Monday, July 28, 2008

Logan : The answer is Here

Brand : Logan
Company : Mahindra Renault
Agency : Saatchi & Saatchi

Brand Analysis Count : 340

Logan was launched in India in 2007. With in a year's time, this brand has achieved reasonable success in the tough Indian auto market.

Logan is a brand from Mahindra Renault , the joint venture between Mahindra and the French auto major Renault. Renault is a global auto major known for innovation ,technology and racing. Mahindra is our very own company who hit a jackpot with the Scorpio.

When the Jv was announced, the entire auto enthusiasts were looking forward to a new experience to be delivered from these celebrated manufacturers. But soon the company made it clear that the product that they envision will be an affordable sedan rather than a premium one.

In 2007, Logan was launched. The brand was able to get good PR during the launch. The PR was there because of two reasons :
a. It was a launch from Mahindra who claimed lot of appreciation for the success of Scorpio. Hence every media was expecting a similar successful product.

b. The price of Logan was a major driver of the PR. Logan was to be sold at around Rs 4,50,000 which made it one of the cheapest sedan on road.

The initial hype created a huge flow of booking orders for Logan. There was 3000 bookings in the first three weeks itself.

Then came the commercials. In my personal experience, the campaign was a big let down. It was a meaningless ad which showed a foreign lady in some James Bond type plot and blah blah....
The car was initially positioned on the basis of the benefit of space. The slogan talked about Logan as a ' Wide Body ' car.

Although I did not understood what a wide bodied car is , commonsense told me that it is a more spacious car.

Logan has been a success so far . With in one year of launch, it has notched up 12% marketshare in the respective category . At one point of time, it surpassed the veterans like Honda City in sales.

Logan is yet another example of a brand understanding the value proposition of Indian consumers. When the brand was launched, many pundits decried the poor looks of the car. They wrote off the car saying that Indian consumers will vote out this ugly duckling.

But Logan survived. Survived because the product delivered. It was a spacious large well built car which came at a mouth watering price of less than Rs 5,00,000. The surprise came when Logan delivered big on mileage. Consumers began to see beauty in the beast .
In India, consumers give weightage to functionality than design. Toyota showed to us with its Qualis.

In June 2008, the brand went for a repositioning. Infact the brand has took a serious take on the image aspect. Kunal Kapoor was roped in as the brand ambassador and new campaigns were aired.

The brand also has repositioned from a functional angle to a mix of functional and emotional framework.
While the presence of Kunal added some spice to the image, the brand still talked about the deliverables like more mileage , better handling and great value for money . The new campaigns are far better than the initial ones and Kunal Kapoor gives some push to the image aspect.

The brand now tales the slogan " The answer is here " . The brand also has an interactive interesting site where readers can post questions that usually does not have a typical answer. For example : Superman and Batman wears underwear outside. But Why ?.

The logic behind the new slogan is that Logan is the answer to most of the questions asked by the customers . For example : Why can't a sedan give more mileage than a small car ?

A typical issue that most of these value for money brands face is on tackling two segments : the tour taxi segment and the individual segments. Brands like Indica, Indigo , Qualis and now Logan face the issue of the use of these brands as Taxis.

Brands worry that the popularity of a car as a taxi will tarnish the image of the brand. Indica and Indigo have the issue of being popular as a taxi thus repelling some customers from owning it.

Logan also have the same issue , go to Hyderabad, you see a lot of Logan as taxi cars. But will it really hurt the brand ?
I think popularity as a taxi car will be helpful to the brand if its able to provide some distinction to the individual owners.
Being popular as a taxi car means that the car is good. As we know , the taxi's cannot afford to have a car which is expensive to run and maintain. So if taxi owners are buying it, it must be good.
Second, more number of taxi's the more affordable will be the spares.

The major downside is about the image of a taxi car. My question is whether image is a significant factor when one decides to buy an Indica or a Logan . My take is that although image is important for these customers, the main driving force will be on functionality and cost of ownership. People buy Indica because it is the most value for money car in that segment.

But bad image can act as a repellent. So what can a company do about it ? .

I think that the brand should bring some distinction to the non-commercial cars by adding some feature that makes Logan ( or Indica ) different from taxi car . Either it can restrict these commercial cars in to one color or add some thing like graphics so that private Logan is different from the Taxi Logan .

To give the brand a boost. Logan recently launched a limited edition Logan Edge for those who wanted more from Logan. Edge also is aimed at repositioning the brand as an aspirational product to all those who are looking for an upgrade to a sedan.

Logan is not without threats . Tatas are on a marketing offensive now and has launched Indigo CS to take on the price competition. The compact sedan from Indigo has been a success since it made the sedans more affordable.
Service is another area for concern. Although Mahindra has excellent network of dealers, whether it can give excellent service to Logan customers is something to wait for. From the market feedback, Mahindra is not known for excellent service delivery compared to peers like Maruti. Renault has to work closely on the service front .

Logan has yet again proved that there is always a space for a product that functions well and priced reasonably. The success of Logan has prompted the parent company to explore more categories in the Indian auto market. Logan also has raised the bar for most of the car marketers. Now consumers are truly pampered.

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