NEW DELHI: Volkswagen India is seeking to address some misconceptions that have arisen about the brand by placing greater emphasis on the experience of its consumers, a leading executive has said.

"We have got this perception of either being expensive or not being good at service purely by word of mouth," said Kamal Basu, head/marketing & PR for Volkswagen Passenger Cars in India.

"We are trying to make the experience more engaging and better for the customer, so they go and through the same channel, talk about how that perception is not true," he explained to Impact.

One reason for this view of the brand, he suggested, was that the cost of a service might be lower for its rivals but these were carried out more often: "the difference is that they do it thrice and we do it once".

As part of its commitment to customer satisfaction, Basu added that customer services managers had been installed across its dealerships which were now being evaluated on this metric.

"We have mandated that they need to move up on the scores of customer service," he stated. "But perceptions will take time to change."

Basu also outlined the firm's media strategy, which relies heavily on print on a day-to-day basis – "for sustenance" – while television is used four or five times a year for launches and building brand image and consumes up to 40% of the budget.

Another 25% goes on digital while maybe 10% is devoted to below-the-line activities.

Basu professed himself "disappointed" at the level of innovation Volkswagen had achieved in digital, especially when compared to its work in the print medium, where it famously developed an audible newspaper ad when launching its Vento model and ran a campaign with a car-shaped hole in a newspaper for the launch of the Polo.

"The big ideas around innovations in the digital space are still some time away," he said, adding that "We plan to experiment boldly and hopefully something will click."

Data sourced from Impact; additional content by Warc staff