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Just as they battle each other for marketshare and their vehicles race each other on the road, Hero Honda Motors and Bajaj Auto fight fiercely for image leadership. Indeed, there are few categories were the lead has been changing as often as in two-wheelers.
According to Cirrus, the media monitoring service from agencyfaqs! that tracks the performance of over 1,100 corporates in the Indian media, the two biggest players in the game have been swapping positions every other month.
At the end of October 2001, Cirrus' first month of existence, Hero Honda had received greater positive coverage than Bajaj, but only marginally more. Over the next two months, however, the media was kinder to the Pune-based company, which moved ahead of its rival in terms of cumulative positive coverage, calculated October 1, 2001 onwards.
In January, however, Hero Honda got highly positive coverage of a nature achieved by few companies in any product category. In that month, it cornered more than 50 per cent of the positive media coverage in two-wheelers. And in Cirrus 200, which ranks the corporates that receive the best cumulative media coverage across all categories, Hero Honda vaulted from No 41 at the end of December to No 11 by the end of January. Much of the mileage came from its financial results, the company reporting an increase of 90 per cent in net profits to Rs 133 crore.
It is this huge lead that Hero Honda built that it still keeps over Bajaj Auto. In the last two months, however, both companies have shared honours: in the month of February, Hero Honda received better coverage; in March it was Bajaj.
If there has been a fierce contest for the No 1 spot in two-wheelers, this is certainly not true for the third place, which has been TVS' preserve. Though its positive coverage has been only about half that of Bajaj, its own score has been fairly respectable from an overall perspective, and it currently stands at No 80 in the Cirrus 200.
Cirrus also has a Quality of Exposure Index which gauges whether the nature of the coverage was flattering or not (the maximum a company can score on this Index is 200). Going by that, over the past six months, the quality of exposure has been somewhat better for Hero Honda than for Bajaj Auto.
TVS certainly has a problem because over the past four months its quality of exposure has been consistently and significantly lower than that of the other two. What that means is that while TVS has been receiving quite a lot of coverage in the press, it has not been as positive as for the other two. In March for example, Hero Honda's Index stood at 134 and that of Bajaj at 136, TVS' was a mere 92.
Among other players, Kinetic's performance on the corporate image front has been middling but that of LML has been an unmitigated disaster. It seems to have entirely lost its voice in the Indian media. © 2002 agencyfaqs!