Pulsar and Discover sans Bajaj

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : July 22, 2010
Bajaj Auto has made a significant shift from corporate brand level positioning to individual brand level positioning for the two main products - Pulsar and Discover. The auto major has also decided to drop the Bajaj brand name from its entire range of two wheelers brands

Aggressively strengthening individual sub-brands in its two wheeler category seems to be a priority for parent brand Bajaj Auto, the flagship company of the Bajaj Group.

While the brand name 'Bajaj' will be dropped across all the two wheelers, there will be no brand investments in the form of development work and communication for Platina, which yields a turnover of less than 20 per cent. Pulsar and Discover will be the focus of this positioning venture.

The word 'Bajaj' has ceased being visible in the Pulsar logo for almost six months and Discover will follow suit shortly.

Though this appears to be a new development for the company, this change in branding had begun last year itself. Milind Bade, head, marketing, Bajaj Auto, clarifies, "For the past one year, we have been advertising only Pulsar and Discover and have not been using the phrase 'Bajaj Auto' to market either. This effort is being noticed and recognised now. Manufacturers are waking up to this now; customers have always been clued into this because they're the end users. Let's just say the strategy is working now."

Highly differentiated target groups (TG) for Pulsar and Discover is the prime reason behind the effort to divorce these sub-brands from the parent brand, Bajaj Auto. Efforts are aimed at making these two individual brands stronger than the parent brand and to position them as brands in their own right.

Bade reveals that Bajaj Auto is following a two-brand strategy and tells afaqs! that Pulsar and Discover lie on two extreme ends of the consumer spectrum. The TG for Discover is 'the commuter' as it stands for balance, responsibility and all things homely. Conversely, Pulsar, 'the performer', symbolises arrogance, irreverence and attitude and hence lies in the sports category. The styling, imagery and tonality of the brand are stressed on in the case of the latter.

The mind space and level of engagement are very conventional for Discover as opposed to those of Pulsar. Even the media choices differ markedly for the two - Discover uses conventional advertising and Pulsar uses newer techniques such as Advertiser Funded Programming (AFP) and digital advertising.

Given all these differences, the company deemed it fit to position the two vehicles as separate brands.

"A brand has to have two things - a TG and a promise. When the sub-brands are so distinct in their promise and have such distinct TGs, the individual strength and positioning of the sub-brands have to be focused on, independent of the larger umbrella under which they fall. We're going the FMCG way by doing this," adds Bade.

Pulsar has a market share of more than 50 per cent and is the current market leader, while Discover has a 20 per cent market share and operates at a 6 per cent price premium to the current market leader, Hero Honda Splendor.

Bajaj Auto claims that Discover had an output of 24,000 bikes in the first quarter of 2009 and the number moved up to 1,15,000 during the same period in 2010. It has consequently moved from the No. 9 position to the No. 2 position in its class.

"The reason why consumers buy a Pulsar is because it is a Pulsar, not because it belongs to Bajaj. If you run a Google search for 'Pulsar' and for 'Bajaj Pulsar', the former actually gets more hits," asserts Bade.

In the future, new two wheelers manufactured by Bajaj Auto will be marketed sans the 'Bajaj' brand name and may fall under the Pulsar or Discover brand.

Other two wheeler brands, including those of Hero Honda and Yamaha, still operate under the umbrella of the parent company.

First Published : July 22, 2010

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