The millennial man flaunts both mountaineering & culinary skills with equal ease: Mansi Tripathy, CMO, Shell

24 Oct,2013

Automobiles, as a category predominantly caters to men, and in a dull category like lubricants, which could be considered as an intangible product, which largely works behind the scene, inside the engine, how do brands create a pull. Shell has taken the adventure route and motorsports to showcase how Shell is the right choice for their cars and bikes. Television forms an important media for the brand where it has come up with adventure and action filled series globally. Mansi Tripathy, Chief Marketing Officer, Shell Lubricants India, talks to MxMIndia on how the brand is reaching out to the Indian male.


While we talk about the evolution of women a lot, have men too evolved in the last decade in the sense how they shop?

Indeed, last decade has seen significant evolution in men space as well. Most significant trends which we need to ride on are – changing role of Man at a household unit. He is the ‘millennial man’. He is much younger, on an average 29 years of age, always connected, always sharing and ever evolving. From just playing the role of the breadwinner in the erstwhile days, he is now taking on multiple roles of care giver, nurturer, an equal contributor in running a household. The new age Indian man today, flaunts his extreme mountaineering skills and his culinary skills in the kitchen, with equal ease and pride. For him both count as smart choices in his progressive journey. Our Shell Helix, Motorcar Engine oil is for this new age man who feels empowered to make smart choices in his life. He is positive, ambitious and most of all progressive.


Our buying behavior studies throw-up some interesting facts, like friends and family being the strongest influencers in his choice of an engine oil brand. We recognize the power of his community and share his passion for his car or bike, constantly driving shareable conversations on our Facebook page which as we speak attracts almost 5 million Likes and almost 80, 000 conversations, India being the third largest contributor and on our Youtube channel; that drives close to 4.6 million views with 1.2 million views being from India.


The millennial man in India, is engaged with us across the gamut of social media communities on various topics like Shell Motorsport, Shell Eco-Marathon, The future of energy, Stories around Shell’s innovative solutions around the future of energy, global energy mix, fuel save, track to road initiative and how it touches not only his daily life, but also that of his friends, family and his extended community!


How has their adventure sense / driving sense evolved over the years, and how is Shell looking at catering to this change?

Yes, he is ever evolving and always connected, making smart choices in his progressive journey. Shell continues to partner him in his progressive journey. Shell’s association with Ducati & Ferrari is one of the greatest in motorsports history!! We want to be ahead of the curve like ,the millennial man & hence, our endeavor is to bring fuel tested on the race track to the road!


Besides motorsports, we are engaging with the new age Indian man in the areas of a) extreme motor car sports through our latest endeavor ‘Shell Helix Driven to Extremes’ and b) adventure bike rides with ‘Shell Advance Freedom Riders Asia’


We are also engaging the men on television too. The premium lubricant Shell Helix created a global three part television series called ‘Driven to Extremes’ and distributed globally by Discovery Worldwide. The central idea of the programme was that two specifically designed Nissan Patrol vehicles and more specifically the oil inside them, were tested against three of the most challenging roads on the planet. The three episodes focused on the coldest, the hottest and the roughest roads on earth. The three locations used were the Kolyma Highway in Eastern Siberia, also known as the ‘Road of Bones’, the Taklimakan dessert in far Western China, also known as the ‘Desert of Death’ and the dense tropical rainforest of Southern Malaysia. A-list Hollywood actors, Tom Hardy (of the Inception and The Dark Knight fame), Henry Cavill (of Superman: Man of Steel fame) and Adrien Brody (Won Oscar for best actor in the leading role for Pianist), joined forces with Formula 1 star Mika Salo and World Superbike champion Neil Hodgson, to take on these extreme roads in the world.


Shell Advance, in association with FOX Sports created a global AFP called ‘Freedom Riders Asia’. This show was all about thrilling adventure undertaken by well-known motorcyclist Charley Boorman as he explored the colourful biking landscapes of Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.


Freedom Riders Asia as a programme celebrates the spirit of biking across Asia, while at the same time, offers an entertaining travel and adventure experience. On the launch of the FRA Youtube channel,India contributed to 0.5 mn views within 20 days of launch – 50% of  worldwide views.


What decides the purchase eventually or what takes precedence over certain factors – price, brand value, trust that Shell exudes, technology. How would this be different for a woman?

Eventually, preference is driven by a brand consumers can trust. Shell enjoys that amongst its consumers in India and across the globe being the No.1 lubricants brand in the world consecutively for 6 years in a row. The key difference we see vs woman is that men if convinced of the technology story brings in the “value”.


In a category like auto lubricants, does point-of-purchase have any importance? Or are lubricants picked up by the need?

The Indian man like I said is evolving. What goes into his car or bike matters to him, indeed. He is involved. Now, he is beginning to evaluate the his choice of lubricant at a pre-purchase stage through friends, family, the neighborhood mechanic, that technical expert in his digital social community. These count as the smart choices he makes for his progressive journey and with Shell Helix, we partner him in this journey. Our Shell Lubematch ( mobile application does this beautifully by allowing him to find the best lubricants for your vehicle or equipment and provides users with the following benefits:


At the point-of-purchase, largely the segments function in three areas 1) IBYDIFM – (I buy you do it for me) i.e. the car /bike owner buys the lubricant & the mechanic at the workshop/ Point of purchase, fills it. 2) DIY (Do it yourself) the car/bike does the buying & filling 3) DIFM (Do it for me)- The car/bike owner completely depends on the mechanic/workshop owner at the POP to do everything.


Shell customers are highly involved and largely fit into brackets 1) & 2)


Are marketers keeping pace with this evolution and is there enough study on men’s shopping behaviour?

The change is coming and marketers are already showing cues of that evolution be it in advertising insights, male grooming as an industry or larger marketing platform. However, the pace at which the market is changing is outpacing the change which marketers are able to incorporate it.


While there is lot of study done on men and their shopping behavior, we are still at infancy of the understanding as the last 100 years where still devoted to knowing and understanding women. So we have long journey to go!


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