Saturday, November 03, 2018

Brand Update : Welcome back Santro

This October saw one brand coming back to life. Hyundai decided to name their new entry-level hatchback as Santro. Indian market is witnessing an interesting brand name phenomenon of a resurrection of dead brands. After Santro, Mahindra is launching the Jawa brand. Ads of Dianora ( remember Dyanora brand ?) brand is there in some channels in Kerala. 
Santro in the earlier avatar had a dream run in the Indian market. It paved way for Hyundai to become the second largest car maker in the highly competitive Indian market. However, Hyundai decided to put the brand to rest and opted for a strange alpha-numeric brand i10 as the successor. Although the brand found acceptance, it was not a blockbuster brand like Santro. 
The new Santro has no similarity with the old models. Neither in looks or in the technical specification. The product looks like a car born out of i10 and Chevrolet Beat. 
In the brand communications, Santro tries to link itself to the old Santro's USP of a tall boy design, however, the new Santro does not look like a tall boy. 
 Just like the relaunch of Baleno, here the company has used a very famous brand name for the new launch. There is no need to be nostalgic about it. There was some nostalgia when I heard the news of Santro relaunch but that vanished when I saw the new Santro being totally different from the old. 

So why a sudden rush for dead brands. The only reason is the brand awareness that some of these brands carry across all these years. For example, Jawa and Yezdi still have huge awareness among the Indian riders. We also know that these bikes were real headaches in terms of mechanical failures and ride quality. You need extra-strong calf muscles to make a Yezdi start. But since those were the only options, consumers tend to buy it. When better bikes came, these brands died. 
In the case of Santro, it had strong equity created out of excellent product performance. Old Santros are still running without any issues. 
By launching the new product with an old brand which has excellent brand awareness ( recognition + recall) gives a  real boost to the launch efforts. There need not be any investment in building awareness by using an old brand. Since Santro did not have any issues in the previous life, it does not come with any baggage. Hyundai just had to fuel a hype of an old brand resurrected, the media will take care of the rest of promotion because of the news value. The launch of Santro had earned a lot of earned media space just because of the brand name. 
Hyundai had priced the new Santro in a sweet spot and according to auto-portals, the product offers excellent value for the price paid. Automobile market success heavily depends on product and service related attributes and less on brand-related attributes. Santro again depends on how the car works and with Hyundai's track record, it will not be a problem for the new brand.