Mini Cooper: Expansion and Launch in India
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THE PRODUCT: MINI COOPER IN INDIA
The Mini Cooper is a small car that was produced by the British Motor Corporation and its successors from 1959 until 2000. The original is considered an icon of the 1960s, and its space-saving front-wheel-drive layout that allowed 80% of the area of the car's floor pan to be used for passengers and luggage influenced a generation of car-makers. In 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th Century, behind the Ford Model T[i].
This distinctive two-door car was designed for BMC by Sir Alec Issigonis. It was manufactured at the Long bridge and Cowley plants in England. The Mini Mark I had three major UK updates: the Mark II, the Clubman and the Mark III.The Mini Cooper is a sports car that was successful as rally cars, winning the Monte Carlo Rally four times from 1964 through to 1967. Initially Minis were marketed under the Austin and Morris names, as the Austin Seven and Morris Mini Minor, until Mini became a marquee in its own right in 1969. The Mini Cooper was again marketed under the Austin name in the 1980s.
AWARDS AND POPULARITY:
The Mini has won many awards over the years, perhaps the most notable includes: "Car of the Century", "Number One Classic Car of All Time" and "European Car of the Century". The Mini managed second place behind the Model T Ford for "Global Car of the Century" in that same poll. In the end 5.3 million Minis were sold, making it by far the most popular British car ever made. Thousands of these are still on the road, with the remaining pre-1980s versions being firmly established as collectors' items. At its peak, the Mini was a strong seller in most of the countries where it was sold, with the United Kingdom inevitably receiving the highest volumes. It was a huge seller in the mini-car market. It was 16 years before the Mini received a serious threat to its sales success.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE PRODUCTS:
MINI HATCH: The new Mini First will be Mini's most attractively-priced model on sale in India. Starting at just Rs.8, 76,000 OTR, and the Mini First offers customers the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a unique small premium car at an unbeatable price. Available only in Hatch form, the Mini First features the 1.4-litre petrol engine currently found in the Mini One, but with a power output of 75 hp. The frugal engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard and great go-kart handling is ensured by the trademark sophisticated chassis of all Minis'. A multi-link rear axle and independent front and rear suspension systems combine with Dynamic Stability Control to put a smile on the driver's face every time they get behind the wheel.
SEGMENTING, TARGETING AND POSITIONING
SEGMENTATION: refers to a marketing technique that targets a group of customers with specific characteristics. In the process of launching mini cooper in India the upper class people in the country are considered under segmentation.
TARGETING: refers to the selection of a particular market towards which all marketing effort is directed. The targeted market for the mini cooper will be the young girls and the ladies sector in the country.
POSITIONING: refers to the efforts of influencing a consumer's perception of a brand or product relative to the perception of the competing brands or products. Its basic objective is to occupy a clear, advantageous and unique position in the minds of the consumers. With the help of newspapers, internet and hoardings the positioning will take place in the minds of consumers about the product.
An individual who buys products or services for personal use and not for manufacture or resale. A consumer is someone who can make the decision whether or not to purchase an item at the store, and someone who can be influenced by marketing and advertisements.
An official definition of consumer behaviour is "The study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society."
Mini Cooper in India will be mostly preferred by the upper class people of the society. This is because of the cost of the product. As the cost is higher people would prefer to buy a bigger and luxury car instead of a small and sporty car. Those people who are more interested and knowledgeable in brands and values would be influenced to buy a Mini cooper in India. Mini cooper is recognized as a girly car all over the world. Mini cooper is a car of status and pride. The type of consumers who prefer a Mini cooper will be a consumer of status and pride. It a sporty car as well as a statement symbol of status.
Consumers do not make their decision in a vacuum. Consumer purchases are influenced by four factors. They are as follows
- Cultural factors
- Social factors
- Personal factors
- Psychological factors.
Culture is the part of the external influences that impact the consumer. That is, culture represents influences that are imposed on the consumer by other individuals. The definition of culture is "That complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man person as a member of society" Culture plays an important role in the buying behaviour of the consumers. As India s rich in culture and tradition, this factor acts as a major role in launching of Mini Cooper in India. As the product Mini Cooper is focused on the young girls and ladies of the society, their decisions are based on the family situations. Some women are not able to decide on their own products and services in India. They have to be depended on their family and society.
A consumer may interact with several consumers before buying a product. They may be different type of groups like membership group and reference groups. Family decisions are also very important in
choosing a product. Roles and status also play an important role in influencing the buying behaviour of a consumer. As Mini Cooper is the symbol of status and pride the consumers can show their ostentatious behaviour. Those are people who are concerned about image.
Personal factors are based on economic situation like his income, occupation, personality and self confidence and age and family life cycle stages. In purchasing a Mini Cooper in India a consumer has to take into consideration his level of income as the price of the product is high. He also has to consider his age and economic situation in the society. The major part in the personal factor is a person should have a high level of personality and self confidence to buy a product.
