Tata’s Zica brand name to be ditched due to Zika virus

Tata Motors rethinks brand name for new car on launch.

Being associated with the horrible Zika virus could potentially kill the Zica brand before it gets going. Tata recognises the brand name Zica is no longer #Fantastico! But are they responding fast enough?

Naming a new product is never easy. But Indian Motor Company, Tata thought their naming strategy was solid.

Derived from the idea of a zippy car, Zica is short, friendly and sounds strong. It was probably also linguistically and culturally tested.

However, regardless off how robust their strategic naming process and testing was, they couldn’t predict this.

The name would’ve been decided many months ago (if not longer). Then, a nasty virus was given a similar name, Zika. Now, Tata finds their new car is potentially being attached to a global health crisis.

Rethinking the brand name is essential. That’s exactly what Tata is doing. But maybe not fast enough.

A company statement says, “empathising with the hardships being caused by the recent Zika virus outbreak across many countries, Tata Motors, as a socially responsible company, has decided to re-brand the car.”

Strangely, they still went ahead with the current name for Auto Expo in India.

Brand name, Tata Zica

Tata added “The new name will be announced after a few weeks, ensuring all necessary consumer/branding and regulatory aspects are addressed.”

Getting a new name, testing and trademarking in time for the expo would be challenging (if not impossible). But surely a functional working title would be better than being forever known as a nasty virus.

It could also act as another endorsement for motor brands (such as BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Mazda etc) that follow a monolithic brand architecture and functional nomenclature approach.

Michael Hughes
Managing Partner, Strategy

Images: Tata and Indianautosblog.com

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