The ex-HUL and Gillette veteran, Anil Dua, currently Senior VP – Marketing and Sales, Hero Honda, takes a tactical look at various strategic manoeuvres over the past years

That’s more of an urban story but rural India is where the company earns its bread and butter from. Do you see the rural boom continuing for the years to come?
During slowdown, the industry declined by 7%, which was unprecedented in this industry; but it is now back on a double-digit return. However, we outshone the industry in all these years. In fact, in a way, we were pulling the industry up during the slowdown phase. We increased our market share – this has happened because of many reasons and this is what we say is our ‘Multi Focal’ approach. In urban areas, it was premium and attitude bikes and products focused on women that kept the flag flying high. In rural parts of the country, we launched a campaign called Har Gaon Har Aangan, which was a big hit. We have even done various programs like the Mandi activity that we keep on doing on regular basis. We have built an infrastructure of almost 525 sales points. The contribution from the rural areas is close to 42% and in urban areas it’s 58%; this is the best in the industry; and the share is better in rural areas. It’s a typical case of being a huge company – but you still can’t afford to lose a segment of your market.

It is indeed ironic that when you entered the Indian market, Bajaj was the leader in scooters. Now, you are into scooters with Pleasure but Bajaj did decide to exit the segment. How much potential do you believe the segment?
When we decide to enter a segment or a market, we see that either there’s a huge market or there is no market. When we entered the market with bikes it was mostly filled with scooters, but today it’s just the opposite. But once we came with Pleasure, no one was looking at scooters. But now we are growing every year by double digit growth. From the marketing point of view, it’s not only fun but also comes with empowerment. The ‘why should boys have all the fun’ campaign comes with freedom for women to enjoy a ride. We had Priyanka Chopra shown as a fun loving girl and similarly our scooters are. We have ensured a very pleasant atmosphere for ladies – if any customer goes to the service station, a lady will be collecting the scooter, which makes them more comfortable and women friendly.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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