Psychological factors like motivating consumers are mainly done by advertisements, road shows and other motivating factors. Attitudes and beliefs are very important in the process of launching a product. The
Consumers have to be given more knowledge about the products. The Mini Cooper will affect the psychological factors of the customers when they see the advertisements.
DECISION MAKING PROCESS:
The act of making up your mind about something, or a position or opinion or judgment reached after consideration is called as decision making. It is the process of selecting a logical choice from among the available options. When trying to make a good decision, a person must weight the positives and negatives of each option, and consider all the alternatives. For effective decision making, a person must be able to forecast the outcome of each option as well, and based on all these items, determine which option is the best for that particular situation. The below diagram shows the process of decision making, and also will explain about how the decision making process affects the customers of Mini Cooper.
In this model, the consumer passes through five stages: problem recognition, information search, evaluation and selection of alternatives, decision implementation, and post-purchase evaluation.
Problem recognition or need recognition: In the problem recognition stage, the consumers buying process begins when the buyer recognizes the problem or need. When a consumer of an upper class society is in need of a car he recognizes the problems and the need of it. This is the first stage of decision making process. When the consumers find the difference between the actual state and the desired state, a problem is recognized. In other words a need is recognized to solve the problem.
Information search: When the consumers discover the problem they are likely to search for information. In this case the consumers who recognized the need for a car would search for more information about the different type of cars and they would be more attentive to car advertisements, cars purchased by their friends or relatives, and peer
conversation about cars. Or they may be more actively seeking information by visiting car showrooms, talking to friends and reading car magazines etc. Through gathering information, the consumer learns more about some brands that compete in the market and their features and characteristics. After the search of information the consumers go to the next stage of decision making process.
Evaluation and search of alternatives: Under this stage a consumer's try to solve the problem and ultimately satisfying their needs. In other words, the consumers will look for problem-solving benefits from the product. The consumer, then, looks for products with a certain set of attributes that deliver the benefits. Thus, the consumer sees each product as a bundle of attributes with different levels of ability of delivering the problem solving benefits to satisfy their need. The distinctions among the need, benefits, and attributes are very important. In this case a person who wants to purchase a car will evaluate and search of alternatives to satisfy his needs.
Decision implementation: To actually implement the purchase decision, however, a consumer needs to select both specific items that are brands and specific outlets that is where to buy to resolve the problems. In many situations, consumers engage in a simultaneous selection process of stores and brands. In the case of purchasing car a consumer will search a brand and in that brand they will search for different varieties in the showroom. It is also possible, that the consumer decides where to buy and then chooses one or two brands the showroom carries. Once the brand and outlet have been decided, the consumer moves on to the transaction.
Post purchase evaluation: The final stage in decision making process is post purchase evaluation. It is common for consumers to experience concerns after making a purchase decision. This arises from a concept that is known as cognitive dissonance. The consumer having bought a product may feel that an alternative would have been preferable. In these circumstances a consumer will not re-purchase immediately but is likely to switch brands next time. Post-purchase evaluation processes are directly influenced by the type of preceding decision-making process. Directly relevant here is the level of purchase involvement of the consumer. Purchase involvement is often referred to as "the level of concern for or interest in the purchase" situation and how extensively the consumer searches information in making a purchase decision.
These are the different stages of decision making process. With these levels a consumer decides when, where, why and how they buy the product. Mini Cooper is to be launched in India in two major cities of Mumbai and Delhi. Showrooms will be opened in these cities and customers can buy Mini from the showrooms.
Perceived risk: Perceived risk refers to a functional or a psychological risk a consumer feels he/she is taking when purchasing a product. Negative or unexpected consequences a consumer fears may occur as a result of making the wrong purchase decision. A high-priced, complex, durable good like an automobile has a higher perceived risk than a low-priced, consumable commodity like hand soap. The greater the perceived risk, the more likely it is that the consumer will seek information about the product and the recommendations and experiences of peers before Buying. Educated, self-confident, affluent consumers are less likely than others to perceive risk. In a situation with high perceived risk, the consumer is more likely to purchase the same brand repeatedly or to purchase a leading brand or one with performance guarantees and warranties. New products or brands will be avoided.
4.0 LAUNCHING THE PRODUCT
The primary goal of marketing communications is to build awareness of the business, its products, and its position through customer-facing materials such as brochures, press releases, internet, media, billboards, and road shows. Planning an integrated and consistent cross-team approach to these activities, one that reinforces a company's message with target audiences and motivates customers to buy is very important in launching a product.
Mini Cooper is being launched in Mumbai and Delhi by positioning through customer facing materials like brochures, press release, web sites, media and road shows etc. Advertising is a form of communication used to influence individuals to purchase products or services or support political candidates or ideas. Frequently it communicates a message that includes the name of the product or service and how that product or service could potentially benefit the consumer. Advertising often attempts to persuade potential customers to purchase or to consume a particular brand of product or service. Modern advertising developed with the rise of mass production in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The major part in launching of a product is opening of showrooms. Showrooms of Mini Cooper will be more attractive and impressive for the customers. A showroom is an area where merchandise such as car can be displayed. It can also be defined as a room in a business set aside for the display of the company's products. The three models of Mini Cooper's in different colors will be displayed in the showroom. Customers can visit the showroom and book their mini's hassle free without any problems. Customers are also offered with test drives if required. This will help the customers to understand practically about Mini and will also be helpful for them to buy the car with a clear mind as a result they will be happy to purchase the car without having any perceived risks in mind. Showrooms will be opened at the commercial area of the cities so that it will be easy for the customers.
