Brand James Bond –1953, The World is shuddering with the brouhaha of Cold war and each super power is planning and executing its own strategy to take over the world. Concept of Agents, spies or sleuths though seems intriguing but not outlandishly uncanny, and, in this era of real life action, drama and uncertainty Ian Fleming gives birth (literally and figuratively) to James Bond through his short story series. Gadgets, glamour, girls and guts, the character has all the paraphernalia to charm the audience. This deadly combination further coalesced with mind boggling story line to create a franchise that has garnered over $ 5.6 billion till date. Agent 007 has become an awe inspiring phenomenon beyond generations, beyond actors and beyond time.
Aston Martin, A super car, a super brand, an icon. Former coolest brand of United Kingdom. James Bond’s super sexy car. Flaunting an amazing sporty track record the brand is known all over the world for its svelte looks, thunderous engine and brilliant engineering. A brand so unique that it doesn’t have a person as its brand ambassador, it has a phenomenon as one, James Bond himself. Any sports car can’t have a better ambassador than James Bond. Sexy, smart, witty, sophisticated and timeless. Both Aston Martin and James Bond complement each other’s imagery, a perfect match, a natural association that augments the personality of both the entities.
Enter Mahindra & Mahindra, a $ 15.4 billion Indian Multinational, known to the common Indian as an automobile and farm equipment’s company. In recent times the company has underwent drastic (on the positive side) branding changes to reflect the expanding umbrella of Mahindra and Mahindra in multiple sectors. Mahindra is veering in the direction to become a renowned global conglomerate. The recent rebranding campaign which is a 360 degree consistent communication is ‘Mahindra Rise’. It has been successful in effectively communicating the vision and aspiration of the organisation. When it comes to the customers, the company has been undoubtedly successful in delivering its promises which has resulted in emboldened trust of the investors in the company.
Now, ‘rumours’ are rife that Mahindra and Mahindra is leading in the race to acquire Aston Martin from The Investment Dar. Aston Martin, though a prestigious brand but has a very prosy ownership history, that too right from its inception and is presently squirming under financial pressure. Anyway, I will restrict to scope of this article to branding only.
If Mahindra and Mahindra acquires Aston Martin, then frankly speaking it is not going to effect the consumers, of both Aston Martin and Mahindra and Mahindra, directly. I would draw a direct analogy- JLR’s acquisition by Tata Motors. Tata adopted the right strategy of keeping both the operations and communications of JLR individually intact. The JLR customers are getting all the value for which they buy the brand, though the delivery has been assured through Tata’s financial support. The brand has been now successfully resuscitated and is even bringing fortunes for TML. But has it affected the image of Tata Motors passenger vehicle segment? No. It is still the good old taxi brand. Are the consumers bothered that Tata has acquired JLR so let’s buy Tata cars? No. Though, the investors are very happy, the acquisition has been financially very profitable and declared a success. So, when it comes for an investor to invest in brand Tata Motors, has it helped? Yes. Similarly, M&M is definitely not going to rebrand Aston Martin as M&M Aston Martin post its acquisition, it will only affect the operational aspects of the Aston Martin and not the branding aspects. And how will it affect M&M? Obvious results- M&M gets a luxury brand in its kitty, it gets to expand its global footprint and becomes a better global brand with lucrative investment opportunities for the investors.
So, there lies absolutely no reason for James Bond to be bothered. Regarding the acquisition there is going to be no branding changes for both Aston Martin and Mahindra and Mahindra in the consumer domain and neither are there going to be any perceptual changes.