Almost everything that comes after the CAT registration is a surprise. A surprise that replaces every feeling or reaction you have with jargon or phenomenon discussed thoroughly in your organisational behaviour class. The colleges let you out in middle of your degree, to make you realise that something has changed. The classes and cases suddenly cease, only to have you pointing fingers in different directions, until one fine day when you think you have perfected it - just to realise that two months are over.
Two months, I realised is enough to connect you to legendary history of America’s first motorcycle - Indian Motorcycle. I identified with the brand through my respect for the movie - “World’s Fastest Indian,” a tribute to the journey of Burt Munro and his legendary Indian Scout. It was a rather serendipitous turn of events that through Polaris, I was enabled to work on marketing Indian in India. Although, I believe when the engagement is as short as two months, the real takeaways are the things you learn from the people you have met during that time.
I know from Bollywood that legends have been made in less than 70 minutes, but I am sure they never had to find accommodation in Delhi for two months. The pain of finding a place to live, eat is often taken-for-granted in search of 4 Ps of your marketing plan in the uncomfortable, yet permanent hostel. However, there’s always a relief of not having eight separate classes and assignments running in your head like the chickens on strike. A taste of the priorities of city life against the frameworks of marketing is all that’s needed to underline the Maslow's hierarchies in your head.
Launched in 2014 in India, Indian Motorcycle has caught a riders’ eye through its build quality and their hearts through its legendary history. My internship project was to work on the digital marketing strategy for the brand and to begin and implement association with various brands. The confidence of juggling eight subjects in three months did not let me worry about the time and nature of jobs. As a young MBA, it is a mandatory trait that you want to get into every aspect of the organisation lest you forget the pain of doing a finance and marketing assignment within a gap of 30 minutes. One of the aspects of knowing the bigger picture is that at times, it might look too tempting to involve yourself in the menial jobs. The term - menial jobs are identified with the ‘intern’ title, although the exposure you get to the bigger picture is subject from organisation to organisation.
However, the Indian internship was low on the menial jobs end and provided the first row of adrenaline rush at the exposure end. Our mentor concentrated on teaching us how to work instead of asking us what to work on, a job that is easier said than done. I would never forget to start the day by making a list of things that you plan to complete by the end of that day. It has been three months, and I have still adhered to the practice, although in a more digital than a ‘post-it’ manner.
A look across the intern's room made it clear that we were all hired for what we were passionate about in real life. Weekly review meetings or lunch - it was all the same once we were into what we were trying to achieve. The work was rather addictive, and often, I found it hard to be off it post office hours. Facebook can often be a confusing workplace in a formal setting but thanks to the interns' gang, our ‘social media adda’ always had its freedom.
We started by first integrating the brand’s marketing effort towards its goals to create a culture through a three-word motto - Connection, Community, Culture. Similar to the Polaris ATVs which aimed to create a culture of off-roading, Indian Motorcycle seeks to create a culture of riding as a source of joy for the free soul. We started by first integrating our agencies on a platform, and it took around twenty days to create a conclusive social media plan. We resorted to digital campaigns connecting to our offline breakfast rides and national Indian Motorcycle Riders’ Group (IMRG) events. IMRG is a legendary group of Indian motorcycle riders, a community of riders who take pride in the mighty rides they take.
Being a person who has aspired to make valuable connections, I was able to implement ten brand associations within a period of two months. Mrs. Runa Ahlawat, the Senior marketing manager for Indian and Polaris, gave me the priority that the task demanded. In fact, sometimes I think it was only through the daily lists that we were able to establish associations, create a digital strategy for the IMRG Coorg and carry out various digital campaigns through the help of our digital agencies.
After studying countless case studies and strategies, it is hard to miss labels and retail store alignments once you are on the ground - things that make you preach among your old group. Two months is enough to make you miss talking about them in the hostel corridors, although the goals to score gold are now replaced with survival to see the real ground. Before the second half of post-graduation, the Internship at Indian motorcycle revived my creative juices while allowing me to use my strengths on the job.