Still struggling to overcome what the company calls the ‘negative residue from the consumer’s mind’ following the disastrous exit of the brand from the Indian market in 1998, Sony subsidiary Aiwa, nevertheless, is targeting a turnover of around Rs 100 crore and a 10 per cent cent market share in FY04 across all audio categories.
Speaking to FE at the launch of its new range of personal audio systems, divisional head, Aiwa, Prasun Banerjee, said, “Our primary objective is not numbers. The first hurdle is to rebuild trust, create brand awareness and customer satisfaction.”
The company intends to spend between Rs 10-15 crore, and “even more if required”, on advertising, promotions and brand building. Creating awareness, rebuilding trust through product innovation, customer service and channel consolidation will be the priorities during the first year. The company is already offering service back-up to earlier customers through its network of 175 Sony authorised service centres and company-owned service centres.
Following the exit of Aiwa from the Indian market in 1998 with the tie-up with Baron Electronics falling through, the brand had suffered image erosion and customer disillusionment due to lack of spares and service. With the global buyout of Aiwa by Sony Corp, the brand was relaunched in the Indian market in October 2003 with a range of hi-fi audio systems and DVDs. Under the new dispensation, this would be a crucial area to tackle, says Mr Banerjee.
Sony and Aiwa together hold 42 per cent share of the hi-fi audio market. Says Mr Banerjee, “Our strategy will be to synergise the business of Sony and Aiwa and target the Indian market through a twin brand strategy. While Aiwa would be positioned as a down to earth, value for money, youthful and trendy brand, Sony would continue to occupy its premium, innovative positioning.”
The company has expanded its portfolio by launching 22 products in its personal audio range, including portable CD players (Rs 3,490 onwards), headphone stereos (Rs 690 onwards) and portable audio players (Rs 2,100 onwards).