Five years since the start of exports from India, Nissan, recently, achieved a new milestone of exporting 5 lakh cars to over 106 countries. Nissan is currently the second largest exporter of passenger cars in India, after Hyundai. The company has been exporting its cars to various regions including Europe, Middle East, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa.
Nissan definitely has a reason to celebrate but the bigger opportunity is the domestic market which is slated to be the world’s third largest by the end of this decade with annual production of six million units. But the biggest challenge for Nissan in India is effective communication – increasing awareness of the Datsun and Nissan brand qualities, according to Guillame Sicard, President, Nissan Motor India.
The company recently launched a special edition version of the Terrano SUV in India, ‘Terrano Groove’. To be built in a limited run of 250 units, the newly introduced model is carrying a price tag of INR 11.45 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
To create awareness about the stylish premium compact SUV and its proposition “Power of Style”, Nissan roped in Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput as brand ambassador. However to begin with, Nissan created a strong digital strategy to get people talking about the TVC prior to the launch. Besides, the other brand objective was to disseminate the new brand proposition to the digital community.
Nissan along with its digital agency D2NA started off with the pre-buzz activity around #PowerOfStyle. To spread the distinct four moves of Terrano, four social media influencers were roped in, each of whom represented the four moves and formed four teams.
A Tweet battle awaits. Join in on the action as we unveil Terrano’s exclusive moves. #PowerOfStyle
— Nissan India (@Nissan_India) May 12, 2015
— Nissan India (@Nissan_India) May 12, 2015
Meanwhile influencers started spreading the word with a bit of their understanding about #PowerOfStyle and asked their followers to share their views. At this point of time, Nissan India pushed Twitter Polling Card via the four influencers on Twitter. Respective influencers had to persuade their followers to vote for the particular Power Move represented by them, to help them unlock an exclusive video. After a sizable interest from users, the leading influencer first released a glimpse of his dedicated power move video to his followers. Eventually, other influencers also released their power move videos, after gaining the much needed traction for the brand.
“Guess The Star” contest
Additionally, just before the release of the TVC on Twitter, the brand initiated another contest “Guess The Star”. Users on Twitter were given hints and were asked to guess the Bollywood star roped in for the new ad.
— Nissan India (@Nissan_India) May 13, 2015
Eventually, the TVC conceptualised by TBWA was launched exclusively on social media. At the surface, the video tells the story of how a car visually mesmerizes and draws Sushant into a dance-off, or one that he believes happened.
But below the surface, this is a story about how a person and a car connect with each other, and how they play off each other. Ultimately, it’s not about how the car reacts or mimics, it’s about how the car attains a personality, and how it embodies the culture of the young protagonist.
Sharing the campaign results Nissan India informed that #PowerOfStyle received 134 million estimated impressions from 17,339 Twitter mentions by 3,421 users. “Guess the Star” contest achieved 30 million estimated responses from 3979 Twitter mentions and 3171 users.
The TVC that was exclusively launched on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube created lot of buzz backed by paid and organic media. In addition to this, the brand ran a high impact banner on Rediff and invested money in Google search marketing.
Social media influencers or Twitter contest players?
On the face #PowerOfStyle is a digital campaign that every brand manager would be happy with. While it managed to trend on Twitter organically in a while, the brand can also be proud of creating conversations supported by influencers on social media.
The digital exercise was about brand awareness and creating maximum excitement around the TVC, which the brand has achieved based on the campaign results.
However, a pertinent question that is hiding behind the big numbers is the selection of social media influencers. For this campaign the brand had roped in four Twitter or social media influencers – @pal36, @0__1, @lady_gabbar and @oye_gujju. All of them have a massive fan following on Twitter, are very active on the 140-character platform, and at the same time, are also active Twitter contest players.
There is no harm in being a Twitter contest player but can we call them as social media influencers? A look at their Twitter feeds tell us that most of the time they are busy promoting Twitter contests. Wonder what influence do they draw on Twitter other than inspiring others to be Twitter contest players.
However, the brand disagrees to that, stating that the four influencers were picked basis their distinct online personalities along with their social media reach. “We analyzed the kind of response their regular conversational tweets attract, engagement level with their audience and the diversity of the topics that they tweet about. While humor & sarcasm was a common topic that all four of our influencers indulged in- their four distinct online personalities also helped us reach out to a wider audience. The content that our four influencers shared helped us create a campaign that was successful,” Aarushi Agarwal – Vice President Marketing Nissan India, said.
There’s no doubt that the Twitter influencers helped create optimum buzz for the campaign, which was also backed by media spends by the brand.
But the question remains: how does this add value to a brand? Not sure if Nissan India is aware that right now two of its social media influencers are busy tweeting praises about the #AllNewSafariStorme.
— Micro-ambitious (@pal36) June 2, 2015
— Binary Baba™ v3.0 (@0__1) June 2, 2015
Nissan India, or for that matter any other brand which is trying to connect with the youth on social media, needs to brainstorm with their agencies on – what value do these contest players bring to their brand. Tying up with an influencer and bringing in a mix of people who blog or share content, or have knowledge about the automobile industry would have been valuable. He/she might not have the reach but the brand was anyways backing the Twitter contest players with media spends on Twitter.
It’s about time when brands need to draw a clear line between social media influencers and Twitter contest players. And if the brand is happy with being trended on Twitter, then it is simply because the campaign is supported by a horde of contest players and not genuine Nissan India fans.