In today's complex scenario of 360 degree communications , Brands and Brand Building is taking on a new meaning. To be able to get insights into Brands and their Brand building strategies, exchange4media brings the freshest and in depth perspectives from marketing and brand honchos of leading brands in this new section BRANDSPEAK.
"Below-the-line activity like product demonstrations and cooking classes etc are certainly important for product categories like microwave ovens where there is still a fair degree of concept selling happening"
Consumer Durable category has seen some keen marketing warfare. LG, Samsung, Whirlpool all fighting for the share of mind, and moolah, of Indian housewife.
In this edition of Brand Speak, we speak with M B Lee, VP-Marketing, Samsung India and learn how Samsung has adapted to Indian marketing environment and come right on top.
Samsung is a recent entrant in
Indian market. How has been the experience?
Samsung has made very rapid strides in
the Indian Market in a span of six Years. In the area
of Consumer Electronics, we have emerged as a leader
among multinational CTV brands and one of the 'Top 3'
CTV brands in the country.
The emphasis in on localization of products and other
elements. While our CTV Manufacturing facility at Noida
has enabled us to give a faster response to Indian customers,
our CTV R&D Centre has allowed us to provide products
tailored to suit the requirements of Indian customers
in terms of features. This Year, we are in the process
of consolidating this business by setting up manufacturing
operations for Home Appliance products. In February
2002, we commenced the domestic manufacturing of Air
conditioners, while we commenced washing machine production
in November 2001.
So the experience has been very good.
India : Six exciting years
||What is you differentiator
against? Many companies know Indian consumers so much
Well, the key differentiator as
far as Samsung Products are concerned is the product
technology, features and the superior product quality
. To give an example, the Samsung 'Plano' flat television
range comes with the 'DynaFlat' technology, which ensures
perfectly flat images, and remarkable colour purity.
Samsung Microwave ovens come with a Bio Ceramic Enamel
cavity, which is a Samsung patented technology worldwide
and likewise in all the categories, we are trying to
provide unique features that differentiate our products
||What is the extent of
your marketing activity? Do you rely heavily on below-the-line
Our total advertising budget for
this Year is Rs.85 Crores. In overall terms, our print
and television media mix is roughly 50:50. Below-the-line
activity like product demonstrations and cooking classes
etc are certainly important for product categories like
microwave ovens where there is still a fair degree of
concept selling happening .For washing machines too,
product demonstrations are important.
||Why, in the past few
years, has promotion become such an important part of
the marketing mix? Is it because advertising is not as
effective as it used to be?
I consider promotions as an effective
marketing tool and use them in that manner .We had very
successfully used the 'Phod ke Dekho' Promotion
during Festival time last year and it had yielded rich
dividends for the Company. It helped stimulate sales
in a market, which was very dull last year. And I think
it was a combination of the Offer and the advertising
per-se that worked very well last year .We had Rs.10
Crores of freebies for consumers and Rs.5 Crores of
advertising for the 'Phod ke Dekho' Campaign
which gave us sales worth Rs.275 Crores during the period
of the Promotion. This Year, we had launched the "Dabaake
Jeeto" offer to optimize sales during the Soccer
||Samsung has had to compete
with established Indian players both in the Consumer durables
and white goods category. In the span of 6 years you have
been able to carve a niche out for yourself. What has
been the strategy behind this achievement? Has the company
met with the objectives it set out to achieve before coming
I think one of the main reasons for
our success has been the fact that we have tried to
meet the expectations of our Indian customers in all
respects, whether it has been in terms of the product
features, after sales service, product quality or how
contemporary is the product that we are offering to
the Indian consumer. We have not only brought in the
latest technology products for the Indian consumers,
but have worked on customizing the range to better suit
their needs. And it is this focus on the Indian Customer
and the endeavor to satisfy his/her needs that has helped
To give you an example in terms of our after sales service;
Samsung India has made its entire Spares and Service
management web based with the implementation of Servicenet,
its unique B to B initiative. While at the customer
end, Samsung customers can log on to the samsungindia
website for registering their calls and are given a
unique call reference number for tracking their call;
for the Authorized Service Center (ASC) which gets the
Call, it translates into accurate customer call data.
Making it easier for the ASC to process customer calls.
||Apart from Indian players
a host of MNCs including Korean companies have been aggressive
in the Indian market. How different is competing with
other Korean players in other markets across the globe
vis-à-vis competing with them in India? What opportunities
and problems does the Indian market present?
Samsung is a Global Company and most
of the MNC brands that we are competing in India are
the ones that we are competing with globally. However,
the situation in the market is different by country
and in each country we have to tailor make our marketing
strategy as per the requirements of that market. The
biggest advantage that India presents is linked with
its size and the fact that penetration levels in the
country are very low for products like CTVs, refrigerators,
washing machines etc. The penetration level for CTVs
is 18.3%, while that of washing machines is a mere 5.8%.
Thus, this market presents a tremendous opportunity
for us to market our products.
However, if I compare the price levels in India with
those in China, the same products are relatively more
expensive due to the existing duty structure and tax
levels in India .The Government in this Year's Budget
has shown a blueprint in terms of import duty reduction
in a couple of years and I feel these initiatives will
go a long way.
||The consumer electronics
category generally witnesses a demand surge during festival
time or special sporting events like the world Cup. During
the rest of the time what is your view on advertising?
How do you utilize advertising during such lean periods?
