Boosting a crucial Product Launch

Innovault helps an automotive company give a powerful launchpad to its latest car in a hyper-competitive category

A tall obstacle

A leading automotive player was on the verge of introducing a new product in the fast growing Compact SUV category. 

Since it was entering a category with very high intensity of competition, the leadership felt it was imperative to surround the new car with an Innovative Launch campaign. One that MUST succeed in creating strong pull among the intended consumer base.  

Innovault in action

Once it was clear what the intended outcome was, we started off by assembling a rather unusual Launch Team: one that comprised folks not just from Marketing and Communications, but also people from Product Planning, Sales, Service, Channel Development and HR.

In our experience working with organizations of all sizes across the industry spectrum

The bigger the need for a ‘Pole-vaulting’ boost in a business, the more it pays to dig below visible activities to uncover and shine a ruthless spotlight onto the organization’s potentially limiting Perceptual Models: a self-created obstacle course of invisible but all-powerful beliefs about the business. Something that can silently limit the field of thought, short-circuiting new ideas & possibilities. 

In our experience working with organizations of all sizes across the industry spectrum

The bigger the need for a ‘Pole-vaulting’ boost in a business, the more it pays to dig below visible activities to uncover and shine a ruthless spotlight onto the organization’s potentially limiting Perceptual Models: a self-created obstacle course of invisible but all-powerful beliefs about the business. Something that can silently limit the field of thought, short-circuiting new ideas & possibilities.

Instead of sitting everyone down in a ‘Brainstorming’ or Idea Generation session, the first thing the Innovation Team were taken through was an exercise in self-reflection. Here they  recognized and faced up to several of their unconscious ‘Perceptual Model Boundaries’ w.r.t an Automotive Product Launch. Worth seriously questioning given the critical importance of this launch. 

For instance, they admitted that their thinking was still wedded to a Big Bang Launch, one specific day when the car had to be unveiled. Things were intentionally kept under wraps before the big day. And the hope was that huge bookings would be there from Day 2: An expectation not really met in the recent past.  Also the way to ramp up demand was still dominated by TV and print ads. The full potential of digital marketing was not being harnessed.

Facing up to their Perceptual Model boundaries opened up some crucial questions for the Team:

  • Our 2 giant competitors extended their connect with the small car consumer into a formidable lead in the Compact SUV category as well. Now, how does our new car get into the consideration of someone (irresistibly) getting pulled towards these competitors with massive market presence?
  • For the new car to succeed it is vital that we attract the salaried, big city audience; someone who has traditionally not been our core customer. How do we attract them?
  • For the new car to succeed it is vital that we attract the salaried, big city audience; someone who has traditionally not been our core customer. How do we attract them?

The Innovation Team’s collective reflection followed by directional alignment with the business leadership set the stage for an outward journey: A quest for deep Insight into the mind of the Compact SUV intender.  Now came a significant departure from usual market research.  In this case the entire launch team went out to engage with customers and other ecosystem entities like car dealers, car bloggers, media & PR experts. Investing energy in highly productive direct dialogues with them. 

Some powerful Insights emerged.

For example: If you need to get into consideration of the big city, salaried consumer, then the perception he carries about your brand needs to be taken head on.

A few significant chinks in the armour of the big competitive offerings also emerged, which would be useful in showcasing their own product’s advantages effectively.  

Inspired by these insights, the Innovation Team generated some core ‘Pole-Vaulting’ Ideas: 

If we are confident about the product, there’s no point hiding… Rather we should flaunt it! The battle has to won much before the formal ‘launch’ date! We need to craft a series of stories about the product & release them early to enthusiasts, the media and eventually to the general public using the internet. 

Inspired by these insights, the Innovation Team generated some core ‘Pole-Vaulting’ Ideas:

If we are confident about the product, there’s no point hiding… Rather we should flaunt it! The battle has to won much before the formal ‘launch’ date! We need to craft a series of stories about the product & release them early to enthusiasts, the media and eventually to the general public using the internet.

Many internet properties were created by the Team. These showcased the evolution of the organization itself and its design & engineering capabilities. That had given birth to an international quality product. These properties were timed to release in carefully sequenced steps leading up the formal launch date.

Specialized salespeople took on the task of extending the world-class product experience to showroom visits and test drives. 

Impact

The proof of the pudding came in the form of dealer reports of significantly high footfalls from a new type of prospect. For instance, in Gurgaon they were getting the MNC executives this time, where earlier it would have been many more businessmen from the old town.

The bookings flooded in quickly, matching up to the high expectations of the leadership. The new car ended the year with upwards of 40,000 units sold.

Even more importantly, it succeeded in establishing a firm foothold in the hypercompetitive Compact SUV category where 7-8 OEMs keep launching new models quite regularly. A definite position of strength for future products from the company to leverage when its their time to hit the market.

Impact

The proof of the pudding came in the form of dealer reports of significantly high footfalls from a new type of prospect. For instance, in Gurgaon they were getting the MNC executives this time, where earlier it would have been many more businessmen from the old town.

The bookings flooded in quickly, matching up to the high expectations of the leadership. The new car ended the year with upwards of 40,000 units sold.

Even more importantly, it succeeded in establishing a firm foothold in the hypercompetitive Compact SUV category where 7-8 OEMs keep launching new models quite regularly. A definite position of strength for future products from the company to leverage when its their time to hit the market.