Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mahindra Two Wheelers will it be called?!?!?!

The news is it will be called Mahindra Two Wheelers. Strange.

Mahindra has been always associated with rugged utility vehicles. For years, it has been known for geeps in India. Though it owns the Scorpio brand Mahindra is still more about utility.

Having bought Kinetic's two-wheeler business, is it a good idea to call it Mahindra Two Wheelers? Not really.

Firstly, Kinetic made scooters which were far from utility scooters. They were largely meant for women until the launch of Blaze.

Secondly, Kinetic didn't know how to focus on the market that it helped create, so it simply launched new brands without any sense of direction.

Thirdly, Mahindra had an amazing opportunity to create a new brand and create greater buzz in the market.

In the automobile business it seems that corporate brand (name of the company) matters at least as much as the individual brand. Would you say I ride a Mahindra Blaze? Or a Mahindra Nova? Not only does it sound unfamiliar, it also sounds weird.

Naming must be a consequence of strategy. Not just a matter of labeling or showing off the largeness of the company. Being a late comer, Mahindra needed to first work out the strategy to gain a foothold in two-wheeler market and then decide upon a name.

Instead it has publicized Mahindra Two Wheelers and branded the Kinetic Two Wheelers website with the same. Everything else remains the same. Pity! What was the hurry?

It could be that, even after Mahindra Two Wheelers, the game might not change much anyway. If a new name wasn't acceptable then even keeping it Kinetic could've worked.

Mahindra has risked diluting whatever the brand has stood for over the years.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Indica Vista shouldn't & doesn't CHANGE EVERYTHING

The commercials say CHANGES EVERYTHING. How come? The car's called Indica Vista. Firstly, the name is the same apart from the addition of Vista. The design is inspired (in fact, is an improvement of) by the original Indica design. And it still offers the same thing that Indica offered: Space.

What's the need to CHANGE EVERYTHING? Perhaps the folks at Tata do not want to keep Indica attached to taxis. Perhaps they are not happy with the perception of Indica as it stands now - that of a spacious but inexpensive small car. But the ironically they are using the same name: Indica (perhaps to leverage the name). So how does it CHANGE EVERYTHING? At least not the perception of brand Indica.

But, what if it does? What if the consumers do come to believe CHANGES EVERYTHING? Yes, of course the price has gone up. The design has become better but then perhaps it's not really that great when compared to other brands in the segment. The argument can go on. But what Tata might end up losing the strong positioning of MORE CAR PER CAR. Yes, that's what Indica is. That's what sold Indica in spite of all the problems.

On Indian roads, size of the car really matters. Small cars won't lose favour for a long long time to come. But with that the requirement for adequate space is also not going to go away. MORE CAR PER CAR is what made Indica, is what gave Tata a foothold in the India car market. Invaluable and lasting position!

Tata had better not change anything. Simply make the same thing better.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Delhi 6 - a case of loss of focus

Many movie reviewers have pointed it out correctly - Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's heart is at the right place but there's a lot more to be desired. By 'more' I think they are talking about execution quality perhaps.

I would say the movie needed a little less. It needed:
  1. fewer eccentric characters
  2. fewer types of music
  3. fewer visual themes
  4. fewer social issues
  5. fewer narrative themes / metaphors
Though the movie was breathtaking in individual bits and parts, though all the actors did justice to their characters, though the settings were amazing, there was a lot to contend with for the audience and therefore, while every issue was relevant, the impact wasn't as forceful as one would expect.

The movie felt like a collage of great visuals, good music and good performances. But that's what spoilt it for Delhi-6. The task of weaving them seamlessly wasn't a simple one; they were brought together eventually in quite a style but not with the required intensity.

The movie would have been far better made had there been a simple focus on the Abhishek-Sonam relationship with a backdrop of Hindu-Muslim tensions and mediated by the incident/metaphor of Kaala Bandar. The distracting visuals, music, characters would have automatically fallen in place.

Rare is a case where almost all the parts are perfect but the whole is less than perfect. Such is the perfection of each part that each one of it should ideally stand on its own and be converted into a separate movie.

Think about it. Does not each of the issues highlighted deserve a movie in itself? If that's the case, why complicate matters by mixing it all up in just one movie.

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