BROCHURES: A small booklet or pamphlet containing promotional material or product information is known as a brochure. It's a type of folding leaflet, literary advertisement. A brochure advertises about the location, products and services. They are actually in attractive slogans and eye-catching designs. Direct mails and trade shows are common ways to distribute brochures to introduce a product or service. The two most common types of brochures styles are single sheet or folded booklet leaflet form. Compared with a flyer or a handbill, a brochure usually uses higher-quality paper, more color, and is folded.
In launching the Mini in the market, brochures are being used as one of the customer facing materials or advertisements. With the help of brochures, the people will come to know about the product and will take an initiative to visit the showroom and to check with the websites. The brochures will be made of high quality and will be printed in attractive colors and impressive slogans will be given. Free test drives will be added in the brochures to attract the customers. The address of the showroom and a map will be printed in the brochures for the customers. These brochures will be supplied to the public in the commercial areas and city centre.
PRESS RELEASE: A public relations announcement issued to the news media and other targeted publications for the purpose of letting the public know about the launching of product and services is known as press release. A press release is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something claimed as having news value. Typically, they are mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to assignment editors at newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television stations, and television networks. Commercial press-release distribution services are also used to distribute them.
A press release will be taking place one the showrooms are opened. Only the basic information's will be relieved to the public. In the press Release, the description of the product and services will be described to the public. The location of the showroom will also be relieved.
INTERNET advertising is rapidly growing and is said to be the fastest growing sector within the advertising industry. The Internet has brought media to a global audience. Internet advertising ties together creative and technical aspects of the Internet, including: design, development and sales. Internet advertising is relatively inexpensive when compared to the ratio of cost against the reach of the target audience. Companies can reach a wide audience with the help of internet advertising. The nature of the medium allows consumers to research and purchase products and services at their own convenience. Therefore, businesses have the advantage of appealing to consumers in a medium that can bring results quickly.
A website is introduced in the name of Mini Cooper. All the information's regarding the product is included in the website. The different models and the colors will be shown attractively to grab the attention of the customers. The customers will be given an option to book their car online through the website. The customers can also book for the test drives online.
MEDIA: Ever since mass media became mass media, companies have naturally used this means of communications to let a large number of people know about their products. Two types of media advertisements are as follows: published media and visual or aural media. Newspaper, magazines and internet comes under published media and television and radio comes under visual or aural media.
Advertisements in famous newspapers and magazines will be given for the Mini Cooper. Attractive slogans like "MINI HITS INDIAN ROADS" will be given on magazines and newspapers with colourful pictures of Mini Cooper. Advertisements in televisions will become livelier with the presence of celebrities with the Mini Cooper. Radio advertisements will also be given. Media will cover the major part of advertisement compared to the other types.
BILLBOARDS: are large outdoor advertising structures. A billboard presents large advertisements to passing pedestrians and drivers. It is highly visible in the top designated market areas. Billboard advertisements are designed to catch a person's attention and create a memorable impression very quickly, leaving the reader thinking about the advertisement after they have driven past it. They have to be readable in a very short time because they are usually read while being passed at high speeds. Thus there are usually only a few words, in large print, and a humorous or arresting image in brilliant color.
Attractive billboards with impressive colors and slogans will be placed at many places in the city. These will help the consumers to be aware of the car. The billboards will be very simple and clear for the public. The cars will be printed on the billboards. Billboards are very useful for the public to know about the launching of the product.
ROAD SHOWS: are kinds of advertisement of the product. Basically a road show is nothing but a show of cars on the road in the public. These road shows will be attractive to customers as they see them on the road. Some number of Mini's will be driven on the road in the city so that people become familiarized with the product launch. And they will also be parked alongside the road as a road show. Different colors of Mini Cooper will also be on the road show.
Discounts and offers will be given to the customers on the early stage for the development of product in the market. It is very important because customers are more attracted towards discount and offers. Surprise gifts will be given to the first fifty customers who book Mini Cooper. The customers will be provided with the facility of Mini Cooper service stations in Mumbai and Delhi. First two services will be free of cost for the car. Cars will be picked and dropped at the customers place for service and it will also be free of charge. Accessories like seat covers, alloy wheels, music player etc will be available at the showroom. Customers can buy them at lesser prices.
Thus the launching of Mini Cooper will be done effectively and efficiently. Customer satisfaction is more important for a sound business. We will promise to give our best to our customers to satisfy them. Mini Cooper will maintain its level of brand and will become a great success in India. With its great success Mini Cooper will be launched in more cities with more models in India.
How the MINI Cooper Works, by Jonathan Strickland, http://auto.howstuffworks.com/mini-cooper.htm, retrieved 2009-12-12
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