Exclusive | 'Customer First 24x7' is JK Tyre's only philosophy!
JK Tyre, a company of high repute caters to a niche market, where tyres are the core essence of a vehicle. Committed to excellence the company is well known for having pioneered radial technology way back in 1977 in India. Offering four wheeler tyres for the entire range - Truck/Bus, LCV, Passenger Cars, MUV and Tractors the company says ‘No’ to compromise on the superiority of a product. The numerous products, with exceptional features provided to users over the years through a number of locations in and outside India, have helped in developing a loyal customer base, with the reach only expanding to more consumers on a daily basis. Being a first in entering new avenues has not only helped JK Tyre grow as a brand, but also attracted many new patrons to its ever-growing customer base.
Spread over 90 countries, JK Tyre is the preferred supplier to the automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers and is a partner to some of the biggest names including Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Honda, Ashok Leyland, Mahindra & Mahindra, Volvo Eicher, General Motors, Volkswagen, Fiat, Nissan Adgully caught up with Vikram Malhotra, Marketing Director, JK Tyre & Industries Ltd. to understand the market they are in and the plans ahead. With more than 30 years of experience in the tyre industry, Vikram Malhotra started his career with Ceat and moved on to Bridgestone where he played a major role in the launch of car radials in India.
JK Tyre has a legacy of over three decades now. What made the brand survive in the industry is its philosophy of understanding customer needs and being committed to consumers while providing products and services of quality and class and no compromise on quality of any product and services.
JK Tyre is involved with a wide range of products catering to diverse business segments in the four wheeler automobile industry. Speaking about how the portfolio at JK Tyre has widened over the years, Malhotra said, “JK Tyre recently launched a new range of products, thus growing across product segments. The new launches have helped us in entering new segments and in consolidating our market standing in segments we were already present, thus having a great impact on the market. The feedback which we received on introducing the new range of tyres was incredible and that has motivated us to do something similar soon. Our R&D centres are constantly working on developing new products which add as a value to the consumers and we expect to exceed the expectations of our consumers, next time round.”
As Malhotra comes with an illustrious experience of about 30 years in the industry, he has surely seen the industry growing and evolving over the years. Sharing his views on the same, he said, “Radialisation in commercial vehicles is expected to grow manifold. There is also an emerging trend of shift to the tubeless radials in Truck/Bus segment. With the shift to radial tyres, the need for services like Alignment and Balancing will increase. Customers will look at quality products and services, while technology will be leveraged to its maximum advantage.”
Also, such a vast career in the same industry indicates a lot of learning and unlearning. With regard to this he avers, “To be successful, we need to remain closer to the consumer. This will help in gaining deep consumer insights which can be translated in world class products, services and marketing initiatives. Also people buy brands and not products. Hence successful marketing is all about creating Brands.”
Well, as we know the tyre industry, because of its exclusive nature needs to be upbeat as far as marketing and promotion activities are concerned. Elaborating on the same he said, “We believe in the principle of ‘Customer First’. Our marketing strategy revolves around the customer. We have been in the forefront of bringing in best technology way ahead of time, because we have always been customer-centric.”
“We pioneered the Radial Technology in the country and were also the first to launch Passenger Car Radials and Truck/Bus Radials. We have also launched a number of service initiatives like Steel Wheels, Truck Wheels and Fleet Management & CRM – all firsts for the Indian market. Having said that, it is important for any company to be optimistic as far as marketing and promotion activities are concerned, in order to reach out to the target audience and attain maximum customers,” Malhotra added further.
With a good media mix consisting of an integrated brand campaign covering TV, Print, Outdoor, Digital and Social Media, to reach out to maximum customers through various forms, JK Tyres has always made its presence felt. Their recently launched new TVC, which drives on the theme ‘Further you go..closer you come,’ is one that has been much talked about.
Speaking about the campaign, Malhotra said, “In today’s hectic lifestyle, one hardly finds time to spend with their loved ones. The long drives create an opportunity to know more about them. Hence, we are encouraging people to drive out and go on long drives so that they can know more about their valued ones. The TVC captures such moments. Our proposition is that JK Tyre’s High Performance Tubeless Radials supports you in these long drives.”
The company made the digital space its focus to appeal to its target audience which is tremendously active across digital media. The strategy was to establish robust engagement with the target audience while structuring a strong presence across all digital media platforms so as to maximize the visibility of the new brand TVC. The strategy was executed with the help of a brand new website and a boosted social media presence. The website was designed to promote the brand as young, contemporary and with-the-times. Its social media presence had to seamlessly integrate itself with the ongoing campaign, while keeping the conversation between the target audience and JK Tyre alive.
A 4 month, all-encompassing media campaign was launched which comprised of the following: Revamped Website - A revamped website took visitors through the exhaustive brand offerings. This made the brand even more accessible to the customers as it was a responsive website and could therefore also be accessed from tablets and cell phones. The website escalated customer engagement with the brand, with over 2.1 lac visits in 4 months, with users spending an average of over 1.5 minutes on the website and sharing over 3000 feedback/enquiries on the website within just 4 months.
Social Media Presence - Extensive customer engagement was planned by way of contests across social media platforms. The contest “Drive Out and Discover” resonated with the brand communication and encouraged the participants to share their stories of discoveries they had made about their loved ones while travelling together. Over 1.1 lac Facebook fans were engaged in just 4 months. With the “Drive Out and Discover” contest running on Facebook, the engagement rate was as high as 10%. Contest winners were carefully chosen and then sent on road trips to create memories with their loved ones. They also interacted with the brand on a personal level by sharing photographs from the trips with the brand, thereby creating a great deal of user generated content. On a daily basis, customers interacted with the brand on social platforms, voicing their queries and sharing their opinions.
Media Promotions - Media banners were strategically placed across all high impact properties to divert traffic to the website and to familiarize audiences with the new TVC.
For Information and records: In India, its nationwide network comprises of 138 selling locations, 4,000 dealers and over 110 retail outlets branded 'JK Tyre Steel Wheels', which are equipped with state-of-the-art wheel servicing equipment. It has also established 18 Truck Radial Tyre Care centres, which operate along all major National Highways on 365 day, 24x7 basis. JK Tyre has established over 10 truck radial total solution showrooms branded “Truck Wheels”. It was the first to introduce unique concepts like “Dial-a-Tyre” and is the only tyre company to launch a 24x7 on-road tyre assistance initiative called “Fix-a-Tyre”.
The company has taken many green initiatives and launched the ‘Soles with Souls’ programme, an eco-friendly initiative to use discarded tyres as lifestyle accessory, which has been acclaimed internationally. JK Tyre actively promotes various disciplines of motorsports in India and has invested over INR 100 crores towards building its infrastructure. The Racing and Karting programmes are the breeding ground for the country's young motorsport talent and JK Tyre prodigies like Narain Karthikeyan, Armaan Ebrahim and Karun Chandhok have done India proud in the global arena. [By Aanchal Kohli, | Twitter: @aanchalkohli]