Path-breaking Branding Plans
By TA News Bureau:
In a tough and crowded market gaining a pole position requires clever and impactful branding exercise. Apollo Tyres is known to unleash high-octane creativity when it comes to launching compelling brands. Its logo, for example, was conceived as the launch pad into the global market for branded quality tyres. It is important to generate excitement and communicate to customers about the product quality. Finding the right platform and engaging with customers are a tough job. Brand marketers device platforms and seek to sponsor high-profile sporting tournaments and other international prestige events. Here Apollo Tyres has scored well as it knives into the European market by building a credible strong brand
Apollo Tyres has taken a two-pronged approach in building brands. It tied up with Premiere League teams, Manchester United and Crystal Palace football clubs, as their global tyre partner, and with Borussia Monchengladbach in the German Bundesliga.
“We are leveraging these associations, along with our relationship with premium OEMs in Europe, to build both the brands in Europe and beyond, “ Neeraj Kanwar, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Apollo Tyres told Tyre Asia in an interview.
The branding exercise with Manchester United has enlarged Apollo’s brand recognition across Europe. Its advertising and marketing cooperation has grown to 69 countries. An additional 67 countries will cover virtually all of Europe – and even as far as Turkey, but not Russia.
In 2015, Apollo acquired German multi-brand tyre distributor Reifencom. “This will help us significantly scale distribution both online and offline,” added Kanwar who is currently based in London overseeing the European operations where it has a 3 per cent share of the market.
Since Apollo Vredestein’s relocation from the city of Enschede in the Netherlands to Amsterdam, it now has a more focussed strategy to develop branding and marketing.
Mathias Heimann, President of Apollo Vredestein BV, said the company is now more focussed on global manufacturing and quality functions with Europe as the major target. It has come up with path-breaking branding exercises that include the successful Apollo Vredestein Dealer Partnership programme.
Under this, the company provides premium signage and point of sales across Europe, with new retailing outlets in Belgium, Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands. Similar projects are planned for Austria, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.
Its goal is to have 800 programme partners by 2020, throughout Europe. “At the heart of our approach is a desire to move away from the usual franchise model to become genuine business partners with dealers who join the programme,” explains Heimann.
The strategy is to create a ‘dynamic collaboration’ between the tyre manufacturer and the dealer, and dealer and customer based on three principles: business consultancy, growth and a unique design.
The consultancy aspect will target fulfilling the potential of a business area, and the sales organisation of the retailer. Growth is geared towards new tools to increase the sales volume like offering products from Apollo Vredestein Premium Styling Partners. And lastly, Apollo offers unique designs offering a high-quality shopping experience for end-consumers.
Its styling partnership with car manufacturer Arden involved Apollo Vredestein partnering with the associate for modified vehicles from the premium Jaguar, Bentley and Range Rover and Mini brands. The idea is to provide ultra-high performance tyres aimed at the high-end of the exclusive car market.
Apollo has also collaborated with German luxury car ‘tuner’ Mansory to equip refined luxury cars like Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Aston Martin. With hand-crafting and sophisticated technology as core values, the association of Apollo has heightened its presence in the luxury segment.
In the Middle Eastern markets, Apollo has invested in developing its retail and distribution presence. In the Far East Thailand is also included in the brand strategy. But the major branding success came with Apollo Tyres’ takeover of reifencom GmbH, operator of e-commerce sites in six European countries.
This is aimed at furthering Apollo’s retail strategy by developing network in the European market. Heimann said this acquisition – which has operational facilities in Bielefeld and Hanover – was a “sound strategic extension of the value chain.” This will help Apollo Vredestein to increase sales activities, intensify customer support and make customer orientation more consistent, he said.
Heimann hopes to address many complexities of the market in order to develop a significant competitive advantage. Besides increased brand awareness for Vredestein, the acquisition will encourage consultation with end consumers especially in the light of new tyre pressure monitoring systems and selection of products.
He also says that the company can now optimise its logistics through measures such as the optimisation of delivery times, allowing storage capacity to be decreased and higher margins to be realised at all stages.
The mantra of Apollo is continuous upgradation of product and manufacturing technologies, along with tracking of consumer expectation and fulfilling it. Building strong brands is based on giving the consumer the highest product quality, a corporate commitment on which Apollo will never compromise.
Whether it is tyres for buses and high-end cars launch of cycle and bike tyres for two-wheeler enthusiasts, the same concern for quality and safety drive Apollo’s R&D and marketing efforts.
In the highly competitive European and Asian market, one has to remain price competitive but without compromising on customer expectation of quality and reliability. It is this motto that is in the DNA of Apollo that the Kanwars have been following since the company’s founding.