.

 

OUR TAKE ON THE NANO POSITIONING AND COMMUNICATION

Let’s look at the positives: The car as a product has performed well against all key parameters viz., easy maneuverability in the urban traffic, parking convenience, inside space, comfort and fuel efficiency. The current price of Rs. 1.45 lakhs (ex-showroom price in Delhi for basic model ) is music to the ears. A proven service network that supports the product throughout the country. Importantly it is from the credible house of Tatas which evokes trust.

On who is the core consumer: A vast majority of Nano’s potential customer is from a middle class background either working or self employed.. His is a nuclear family and hence a small car is just right for him. He is a discerning customer and looks for value for money. He seeks authenticity in every investment he is making. Therefore, he goes by referrals.

We find a perfect fit between the product and the potential customer. How to connect to him and endear him? Basic positioning platform should be a straight uncluttered platform of “a value for money car” .Nano should take the time tested route of endorsement by a well known personality with whom the above target audience relates. He could be a popular film star or a sports personality having a wider appeal. This brand ambassador should extol the virtues of Nano to send out a clear communication that it is not a cheap car but an affordable car that is value for money. When Nano is identified with a popular film star or sports personality, gradually the target audience would start perceiving it as a desirable possession. He would feel that he is buying a car that is by no means cheap.

Unfortunately, the car sales market is passing through a sluggish phase and we need to observe how Nano is faring during this period especially with an image make over challenge on hand.

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