THE INDIAN CONNECTIONRoyal Enfield motorcycles were being sold in India ever since 1949. In 1955,the Indian government started looking for a suitable motorcycle for its policeforces and the army for patrolling duties on the countrys border. The Bullet 350was chosen as the most suitable bike for the job. The Indian governmentordered 800 of these 350 cc motorcycles, an enormous order for that time. ThusIn 1955, the Redditch Company partnered with Madras Motors in India to formwhat was called Enfield India to assemble these 350 cc Bullet motorcycleunder licence in erstwhile madras (Now called Chennai). As per their agreementMadras Motors owned the majority (over 50%) of shares in the company. In1957 tooling equipment was also sold to Enfield India so that they couldmanufacture components and start full-fledged production. The Enfield Bulletdominated the Indian highways and with each passing year its popularity keptrising.CLOSEOUT IN THE UKRoyal Enfield UK continued manufacturing motorcycles and came out withsome more innovative and powerful machines notably the Royal EnfieldMeteor, Constellation and finally the Interceptor 700, before being sold toNorton-Triumph-Villiers (NVT) in 1968. Production ceased in 1970 and thecompany was dissolved in 1971. Remaining tooling and equipment of theRedditch works were auctioned off. Meanwhile the Bullet 350 continued to bemanufactured in India and by the 1980 the motorcycles were even exported toEurope out of India. Even after the motorcycle manufacturing closed down theprecision engineering division ran for some more time and even bicycles wereproduced until quite late.THE EICHER CHAPTERIn 1990, Enfield India entered into a strategic alliance with the Eicher Group,and later merged with it in 1994. It was during this merger that the name EnfieldIndia changed to Royal Enfield. The Eicher Group is one of Indias leadingautomotive groups with diversified interests in the manufacture ofTractors, Commercial Vehicles, Automotive Gears, Exports,Garments, Management Consultancy and Motorcycles. Since then, theCompany has made considerable investments in modernizing itsmanufacturing technology and systems. In 1996, when theGovernment decided to impose stringent norms for emission RoyalEnfield was the first motorcycle manufacturer to comply, a traditionwhich has stuck on thus making emission norms being one of the mostimportant factors the company focuses on.
THE REVIVAL STORYSenior managers at Eicher Motors faced a tough choice. They had been givenone final chance to revive the loss making Royal Enfield - their motorcycledivision. For that they wanted to modernise the bikes to appeal to a widercustomer base. But existing customers wanted their Bullets just the way theyhad always been. By modernising, Royal Enfield risked losing traditional fanswithout possibly gaining any new customers.The year 2000 could have been decisive. That was when the board of directorsat Eicher Motors decided to either shut down or sell off Royal Enfield - thecompanys Chennai-based motorcycle division, which manufactured the iconicBullet motorbikes. For all its reputation, the sales of the bike was down to 2,000units a month against the plants installed capacity of 6,000; losses had beenmounting for years. Though the bikes had diehard followers, there were alsofrequent complaints about them - of engine seizures, snapping of the acceleratoror clutch cables, electrical failures and oil leakages. Many found them tooheavy, difficult to maintain, with the gear lever inconveniently positioned and adaunting kick-start.Just one person stood up to the board, insisting Royal Enfield should get anotherchance. He was Siddhartha Lal, a third generation member of the Delhi-basedLal family, promoters of the Eicher group of companies. Lal, then 26, was anunabashed Bullet fan: he even rode a red coloured Bullet while leading thebaraat (procession) to his wedding venue, instead of the traditional horse. Theboard agreed to give him a chance, it was not because of its confidence in him,but because the business was doing so badly it could hardly get any worse.Lal felt Royal Enfield could still be saved. The bike had its reputation, a cultfollowing, an instantly recognisable build, and aspirational value. Changes hadto be made to keep up with the times and make the bike more acceptable, andtherein lay the problem. Royal Enfield fans liked the bikes exactly the way theyhad always been so they decided to make some changes in the bike by notaffecting its charm.Retaining the bikes rugged looks was a given, including the build, thedesign of the head lamp and the petrol tank. But should the gears beshifted close to the riders left foot - as in most bikes - or retained onthe right side? The question gave Lal and his team many sleeplessnights, since long time users were dead opposed to the change. Theengine was another thorny question. The old cast iron engine was arelic of the past. Its separate gear box and oil sump design made it prone to oilleaks and it seized up very often. Its ability to meet increasingly strict emissionnorms was also suspect. A modern aluminium engine would eliminate these
problems, but it would lack the old engines pronounced vibrations and beat -which Royal Enfield customers loved. Laws of physics made it impossible toreplicate these with the new engine. They retained many of the old enginescharacteristics - the long stroke, the single cylinder, the high capacity with pushrod mechanism.The new engine had 30 per cent fewer parts and produced 30 per cent morepower than the old, with better fuel efficiency. By 2010, all Royal Enfieldmodels had begun to use the new engine. Two other problems needed to beaddressed: the quality of some of the components Royal Enfield bikes wereusing, and the sales experience. To tackle the first, shop floor processes werefine tuned, while suppliers were exhorted to improve quality levels. RoyalEnfield also embarked on a large scale internal exercise to tone up performance.They declared 2006 as the year of getting back to the basics. They also formed afield quality rapid action force to bridge the gap between customer expectationsand the realitySlowly, the tide turned. Engine related problems and oil leakages in RoyalEnfield products almost disappeared. By 2008 dealers were reporting lowerworkloads. Warranty claims fell sharply too. Malfunctioning of the spragclutch, on which the electric starter depends, declined, for instance, from fiveper cent in 2005/06 to 0.2 percent in 2010/11. Royal Enfield also beganconducting marquee rides to promote leisure biking. Such steps removed thefears about the products reliability. To improve sales experience new company-owned showrooms were launched and dealerships expanded.In October 2008, Royal Enfield launched in Germany its newly designed 500ccClassic model - inspired by J2, a 1950 model Bullet - with the new engine. Itwas a success, admired for its performance and fuel economy.Emboldened, Lal launched it in India in November 2009 initially as a 350 ccbike, priced at Rs 1.20 lakh. This proved a hit too. At that time their capacityutilisation was 100 per cent but still there was a six months waiting period fordeliveries so they planned to double their capacity to 1.5 lakh bikes.But there was always an issue regarding the brand promotion and marketcommunication. Here came up with its few promotional strategy andmarket communication plans.
