Cola and detergent wars are passé. With technology brands becoming increasingly consumer-centric, mobile phones, laptops, gaming consoles and iPods are now set to fight for mindspace with your good old fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands.
“Technology has become aspirational for young people today and is fast replacing apparel and food brands, which were till a few years back the most sought after products. The latest gaming console has replaced that much-treasured pair of iconic jeans for a youngster, and that's where gadgets and gizmos come in as an extension of one's self,” says Lloyd Mathias, marketing head, Motorola India.
Tech brands are lapping up this opportunity by refraining to talk about the mundane product features and are evolving communication strategies more relevant to its target group.
Microsoft's efforts behind promoting Xbox gaming console and its answer to iPod in Zune has given an erstwhile software-only brand a consumer-market orientation. Ditto for Hewlett-Packard, which lost out to its competitors in the PC space, and was dubbed as a hardcore technology brand till it reinvented itself with some slick ad campaigns, with the biggest and the boldest coming in this year in 'The computer is personal again'.
“HP had a great product but it's only now that we have been able to emotionally connect with our consumers. We have tried to create a branding revolution and give a human premise through our campaigns to cater to the demand of the changing consumer preferences,” says Shuchi Sarkar, head of marketing (Personal Systems Group), HP India.
The computer-maker, in an effort to make its product more relevant to its customers is now offering varied designs, skins and features along with some bit of customisation to increase its proximity with customers.
An emotional connect is what HP and other tech brands are attempting in order to find stickiness with their consumers. No wonder mobile phone marketers are all out to capture the consumer's fancy through fashion, music and sports, and shun altogther from speaking the tech jargon.
Experts say that tech brands were earlier perceived as being B2B, but not any longer. Technology is being domesticated, is present with you 24/7 and is as integral to a consumers' life as anything else.
Tech brands are now being branded as consumer goods, the biggest change to have come about in sometime now “In most economies the low-hanging fruit of branding is FMCG, followed by durables and brands in the realm of concepts and then comes the highest rung in the form of technology brands,” says Harish Bijoor, a marketing consultant. Even home-grown brands like HCL are targeting what they categorise as the Zap 86 group.
“It is a category of people born after '86, who have grown up and are comfortable with gizmos. These consumers are tech savvy and are at ease with using mobiles, computers, notebooks and MP3s. The digital lifestyle enablers are an important part of their lives,” says Rajendra Kumar of HCL Infosystems.