Monday, April 04, 2011

Brand Update : Accent refuses to die !

12 years and over 300,000 cars sold worldwide, Accent still proved to be relevant in the Indian market. In the marketing world where brand managers gets bored with the brand even before consumers do, Accent is a different story altogether. 

Launched in 1999, the brand is one of the oldest selling sedan in the Indian market. Despite poor marketing support from the company, Accent once again shows that value-for-money and product performance is the key to unlock the purse of an Indian consumer. This brand is surviving just because of these two factors.

Accent got little or no promotional support from Hyundai for the last few years. Most analysts have written off this brand with a view that Hyundai will eventually phase off this brand. But it did not happen that way. Despite being a perceived dated model, Hyundai still sells decent number of Accent in the Indian market. Priced between Rs 5 Lakh - Rs 5.5 Lakh, this is still the most affordable and reliable entry level sedan in the Indian market.
One of the major factors that contributed to Accent's long run is the lack of competition. Although many brands tried to cater to the entry level sedan market, very few have survived. The only noteworthy competitor being the Indigo CS. With the death of Ford Ikon, Accent's chances of survival got a boost.

Having said that, Accent should have been given more promotional support by the company. Brands don't die. It is often killed. Accent will die not because of poor product performance but lack of marketing support. Hyundai never tried to build a brand image for Accent. The brand never had a memorable positioning . There was never an excitement around this brand and people chose Accent through a rational decision. This lack of emotional quotient of the brand will prove to be the reason of its eventual death.
Ideally Accent should have been nurtured by the company. If BMW or Benz can retain its charm all these years, why not Accent ? 
While product performance helps bring the consumers to the brand, emotional engagement keeps the brand live for ever. There was no attempt from Hyundai to build any type of emotional engagement about the brand.

Hyundai recently launched the 2011 version of Accent. The brand gets a facelift and some cosmetic changes. The launch was a muted affair and the brand's micro-site doesn't have the new pictures uploaded. In one way Hyundai executives were forced to keep the brand alive because of external pressure - lack of competition and demand. Given a chance, they could have just killed the brand ! What a paradox.