But what does Maruti's premium dealership format know about music? Read on for insights...
Over the years, car makers have integrated music into branding. So, when Maruti Suzuki's dealership format in premium cars, NEXA, launched NEXA Music earlier this year, it wasn't a surprise. But, what got us curious was the brand's intent to harness the potential of budding musicians to create original international music across different genres.
Shashank Srivastava, executive director, marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki India, explains, "Music is a universal language. A customer's taste for music also reflects his/her choice of car. This initiative will perform a dual task of building brand affinity and delivering original music compositions of global standards for our customers."
Talking further about the initiative, Srivastava says, "NEXA music, on its own, was ideated purely for content to enhance and strengthen the NEXA brand. The platform gives paramount importance to the generation of genuine, high-quality music. Music is one of the most prominent passions for the indulgence of our metropolitan smart customers."
However, what remains questionable is that with the rise of digital music available on a multitude of devices, how far can brands capitalise on music to help engage with their customers?
In the past, premium automobile brands, including Toyota, Lexus, Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Honda have all made attempts to drive traffic through music, but haven't gone out hunting for talent and grooming it!
Brands venturing into off-routine strategies is no longer abnormal. Telecom operator Bharti Airtel forayed into music video streaming; online ticketing platform BookMyShow entered into international event ticketing with a musical stage production; JSW Group stepped into the steel furniture business; and rail ticket booking app - ixigo trains - now has an 'entertainment' section.
Elaborating on NEXA's venture into an "off-road" category, Srivastava says, "NEXA music is an online platform created to engage with NEXA customers through original English compositions. We are exploring the possibility of providing NEXA customers with an opportunity to experience the Live Gigs planned under NEXA Music. It thrives on one philosophy - 'Create. Inspire'." He adds, "NEXA music is designed and meant to be a platform for musicians and music lovers. It will function as an individual platform with elements of the NEXA experience."
Launched in collaboration with AR Rahman's Qyuki Digital Media, the platform invited the participation of international music enthusiasts from across genres, with original music. The shortlisted candidates will undergo a mentorship program at the NEXA Music Lab.
Characterising the target group of any NEXA offering, Srivastava comments, "NEXA is one of Maruti Suzuki's one-of-its-kind initiatives that go beyond selling cars and creating unique lifestyle experiences for its customers. NEXA customers are youthful, trendy and tech-savvy individuals who have experienced global services and value innovation, personal touch, and pampering in their buying experience."
In the days to come, NEXA will launch a total of eight original English songs under NEXA Music - four videos with mentors and another four with the top four participants later.
Rajiv Raja, founder of Brand Musiq, a sonic branding outfit, feels that any brand can use music to connect with its audience as long as it stays true to its brand values and philosophies.
"Between your teens and 30's, you seem to find peace in music. Music holds power to establish an intense relationship between the brand and the consumer. As long as the music is reaching the set target and is communicating the message, the brand will be a big deal," he says.
Over a telephonic conversation, he talks about how brands can establish a stronger connection with its consumers using music as a tool for branding. "Fresh content is always welcome. When it comes to music, a correct fit of artiste, the right genre and the pattern of the target group, is to be paid attention to. If the brand can successfully pass on its attitude and persona through it, there is nothing like it."
Suman Srivastava, founder and innovation artist at Marketing Unplugged, a brand consultancy, says, "NEXA, as the premium retail channel of Maruti, aims at a certain lifestyle approach. That is where the English music approach supposedly comes from; otherwise, why wouldn't it go for Bollywood or folk music?" He goes on to say that talent hunts are majorly a chunk of entertainment programs. For a brand, however, it is a medium to communicate its values and connect to its consumers.
"Here, I can't say if the brand is keen on finding the talent or is it just wanting to strengthen its bond with consumers. The artistes are secondary; the reach for the brand is the priority. Doing events around it could be one way to carry this communication further," he says.