After announcing its resurgence in the Indian market with the launch of a new range of LED and LCD television sets recently, Akai is now bullish on the mobile market and is looking forward to the digital medium in the coming year.
In conversation with exchange4media, Pranay Dhabhai, MD, Akai India, revealed that digital, along with electronic medium, would play a vital role in spreading awareness of the brand’s comeback. He said, “We think the electronic and digital medium has a significant role to play in increasing Akai’s brand recall and presence in the heavily cluttered market. Increasingly, communication will become very interactive, based on strategies formulated from consistent real-time inputs gathered by marketers on their products. The demand in delivery of audience’s vis-à-vis delivery of traffic will also supplement the cause for location based advertising.”
So, does that mean, apart from electronic, the company is aggressive on digital too and has set aside special marketing budget for it? “At present, we have not set aside any specific budget for digital, but we are looking at this medium very closely as we feel that 2011 will be a challenging year and digital will go a long way in bringing added efficiency in our marketing spends. Digital is certainly the medium of the future and we are also keen on capitalising on it eventually,” he answered.
Dhabhai further said that the brand had kept aside a budget of Rs 25 crore for investing in advertising and marketing in India.
The Indian market
Sharing his thoughts on the developing trends in the Indian market, Dhabhai remarked that there would be a sure-shot increase in the way people were engaged on the Internet platform and its usage through mobiles. “More than 33 million Internet users in India (comScore, July 2010) visited social networking sites, representing a growth of 43 per cent over the last year, and regarding mobiles phones, there will be an increase in demand for applications and connectivity to the Internet via mobile phones,” he divulged.
The way digital is perceived by marketers today, it definitely projects the kind of growth it can proclaim and results it can yield for them. On the future of digital medium, Dhabhai stated, “Digital advertising in India will constitute at least 7 per cent of the total ad spends over the next three years, spurred by increase in mobile and DTH advertising.”
He further said, “Increased consumer engagement will also help companies innovate brands within the selective opportunities. Therefore, social media platforms will be the new additional tools that will be used by brands to maximise reach, BTL and ATL will continue to be effective as tools to maximise the outreach.”
When asked why the company thought it was the right time to enter the Indian mobile market that was flooded with amateur as well as experienced players, Dhabhai replied, “The mobile handset market in India is growing rapidly and there is a great demand for quality handsets. With Akai mobiles now being available in India, and with our global expertise and understanding of Indian consumer needs, we will be giving a tough time not only to the Indian brands dominating the dual SIM segment, but also the other multinational brands dominating the Indian mobile industry.”
He further said, “Akai is the first MNC brand to offer a complete range of phones exclusively in the dual SIM category. The innovatively designed Akai handsets are affordably priced between Rs 1,895 and Rs 7,995. Therefore, the range is another factor which will appeal to consumers across all segments with a special focus on youth.”
Meanwhile, according to the data available (a report published in June 2009 by Gartner Inc), the total mobile services revenue in India is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.5 per cent from 2009-13 and is expected to exceed the $30-billion mark, while the mobile market penetration is also projected to increase from 38.7 per cent in 2009 to 63.5 per cent in 2013.
Citing some more industry figures, Dhabhai said, “According to industry reports, mobile advertising in India currently stands at around $25 million and growing and Indian mobile phone brands have registered a 14 per cent market share, therefore, there will be a conscious shift towards mobile advertising. The digital advertising space is expected to grow to Rs 5,390 crore in 2011. Advertisements through WAP would be about 30 per cent, while opt-in SMS would contribute 10 per cent of the mobile ad market.”
Earlier in September, Akai had announced its revival in the India market with the launch of its new range of ultra-slim LED, LCD High Definition and CRT televisions. Founded in 1929, Tokyo, Japan, Akai specialises in advanced quality home entertainment products in the audio and video segments. The brand has Everest Brand Solutions as its creative agency for handling its mobiles and consumer electronics and home appliances divisions, while Mudra Max buys media for the resurgent brand.