Sunday, January 27, 2013

Brand Update : Tata Safari rejuvenates through Storme

Tata Safari  which is in a critical stage of its lifecycle has launched the much awaited Storme recently. The new Storme is a completely updated Safari and is expected to bring back the much desired consumer interest .
Tata Safari which is a true-blood Indian SUV failed to capitalize on its long innings and a hard-core fan following. The brand although came up with some wonderful brand campaigns however failed to address the quality issues that nagged the brand from its earlier days. Safari did not have any big mechanical issues but many customers opined that the brand failed to rise itself to the higher standards of quality that the competitors were delivering. But still there were lovers for the brand because Safari had a character which was unique and appealing to certain customers.

Despite the fact that Safari had a distinct brand character, the marketing minds of Tata Motors failed to address the quality issues which was creating a negative perception among the consumers. The laid-back approach of Tata Motors in addressing the nagging issues of Safari virtually put Safari in  to the sidelines .
Safari also failed to see the changes happening to the SUV market in India. The brand failed to see the rise of more compact SUVs and was less aggressive in addressing competition from Scorpio. The laid-back attitude of the brand owners has virtually made Safari a nominal player in a category which it once pioneered.
Although the brand tried to come out with newer versions, most of the changes were cosmetic rather than a radical one.

The new Safari Storme is reported to be a 100% new vehicle rather than a modified Safari. The entire product has been changed for the better. One can only hope that Storme will change the quality perception that is haunting Tata Motors ever since it ventured in to passenger segment.
What is sad about the new Safari is the promotion. Tata Motors has decided to do away with the " Reclaim Your Life " positioning of Safari. Instead, the brand has the tagline " The Real SUV" which I think has undone what ever brand equity which the earlier campaigns has built.
The new " Real SUV " campaign does not give any power to the brand.The promise should be believed by the consumers. In the new market where all global SUV brands are present, Safari's claim to be the Real SUV is only a joke. I don't understand why and how a brand can just discard a powerful story like " Reclaim your life " .
Watch the new campaign here : Safari Storme
The new tagline is big downer for the brand. The brand suddenly switched to a functional positioning from a highly abstract positioning . This sudden shift may confuse the brand's positioning in future.

Tata Motors should be appreciated for investing in Safari and making it survive for the last 15 years. The brand is now pinning its hope on Storme for delivering results. As a die-hard Safari admirer, I too hope the same.