Marketing is all about the message

February 16, 2020

What if I told you that I am launching a product which is going to be half the price of existing competition and something which umpteen surveys have proved to be a big necessity.

If I actually deliver what I’ve promised, wouldn’t you expect it to be a hit? A grand success?

Well, remember nano? A car that was as hyped as a Karan Johar movie. A car that not only received attention and accolades in India but abroad as well. Everyone expected it to be an instant hit and in fact, there was talk that it could potentially kill the second-hand car market in India. But the reality was, unfortunately, quite the opposite.

In a country which is so cost-conscious and with transportation being such a big issue, you’d only expect it to be a big hit. But what it did was leave a 1,000 crore loss on the ledgers of Tata Motors.

Launched in 2009, in a span of around 10 years, the car is now dead and buried. Tata Motors did not produce a single car in the year 2019 and sold only one all through the year. After a lot of reluctance sadly one of the mightiest companies has shut shop on this model.

Can you guess the reason? Of course, it is not fair to expect a single reason. There were cases of fire and production delays, but none of the other reasons were as brutal as the tag the product carried. Let me quote the official statement of Mr. Ratan Tata for nano’s failure:

“It (Nano) became termed as the cheapest car by the public and, I am sorry to say, by ourselves, not by me, but the company when it was marketing it. I think that is unfortunate.” 

-Ratan Tata.

One of the most significant reasons for the demise of such a great product is the way it was portrayed.

Being called the ‘cheapest’ car backfired! 

Being the cheapest is fine, in fact great. But pitching it as the cheapest car was tragic.

A country that is obsessed with the cost and pricing of every product is equally careful about the status and branding. 

There are many who believe if it would only have been marketed as Your First Car, probably the story for nano could have been much better.

When the public kept reading about how cheap the car was, they appreciated the product, but they did not want to be associated with it.

They did not want to be called the person who is driving the cheapest car. 

So, as we always maintain, a business needs innovation and marketing for success. In this particular case, there were huge leaps of innovation that helped create a product that was truly outstanding. A product that had basically no competition in that segment. 

But sadly, it still faded away in history. So, when the marketing failed, all the innovation went down the drain.

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