Company Name: – MRF
Founder:- K. M. Mammen Mappillai
How It All Started
M. Mammen Mappillai started The Madras Rubber Factory as a small unit for toy balloons, latex cast squeaking toys and industrial gloves with an investment of Rs. 14000 in 1946 at Tiruvottiyur, Chennai. It is now a multibillion company that produces quality tyres used all around India and on an international level.
The company has maintained its no.1 position in the tyre industry and was the first to reach an annual turnover of Rs. 5000 crores in the Indian goods export market as the company exporting tyres and conveyor belts to more than 65 countries. The Madras Rubber Factory enjoys a strong brand presence and retention of customers by its strong global presence.
Due to an emerging market and the alongside growth of automobile industry, the success ladder was easy to climb for MRF. With major concentration given to tie-ups with automobile companies, it’s mainly into B2B market.
The Madras Rubber Factory limited was incorporated as a private company in November 1960 and ventured into manufacturing of tyres in partnership with Mansfield Tire & Rubber Company based in Ohio, United States. The company went public on 1 April 1961 and an office was established in Beirut, Lebanon to develop the export market in 1964 and its current logo of the muscleman was designed at same time. It became the first Indian company to export tyres to USA in 1967.
In 1973, MRF started manufacturing nylon tyres for the first time. It entered into technical know-how collaboration with B. F Goodrich in 1978. The Mansfield Tire & Rubber Co. sold out its share in 1979 and the name of the company was changed to MRF Ltd in the year. In order to manufacture pre-cured tread rubber for re-treading industry, the company finalized a technical merger agreement with Marangoni TRS SPA, Italy.
In 1989, the company collaborated with Hasbro International United States (the world’s largest toy maker) and launched Funskool India. They also entered into an alliance with Vapocure of Australia to manufacture polyurethane paint formulations and with Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli for conveyor and elevator belt manufacture.
During the year 2004-05, the product range of the company expanded with Go-kart and rally tyres and tyres for two/three wheelers.
MRF Marketing strategy and Interesting Facts behind its Success.
MRF faces heavy competition in the tyres segment and thus, it follows a competitive pricing strategy in its marketing mix. Business of MRF is done on the promise of high quality and its perfection in the field of tyres. Prices are affordable to the end customer with high margin. MRF sports gear has an appeal in the premium segment and thus, has higher prices to its sports gear as it is endorsing by the sportsmen.
MRF has seven plants located in south India. It has around 2500 stores and exports to over 65 countries. MRF distributes to factories, agents, regional centres, dealers, etc. The tyres are mostly sold to dealers and agents. Direct sales to customers are less relevant as tyres are a part of an automobile. So, mostly the automobile company, store, service centre deals in obtaining these tyres. MRF sports gear is available in many sports store. MRF does not have any MRF specific stores, given the brand equity and heavy advertisements; it is easy to sell through dealership.
MRF has always focused on an extreme and aggressive promotional strategy. MRF tyres have targeted sports to promote its brand and it has been very successful in doing so. It sponsored cricket bats for many legendary players like Sachin Tendulkar, Steve Waugh and Brian Lara. And today, MRF campaigns are done by leading cricketers like Virat Kohli, AB de Villers and Shikar Dhawan.
Other than celebrity involvement in its campaigns, the anchored balloons in IPL 2010 and also in World Cup were sponsored by MRF. A training centre for pacers is launched by the MRF Pace Foundation. Many bowlers that were trained in MRF Pace Foundation went on to represent the country at a national level.
Some of them are Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, etc. The MRF Motor Challenge is a racing competition specially created for branding and covers all media channels like TV, print, online, billboards etc. for its advertising and marketing.
MRF has a unique style to campaign its product. Few of them are: –
- ‘Comfort Made More Comfortable’
The campaign promotes MRF ZLX, the latest range of tyres specifically designed for sedans and hatchbacks. From lateral grooves for improved ride comfort, edge-to-edge comfy stabilizer liner and wide tread polymer blend for an improved life, this tyre is specially designed to offer superior grip and optimized cushioned ride.
In this campaign, the brand intends to communicate their proposition of ‘comfort made more comfortable’. The video involves a complicated game of Jenga in action in a sedan which is riding on top of MRF ZLX tyres moving over challenging roads through bumps and potholes. This eventually hits home the message that a journey becomes more enjoyable when the ride is more comfortable.
- ‘I Dare to Tread Anywhere.’
The video shows Virat Kohli driving the car will full courage as he has confidence in the MRF tyres. The campaign aims to raise the adventurous spirit among people who like to explore their limits and go beyond the challenges. The ad campaign featuring its brand ambassador and Indian cricket captain, Virat Kohli, was to promote the attributes of SUV brand, MRF Wanderer in India. MRF Wanderer tyres are designed for those who never settle for the mundane and venture off the beaten path.
The communication this time took an aggressive twist and a fresh perspective on the core brand positioning – Tread Anywhere. Lowe Lintas, Chennai has portrayed the true Wanderer spirit by using Virat’s Samurai tattoo and his passion for adventure in an exceptional creative manner. The campaign resonates well with those who chase adventure!
The prime objective of the company is to “attain global standards through continuous improvement in the quality, services and to maintain leadership in the market”. MRF is recognized for its drive towards continuous quality improvement and customer satisfaction. MRF was crowned with the JD Power award not once but 12 times till date and has been voted as the most trusted tyre company in India.