Yes, there is demand surge during festival
time but it does not imply that the sales in the rest
of the year go lean for this industry. Last year, in
any case was a period of slowdown on account of multiple
factors, which are well known. So the impact of the
Festival buying was more dramatic. Product advertising
and brand building activities are carried out throughout
the year because it is finally the Brand Pull and Brand
Equity that help you sustain your position in the market.
Promotions that are carried out by Consumer Durable
Companies during Festival time or during events, help
in stimulating sales for a short period and are carried
out for achieving short-term volume targets.
|Interact with M B Lee on Brand Speak|
Barista store is our brand. Our brand is also
the customer sitting in Barista. And there is
a very close correlation and fit between the two"
Basav Mukherjee, Head Marketing, Barista.
we look at the market then female segment is very
important to us. An Indian woman will always prefer
modern scooters and scooterettes for their use.
Motorcycles, because of their shape, are a problem
for them and they also do not like geared, old-fashioned
scooters. I think we would have a 40% share of
Firodia Motwani, Jt Managing Director, Kinetic
is the technology advantage and not the lower
rates that is attracting more and more customers
to Reliance India Mobile"
-Kaushik Roy- Head of Marketing,Reliance India
continually introducing new products, expanding
our target base and with Amitabh Bachchan endorsing
our product, we are confident that Parker will
be a Rs 100 crore brand by next year."
-D.K. Jain - Chairman and President, Luxor Writing
Instruments Pvt. Ltd.
is one of the last great commodity frontiers in
India; it has remained so because this market
is very fragmented, very unorganized. Tanishq
has successfully taken on the challenge of transforming
this frontier into a reliable consumer space by
bringing to it all the virtues and benefits that
Bhatt, VP - Retailing, Tanishq
basic philosophy of 'Vardaan' is that it can deliver
the same level of satisfaction and pleasure that
a person gets from a normal bidi but without the
ill effects of tobacco."
- Kartik Raina, Chief Operating Officer, Dalmia
people who have already experienced the lifelike
sound of Bose are the biggest advertisers for
us through the word of mouth. Besides
some routine advertising we believe in letting
people experience the products."
- Ratish Pandey, General Manager,Bose Corporation
India Pvt. Ltd. - July 10,03
have been in this job for 30 years and I can confidently
say that the kind of challenges that Eveready
has faced, its difficult to find a company that
has gone through so much and yet managed to remain
- Roshan L.Joseph, Director Eveready Industries
India Ltd. - June 27, 03
50 per cent of the better-known liquor brands
in India belong to Shaw Wallace. In that respect,
there is no change in the positioning of the company;
we are consistently focused on offering powerful
brands that set new yardsticks for the industry
to match." -
A K M A Shamsuddin - President Shaw Wallace -
May 17, 03
branding techniques have ensured that Zip is not
seen as an ordinary phone instrument, we have
been able to allot it certain personality traits.
Consumers perceive the Zip Fone to be friendly,
trustworthy, smart and young"-
Shishir Lall, President,
Zip Telecom - May 08, 03
provides us with an ideal platform to capitalize
on the trend of increasing health consciousness
by offering a number of new food products that
are able to cater to needs in this area"
Arvind Mediratta, Head-Marketing, Marico
Industries Ltd. - April 17, 03
are a lot of juicewalaas in city markets, so juice
is not something Indian consumers had not seen
before. And, we felt if we give them juices in
a packaged form, which is more hygienic, it should
-Amit Burman, Chief Executive
Officer, Dabur Foods Ltd.,- April 08, 03
service industry demystifying each product to the
customer and demonstrating real benefits meaningful
to him, therefore, assumes greater importance"
- Tulsi Mirchandaney,
Sr. VP-Mkt & Projects,Blue Dart - April 01,
has captured market share amongst the young and
upwardly mobile, sporty, fashion conscious and those
who follow the latest trends in technology"
- Kapil Kapoor, MD, Timex Wathes Ltd - March 22,
this segment there is a skew in the Indian market.
Here investment is done predominantly by males.
Also, a person seriously starts looking into investment
at an approximate age of thirty, when he has investable
- Ambareesh Murty, VP - Marketing, Prudential ICICI
- March 07, 03
demand of tyres in a particular market is determined
by the vehicular population in that market. However,
the ownership patterns are now slowly changing,
specially in the metros, affecting the marketing
strategies of tyre majors"
- Neeraj Bhatia, GM (Marketing), J K Tyre - Feb
"Loyalty clubs and home to home promotions are more
interactive and give greater time to talk to the
consumer. I believe it will build brand shares faster
than usage of other media vehicles"
- Kartik Raina, MD, Dr.Morepen - Nov 28, 02
"We are trying to position Liberty as a more vibrant
and contemporary brand without leaving the current
comfort, durability and value planks."
- Adarsh Gupta, Executive Director, Liberty - Nov
"Advertising does help in building brand recall,
but advertising alone does not sustain a brand"
- Vikram Bakshi, MD, McDonald's - Sep 02, 02
are both clear and consistent in our positioning.
The tagline is "Hungry Kya" and the business model
is delivering hot n fresh pizza in 30 minutes, guaranteed.
We have no plans to change this successful positioning
in the Indian market."
- Arvind Nair, CEO, Domino's Pizza - August 19,
advertising ban would not hamper our plans to a
large extent because there are a number of alternative
media through which you can always address your
- Abhishek Khaitan,Executive Director, Radico Khaitan
- July 08, 02
expect our agency to give us best value for money"
- Anand Bharadwaj, EVP (Marketing and Marketing
Services), Electrolux Kelvinator - June 24, 02