PRINT ADVERTISEMENT OF ROYAL ENFIELD- THEN AND NOW
Here we can see a drastic change in the print advertisement of Royal Enfield.Previously they show cased only a BIKE where the attitude was missing ascompared to the latest advertisements. Now in print media, Royal Enfield triesto associate the bike with the stubbornness and the selfishness of the biker whoowns a Royal Enfield. Now they focus more on the features and try todisseminate the positive side of the same to the audience. They have their ownbuilt target segment. Perhaps they don’t segment the market but the marketsegments for them. The owner of Royal Enfield bikes are not the youngsters assuch but the middle aged who are passionate about engines and vintage looks.It’s said that one needs to be mature to own a Royal Enfield bike and this beliefhas helped them to design the print advertisement very much relevant to thesame.So we can conclude that the print media of Royal Enfield is very much inclinedto its target audience and their traits.
SUGGESTED PROMOTIONAL MEASURES FOR ROYAL ENFIELD 1. Enfielders signature on bike: Royal Enfield is more about attitude and the selfishness of the biker. The single sitter bike of Royal Enfield justifies this. A good quality rubber coated stamp carrying the signature or one word message of the Enfielders should be added to its external design for the further embellishment. Here the biker will feel the ownership whenever he will sit on his Royal vintage (Royal Enfield bike). This will carry further the selfishness part of the bike and will add to the ownership feeling of the biker. 2. Roadies: Roadies is more of youngsters soap and it’s all about cruising and adventure. At present, HERO Moto corp has a tie up with the show and they use Karizma for cruising. If looked into the matter Karizma is not a cruising bike and to some extent neither Enfield is. But the image of Enfield goes with the image of cruising. So a tie up with the show can help Royal Enfield to get more youngsters to buy this bike and can also help them to create a new market for their bikes. 3. Royal Enfield badge: It’s very necessary for Royal Enfield to differentiate their customers from others. The same way blackberry did in smart phone segment. They called the users of blackberry as blackberry boys. Here Royal Enfield should design a badge common to every Royal Enfield users. They can place this badge on their bags or on whatever they carry while going anywhere. Slowly people will start recognising that the person is an Enfielder by just looking at the Royal Enfield badge and this will make them desperate to own a badge of Royal Enfield just to be in this league. 4. Customised colour: Royal Enfield comes in very few colours. So at times people buy the bike and change the colour according to their liking. Here Royal Enfield should go for the customization in colour for the bikes so that the customers can cut down a step of re-colouring them to meet their liking. This may not help in bringing new customers but will definitely make up the minds of the potential buyers to buy the bike if they have any colour preferences. 5. Enfielders in the advertisements: We see models or Actors in the advertisements of automobiles but here we recommend to put the enfielders to shown in the advertisement of the Royal Enfield irrespective of print media or TV commercial. This can be used as a retention and motivational tool for the existing customers, in fact this can also help in getting more customers to associate with the brand.
6. Enfield Tour: A small biking tour of Royal Enfield should be conducted once in every month in the targeted cities. This day should be called as the Enfielders Day where they will meet up at some place and just ride on their bike in a group. This can help to communicate the brand to the audience, in fact it can be a powerful tool for the brand recall. End of the day the main motto of all these promotional tools is to pull the audience to join the league of the Enfielders.7. A social welfare tour: It’s very necessary for a stubborn or a rigid natured guy to show the softness in him to the public and working for a social cause can surely help this endeavour. Although the Enfielders would have this image of people who think high of themselves but working for social causes like going out for help of the victims of flood and drought, plantation, education of poor children would surely bring good name for them and subsequently for the brand. So we suggest that a social welfare tour shall be taken up by the Enfielders in cooperation with Royal Enfield to make an impact in public.