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"For youngsters, a car is a gadget": Hyundai's Puneet Anand

By Aishwarya Ramesh, afaqs!, Mumbai | April 04, 2019
The marketing mix for Hyundai's upcoming SUV 'Venue' does not include TV or print. A chat with brand marketing head - Puneet Anand.
Puneet Anand

Puneet Anand

Brand marketing head, Hyundai

Hyundai has a new vehicle with a few new tricks up its proverbial sleeve. The carmaker announced the launch of a new type of 'connected' SUV in the sub called the Hyundai Venue. The name references a place outside work and home where most people spend their time.

Hyundai has announced their plans for this car at the same time that MG Motor announced the launch of their connected vehicle, the Hector. Hector has access to Indian music app Gaana, allowing owners to access the service's vast number of songs on the go.

In-car connectivity is not a revelation. In 2018, Maruti announced the launch of its service - Suzuki Connect - for its NEXA owners. Connect equipment could be installed in a vehicle and connected to a smartphone. It would help provide alerts about the car's location and send owners reminders for servicing, in addition to other services.

Toyota also dabbled in connectivity when it announced the launch of its app - Toyota Connect India. The app aims to be a one-stop shop for all services that a Toyota car owner would require. This includes offline maps, a store and service centre locator and a do-it-yourself user guide for emergencies.

We had the opportunity to catch up with Puneet Anand, the senior general manager and group head (marketing), Hyundai Motor India. We asked him more about the Venue, about how to sell a car to an Indian and what it's like marketing in the digital era. Here are some edited excerpts from the conversation...

Edited Excerpts


How is a connected SUV different from a regular SUV?

Connectivity means you will be able to communicate with people using this car as a gadget. When you want to send an SMS, you use your phone. Similarly, with this car, you can do various activities. The car becomes your communication tool. If you want to go to a particular place or search for a location, there will be certain features that can help. Suppose you want to go to a location or somebody wants to know where you are, the car will be able to help you with the location, as opposed to using Google maps. It'll give you real-time monitoring, area locations etc. There are more than 33 features that you can use with this car.

Just like your mobile phone has a SIM card, the car will have a SIM card in it. This SIM card will enable its connectivity to various platforms, satellites etc. so it can be used on the go. It's called an eSIM or electronic SIM. We've already tied up with various network providers to enable this.

Who is the target audience for the Hyundai Venue?

Today, when you think of a car, it's not just a vehicle; it's more of a gadget. Young people don't treat a car as a mechanical thing... We're targeting young people aged between 25 and 30. For them, 9-6 in an office is an important time, but after that, some of them could be into music, they could be interested in travel... This car will be able to help them live out their different avatars.

ALSO READ: Hyundai uses 'car sounds' to compose 'Drive Mein Junoon' music video

How has your communication to your TG changed over the years?

Traditionally ATL was a place where we used to spend a lot of money - mainly on print and TV. But now, there is a sizable amount of content going on digital platforms too.

Whatever we're doing for the Venue is entirely on the digital platform. I've not done any TV, I've not done any print advertising, but I've made a lot of videos, a lot of digital content for Twitter and YouTube and that's where I can create awareness among my audience about Venue's launch. Many of these people don't want to sit at home and read a newspaper or wait for the nine O'clock news; they want everything on their feeds, on the go.

Our communication strategy has changed; the way we spend on media to create content has changed. We're also looking at some influencer activities. Even the way we advertise has changed. 'Plain Jane' newspaper ads don't work anymore. It has to be hard-hitting and attention-grabbing.

How has digital changed marketing over the years?

It gives us an immediate platform to experiment with and compare a lot of offerings. Earlier, if you wanted to buy a car, you had to pick up brochures, go to a dealership, ask for a test drive, look for service warranty, there's no need for all that now. You can go to a website, look for the information you need - the models, the features, test drive videos, verdicts, and feedback from various media personalities. You don't need anybody to tell you what this product is about - all those decision parameters have become simplified. There's so much content available that it helps you make a decision faster. Eighty-two per cent of the people who bought cars last year had already researched it on the internet.

"The way we spend on media to create content has changed."

How does a marketer sell an SUV to the modern Indian?

Fuel, averages and other things are hygiene factors when it comes to marketing a car. When it comes to a younger audience, they expect that the mileage and other things will be good. We'll also be providing an innovative powerTRAIn in the car. It's the first time in the industry we'll be giving powerTRAIns. While mileage is an important hygiene factor, design, technology and other factors also matter equally.

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