Raahil Chopra
Aug 23, 2023

Volkswagen India brand director lauds positioning over volume

Campaign India chats with Volkswagen’s India brand director about its latest campaign, its 15-year relationship with DDB Mudra, its portfolio and the importance of safety alongside a rise in women buyers.

Volkswagen India brand director lauds positioning over volume

Volkswagen India has rolled out a brand campaign ‘You’re in Volkswagen’ through which it aims to capture the true emotion of owning a car from its stable.
Conceptualised by DDB Mudra, the campaign breaks with a 75-second film, which is going to be followed by ‘tech-led’ innovations across media.

We caught up with Ashish Gupta, brand director, Volkswagen, on the sidelines of the campaign launch to learn more about how the German car manufacturer is approaching safety, the woman buyer, its long-lasting relationship with DDB Mudra, and more.
Below are edited excerpts:
Volkswagen as a brand has spoken about the importance of safety. When it comes to reasons for buying a car, where would safety rank?
It’s in the top three now. Five or seven years ago, when people bought cars, they looked at price, fuel efficiency and maintenance costs. In the last two years, the change that has happened is that safety is now in the top three reasons. That’s a welcome change that has been partly driven by awareness campaigns by us because we have cars that are globally certified as safe. There’s also been a little bit of help from the government with regulations.
We’re seeing other car manufacturers stay in the news because of new variant launches and having a wider portfolio of cars helps also stay top-of-mind. With Volkswagen now only having three cars in the market, is that a challenge?
It depends on what kind of aspirations you want. We have positioned ourselves at the top end of the mass segment. With that, I aspire to sell around 60,000 cars in a year which is around 1.5% of the market share. I’m not aspiring to be a one million car company in India because I’m clear about the brand positioning and want to stay true to it.
But would a couple more cars in the portfolio help with brand recall?
Being in sales and marketing, of course, I’d want more cars. But you have to do the best with what you have. It’s very important for a company striving for a unique position in the market to be sustainable. For that to happen, we ensure that whatever products we bring into the country are profitable. That’s important because that’s the only way you can make fresh investments.
For my team and me, the last two years have not only been about launching these cars, it’s about how to make sure they succeed and reach their volume potential to be profitable.
During the press conference, you also mentioned how Volkswagen hasn’t just used women as props in advertisements and got them in the ‘driver’s seat’. Do you see more women buyers for Volkswagen now?
Data that you see officially is sometimes misleading because sometimes the car is bought in the name of the man of the house. But if you go back and check, what we found that almost 30-35% of the people driving the car were women. That’s double of what other manufacturers are seeing in terms of female adoption of cars.
In terms of touchpoints to reach out to the consumer, how many showrooms does Volkswagen have?
We ended last year with 150 touchpoints across India. We plan to extend this to 190 by the end of the year.
You’re seeing an increase in demand that matches this growth?
The demand is coming from new growth centres. We’re seeing growth from tier two and tier three towns. Over the last two months, we’ve already inaugurated more than 15 new touchpoints. Last week I was in Gujarat, where we launched six new touchpoints. I’ll be in Hyderabad tomorrow for a new showroom.
You’ve been working with DDB Mudra since the launch in India and PHD for the last eight years now. At a time when the client-agency tenure is shrinking, what has kept these partnerships going?
The creative and media agency selections are part of the global process for Volkswagen. The global brand direction and the media we want to invest in is something we decide together with our headquarters and is implemented uniformly across, wherever these partners are present.
In India with DDB Mudra and PHD, we’ve been doing good work together. One of the brand philosophies is stability. So we’re seeing that not only with our product but with our partnerships we have too.
Creative agency: DDB Mudra
Creative team: Rahul Mathew, Arcot Rahul, Mahima Mathur, Shyan Gershon, Rhea Kumar, Darshan Dhonde, Kanchan Kesari, Akash Mejari, Dhwani Shah, Nihar Patade, Payel Pramanic
Business team: Saad Khan, Aditya Atre, Gaurav Magotra, Nikhil Bisoi, Mrittika Gupta, Manish Krishnan, Meet Dhumawat, Shubham Bansal, Ayushi Pareek
Strategy: Mehak Jaini, Aparajita Mishra, Rhea Samson
Agency producer: Jay Gaikwad
Production house: Magic Box, Vice Media
Director: Matthias Berndt
Media agency: PHD Team
PHD business and strategy team: Dinesh Vyas, Rrahul Deo Manerao, Shailja Saraswati Varghese
PHD planning team: Kaushik Medda, Chetan Sawant, Jay Masrani, Apurva Sritava, Zain Ahmed, Prachi Kapadne, Mohnish Sharma, Savio Furtado

Campaign India

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