As the Indian economy gears up to restart in a post-COVID-lockdown era after over a two-month-long downtime, consumer behaviour is changing as preferences shift. While buying a two-wheeler could become an immediate imperative for some to avoid using public transport, some may postpone the plan owing to job insecurity or cash crunch. While the lockdown affects one and all, those who need to be outdoors to get business done or have hobbies that require stepping out are all the more in doldrums. One of them are motorcyclists. Speaking of riding communities, it doesn’t get any bigger than Royal Enfield, which has been grounded by the virtue of the coronavirus lockdown.
We spoke with Shubhranshu Singh, Global Head – Marketing, Royal Enfield to learn more about the brand’s attempts and successes in keeping the RE riding community engaged even in times of a pandemic.
The clearest path to consumer lover is reminiscing about the good times but even that has a factor of fatigue (there’s only so long you can keep looking at old pictures). So, Royal Enfield had to come up with novel ideas that engage with customers, fans and enthusiasts without pushing the brand into people’s screentime but having them voluntarily share their stories.
During the lockdown period, the mentions and conversation around Royal Enfield on social media platforms have seen an increase of more than 50% (in the last month). The engagements across platforms too is at an all-time high, just to point one a few numbers – engagements on Facebook at up by 80% and video views are up by a staggering 370% in the last one month. For example, Royal Enfield’s campaigns on Instagram including Trip Story and What’s Your Adventure have reaped stellar results for the brand.
Singh underlines the fact that Royal Enfield expanded to digital platforms much early in its lifespan and much before there were talks of digital dependency that would arise due to a pandemic. The brand today has over 70 lakh followers on digital platforms but there are about 40 lakh Royal Enfield motorcycles on the road, which clearly indicates that the brand’s reach goes beyond its customers.
Thanks to Royal Enfield’s foray into the digital world much early on, the brand has had one less problem of having its fans make a shift from brick & mortar to online platforms during these unprecedented times.
About these digital engagements converting to sales, Singh tells us that such marketing are intended to reach new and potential customers but Royal Enfield believes that finding the right medium is very important. The company invests in studies on triggers and barriers, and on customer satisfaction to work up engagement methods that are not intrusive. ‘The mission is to build a motorcycling lifestyle and gain more customers.’
Upon resumption of life back towards normalcy, the expectation is that personal mobility will make a strong comeback and perhaps more buoyant as social distancing will continue for months to come, Singh says. Royal Enfield hopes for a positive sales trend post lockdown. RE motorcycles by definition are designed to be good for two completely different kinds of riding requirements – they offer purpose-built capabilities and also the ease of every day commuting, he added.
In conclusion, Shubhranshu Singh tells us that Royal Enfield has had a significant footprint on digital platforms and a prime reason behind that is young and tech-savvy customers shifting towards online methods of transacting. But now it has become imperative. Dependency on digital platforms will increase and Royal Enfield is prepared with various methods that will be introduced.
Before signing off, Singh clarified that even in a rapidly digitising world Royal Enfield will retain its philosophy on being tactile about its motorcycles and experiences.
“Royal Enfield is about pure motorcycling, exploration, and living life outdoors. The real world will always be our playground.”
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