We want to be an approachable brand: Pallavi Singh, MG Motor India

MG Motor India, a fully-owned subsidiary of Shanghai-headquartered auto firm SAIC Motor Corporation, has, in collaboration with solutions-based media platform The Better India, created a campaign called #MGChangemakers. The initiative highlights and recognises the extraordinary stories of 6 women changemakers across communities who drove positive change in the society.

The digital videos, available on The Better India's YouTube channel, highlight social work done by these six women - transgender activist Kalki Subramaniam; Sudha Varghese, who has been fighting for the upliftment of dalits; pioneer in the field of women-led rural banking, Chetna Sinha; India's youngest sarpanch, Jabna Chauhan; Monisha Behal, who advocates women’s rights in the North East; and Rani Bang, a doctor who provides healthcare services to tribals in Maharashtra.

Founded in the UK in 1924, MG (Morris Garages) was world famous for its sports cars, roadsters and cabriolets that were sought after by many celebrities, including the British Prime Ministers and even the British Royal Family. MG has evolved into a future-forward, modern innovative brand over the last 94 years.

MG Motor India is a fully-owned subsidiary of SAIC Motor Corporation. The company will launch its cars in India in April 2019. Presently, the team is hiring people from different backgrounds and cultures, including former agency folks. More advertising and promotional messaging will break in a few weeks.

Former Harley-Davidson hand Pallavi Singh, who is now Head of Marketing at MG Motor India, is tasked with building awareness for brand Morris in this market. 

What's the connection between stories of social work at the country's heartland and a vintage race car brand like MG.

In conversation with Adgully, Pallavi Singh, Head of Marketing, MG Motor, India, speaks about the connection between stories of social work at the country's heartland and a vintage race car brand like MG; MG Motor’s plans for India and more. Excerpts: 

What is the objective behind the #MGChangemakers campaign?
Our vision behind the campaign is to highlight the extraordinary spirit and drive home the point that strong women build nations through their peerless grit and determination. With this campaign, we highlight one of the major pillars of MG Motor – Community. At MG Motor, we believe in storytelling and through this we are narrating extraordinary stories of strong women. 

How do you view MG Motor’s performance over the years?
I had a great stint with Harley Davidson and now at MG Motor, it has been one year for me. A lot of things are happening at MG Motor. At this point, we are looking at fundamentals of the organisation in total and not department wise. As an organisation, we really need to establish what we stand for and the important aspects of the business. Dealers/ stakeholders and consumers are the core of our business.

Firstly, I am fortunate enough that I got the opportunity to work with big brands and bosses and from them I have learned that ‘People make Brands, Brands do not make People’. Currently, I lead the core marketing team, where we target diversity. Diversity is not just about men and women; it is about different experiences, backgrounds, cultures and innovations.

Secondly, the formation of digital ecosystem is robust. We have backed digital campaign of Adobe experience travel. We have taken their campaign, TG and the complete stack because by the time we go to the market, it is very important that our foundation remains strong. And, as a marketing person, I think we have to touch upon these points.

We have five pillars at MG Motors, which are People, Experience, Community, Diversity and Innovation. For us, this is our bible.

MG has been an iconic brand since 1920 with great history. But, in India what we have done is we have created storytelling as a very important concept. The stories of MG Motor are available on YouTube, wherein we have looked at 6 stories. Consumers from various backgrounds came forward and talked about their experience with MG Motors, because we feel that consumers are the ones who can promote our brand by sharing their experiences, rather than us promoting our brand. In future, too, we will continue to grow this, because we have a total of 500 owners of MG in India. 

Please tell us about the new launches planned for India.
Our new campaign will be out in the month of September. Also, we plan to launch our new vehicle in April 2019. MG is an international brand and we are taking one of the platforms out, but will ensure that the platform can support the Indian space. Despite the challenges that the India market poses, we have a correct blend of style that can appeal to everyone. We want to be a brand that can appeal to everyone. We want to be an approachable brand. 

How has MG Motor performed in the APAC region?
It is doing phenomenally well, especially in China. Because of the ownership and leadership, they have been able to bring some unique experiential features in the car, which the youth out there are looking for. It is doing very well in Thailand as well. Japanese brands are dominating Thailand, but now MG brands are coming very close to them. MG is expanding and under the leadership of SAIC, it will grow even faster. 

What is the market that you will cater to in India?
If you look at luxury brands, the growth comes from smaller markets. There has been an evolution. There is no particular age group or city, for that matter, that we are catering to. Going forward, we will create an impact network across 45 different locales. We have a fine balance between metro and smaller markets. 

Building community has turned out to be an important element in the marketing strategy for most brands, including MG. How does it work out? Will India be a part of this strategy?
MG Car Club, one of the oldest clubs, has been around since 1930. I am fortunate to be able to find opportunities like this where such communities can exist. Brands like One Plus and Xiaomi are trying to build communities. Right now, it’s the need of the hour that communities come together and have a great time. Through communities, you meet great people. It just adds to what brands can do. If your customer is part of a strong community, you can find out what they want. They are your true brand ambassadors. They truly tell what the brands stand for.

There are 70,000 MG Car Club members worldwide. We are going to extend it to India as well. We have an opportunity to make it in a way that is customised for the Indian market. There’s going to be a programme for the car club. People can be a part of it. We will reveal that strategy as we move forward.  

What would be the focus of your marketing strategy?
As brands and marketers are evolving, there is no one-fit-for-all kind of a strategy. Digital is going to play an integral role for us. Advocacy is an important part of content marketing. 

We are going to launch an SUV in April 2019. Anybody and everybody who has an aspiration to have an SUV can own an MG. So, the strategy is going to revolve a lot around customer advocacy, storytelling and having the right foundation and fundamentals of the digital ecosystem, where we are very close to the customer. Digital will be the main focus. Other mediums will be part of the strategy.

At this point, our motto is when people think about MG they should know it’s a British car brand coming into this country in April 2019. 


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