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Anthropomorphized Greeting Tactic to Recoup Mislaid Customers: An Authorized Car Service Centre’s Approach

CASE STUDY, MARKETING MANAGEMENT
ET Cases, 16 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Dr. Reshmi Manna, Associate Professor, NTPC School of Business, Noida, India and Ankit Singh, Entrepreneur, Remish

Case Preview

Anthropomorphized Greeting Tactic to Recoup Mislaid Customers: An Authorized Car Service Centre's Approach

Apra Auto India Pvt. Ltd. (Apra Auto), was one of the prime dealers of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (Maruti Suzuki). The company was long known for its major success in after-sales car service, since its inception in 2000. In the year 2013, the company underwent a series of leadership changes and turmoil that led to loss of business focus. By mid-2014, the company attempted to rebuild its customer base and recapture their faith and satisfaction. At that time, one of the branches of Apra Auto in Okhla, Delhi, hired Roshni Mehta (Roshni), a business consultant, to revamp Apra Auto's brand image and business processes. As the first line of action, Roshni designed a campaign named 'Car Personify' to recuperate the old customers and win their satisfaction. The campaign created a primacy effect on customer's mind that his/her car was smiling after getting serviced by Apra Auto. The 'Car Personify' drive was designed on the concept of anthropomorphism - attributing human characteristics, behaviour or emotions to the car. The greetings email with anthropomorphic car image sent to the customer after completion of service was a successful tactic. The concept was able to simulate emotions and reaction among customers to spur positive feedback and appreciation. 'Car Personify' was popular enough to run for more than a year and engender business revenue for the Okhla branch. At the same time, other branches were still struggling to cope with the financial losses. By the end of 2014, Apra underwent a marketing shakeup under different leadership, which brought the curtains down for 'Car Personify' drive......................

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Apra Auto (India) Pvt. Ltd. – Company Overview

Exhibit II: Company Financials (FY 2010–14)

Exhibit III: Company’s Directors’ Details

Exhibit IV: Anthropomorphized Car

Exhibit V: Example of Original Car (A) and Car Personify (B)

Annexures

Annexure I: Company Loss and Profit Statement (FY 2014)

Annexure II: Company Balance Sheet (FY 2014)

Annexure III: Company Financial Ratios (FY 2014)

Annexure IV: Company Open Charges/Borrowings as of April 2018

Annexure V: Creditor Graph for Open and Satisfied Charges as on April 2018

Annexure VI: Company Satisfied Charges/Borrowings as on April 2018

Teaching Note Preview

Anthropomorphized Greeting Tactic to Recoup Mislaid Customers: An Authorized Car Service Centre's Approach

Synopsis

Apra Auto India Pvt. Ltd. (Apra Auto), was one of the prime dealers of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. It started to function in the year 2000. Apra Auto had been witnessing steady growth in business since inception. In 2013, the company underwent a series of ownership changes and turmoil resulting in loss of focus in business. Apra Auto Okhla branch tried to revamp its brand image through an anthropomorphized greeting tactic to customers. The greeting tactic was named as 'Car Personify' to create predominance effect on customers’ mind and thought process. The idea was aimed to make customers feel that their car was happy and smiling after getting serviced from Apra Auto. The concept was designed on priming the human facial feature 'smile' on the car bumper. The campaign was popular to retain existing customers, recoup mislaid customers and get connected to new customers through positive word-of-mouth communication and customers’ reference. By the end of 2014, drop in revenues and change in leadership terminated the campaign and finally led to the winding up of Apra Auto to pay off its creditors....................

Exhibits

Exhibit (TN)-I: Highlights of the Case

Exhibit (TN)-II: Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding Topics

Exhibit (TN)-III: Anthropomorphic Agent ZOOZOO, Vodafone

Exhibit (TN)-IV: Anthropomorphic Cats Billy and Sunny for Homeshop 18 Advertisement

Exhibit (TN)-V: Billy and Sunny for Homeshop 18 Anthropomorphic Advertisement on Discount Communication

Exhibit (TN)-VI: Anthropomorphic Agent as Teacher Avatar for Training Purpose

Exhibit (TN)-VII: Juicer OLX Advertisement of Kapil Sharma

Exhibit (TN)-VIII: Orangina Advertisement

Exhibit (TN)-IX: The North Face Printed Anthropomorphic Advertisement

Exhibit (TN)-X: The North Face Printed Advertisement without an Anthropomorphic Agent

Exhibit (TN)-XI: The North Face Printed Advertisement without Product Picture

Exhibit (TN)-XII: The North Face Printed Advertisement of an Event with a Cartoon Character

Exhibit (TN)-XIII: The North Face Printed Advertisement with Celebrity Endorsement (K-Pop: Big Bang, Korea)

Exhibit (TN)-XIV: WIPRO’s Old and New Logos

Exhibit (TN)-XV: Learning Retention

Exhibit (TN)-XVI: Attribution Error

Exhibit (TN)-XVII: Schema Congruity Theory

Exhibit (TN)-XVIII: Flipkart Kid Advertisement

Exhibit (TN)-XIX: Maggi’s Anthropomorphized Advertisement

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Abstract

Apra Auto India Pvt. Ltd. (Apra Auto), one of the prime dealers of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., was operational in the automobile service sector since 2000. The company had witnessed steady growth in business from its inception until 2013. However, in 2013, the company underwent a series of leadership changes and turmoil resulting in loss of focus in business and its competitive advantage.

Apra Auto had 9 branches in Northern India. One of the branches in Okhla, Delhi, tried to revamp its brand image after losing business and reputation in the market. The General Manager of Apra Okhla branch, Vivek Sharma, decided to consult an expert, who could manage the critical business situation. The consultant was expected to advise for apprehending old customers and rebuilding their confidence on Apra as a decent car service provider. A greeting tactic named 'Car Personify’ was introduced to create dominance effect on customers' thought process that cars were happy and smiled when they were serviced at Apra Okhla branch. The concept was intended on priming the human facial feature of 'smile' on car’s bumper. The campaign was popular enough to run for a year. However, by 2014, declining revenues and leadership change terminated the drive. An advertising agency was given the responsibility of maintaining uniform promotion activity for all Apra Auto branches. However, the advertising agency failed to rebuild the company’s brand image and generate revenues from market leading to winding up of Apra Auto’s business, to pay off its creditors.



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand the concept of anthropomorphism as a greeting tactic
  • To apply theoretical concepts of anthropomorphism and schema congruity, to create primacy effect on customers’ mind and thought process
  • To discuss the critical factors that helped ‘Car Personify’ drive to influence customer perception in recouping customers’ faith in Apra Auto car services

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used for either of the following:

  • Management or Business Management studies in courses like MBA, PGD in Business Management, PGD in Management, PG Programme in Management, etc.
  • Executive MBA coursework
The case is positioned for 1st year Marketing Management students as part of the chapter on 'Marketing Communication'.



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- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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