Friday, October 12, 2018

Brand Update : Skoda lures with Peace of Mind

Skoda came into the Indian market way back in 2002 with the highly successful premium sedan Octavia. Ever since the brand has created an image of a premium brand with very sturdy cars. However, the brand was eclipsed when the Indian market saw the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes fighting it out with new models and brand promotion
. Somewhere down the line, the brand went into a slumber, my assumption is that when the Volkswagen brand was promoted heavily, Skoda went into sleep.
2018 is witnessing a comeback of sorts for this brand. According to newspaper reports, Volkswagen group is planning to put Skoda brand in the center of India 2.0 strategy. 

One of the issues that the brand is facing is the perception ( rather truth) of Skoda being expensive to maintain in terms of service and spare costs. This issue was faced by Ford who ran a big campaign trying to change the perception. 
To change the perception, Skoda is offering warranty and service package to the car owners and a celebrity-driven brand campaign. 

The brand has roped in Boman Irani as the celebrity endorsing the new campaign. Interestingly Boman Irani is also endorsing Cars24 portal. Seems like he is the new favorite of Auto brands. 
Skoda needs to change the perception of being expensive to maintain since the brand is expected to launch a series of products that will drive VW's share in the Indian market in the coming years. 
Because of this perception, Skoda cars are not in the consideration set of most of the customers who look for an upgrade in the mid-range segment. In my opinion, Skoda is a kind of squeezed in the Indian car market with the luxury segment being dominated by brands like Audi, Benz, BMW etc while the premium segment is witnessing the intense competition between the likes of Honda and Suzuki. 
The money that the brands like Skoda and Ford had to incur to change the perception of being expensive to maintain brand is a lesson to marketers. Perceptions are easy to create and often created without a thought. Once the perception is set in the mind of the target market, it will burn a hole in the brand's pocket for a long time.