Yamaha’s foray into the scooter market, for females, with the launch of Yamaha Ray hasn’t enthused me too much. Yamaha, as a brand in India, has a masculine feel about it. It is one of the earlier entrants in the Indian bike market in 1990s before the Hero Hondas, Bajajs, TVSs were even thinking about bikes. Yet it seemed they were never keen to market their products in India. Reasons could vary from an lack of understanding about market potential or focus on other high value developed markets or reluctance to introduce products in the price range available in India.
Past few years has seen them aggressively enter the Indian market with the launch of its various products such as FZ, FZ S, Fazer, R15 among a host of other 10+ products. They did well to have John Abraham as the brand ambassador. Although not a leader currently in the Indian two-wheeler market, Yamaha is making deep inroads with its offerings. Their Yes Yamaha campaign is well received and has a strong recall value.
Yamaha always was considered as a Male brand. With John Abraham as the brand ambassador and the kind of communication, the belief was further strengthened. The belief would be on shaky grounds now that Yamaha has come up with scooters for the fairer sex. Yamaha Ray has Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone as its brand ambassador. The target audience would relate to Deepika endorsing the product. But it surely is going to make the boys unhappy. Imagine tomorrow Harley Davidson coming up with a scooter for girls. Would it not affect the cult following the brand has. With this new offering, Yamaha might be able to expand their market and add to its bottom line through volumes but it loses on its core value of a masculine brand. Building this identity has taken years but breaking it isn’t go to take that long.
The least they could have done was bring it as a product, and promote it, with an individual brand identity separate from the family brand Yamaha. Probably that might have helped preserve its original character. And the guys would have kept on identifying with YES YAMAHA